December 22nd, 2011

The Secret to a Merry Christmas? Skip the Mall, Go to Church

By Derek Thompson
The Atlantic

A study finds that families who focus on buying and receiving gifts report more stress and less satisfaction during the holiday season

To call Christmas “commercialized” today isn’t a criticism so much as a statistical observation. One in every six dollars in retail spending is exchanged in the five weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Analysts now expect us to spend approximately $450 billion this month, or around $700 per family—equal to a typical month’s rent.

But according to a 2002 study we surfaced for our Santanomics series, spending money won’t make your Christmas any merrier. In fact, putting too much focus on buying and receiving presents might be ruining our holidays.

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