Food Stamps 2022: Items You Can Buy for Christmas This Year

Family eating together at holiday table stock photo
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Christmas is an expensive time of year for many families, leaving many to wonder how much they can afford to spend on gifts and meals. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, can help expand the food budget of many low-income Americans this holiday season. Food stamps may not be able to get you everything on your Christmas dinner list, but they can certainly help.

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food stamps can be used to purchase:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat

Non-eligible items include non-food items, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins and supplements and foods that are hot at the point of sale (unless your state participates in the Restaurant Meals Program).

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A 2020 YouGov poll asked 1,140 Americans to choose the better of two Christmas foods, and the top pick was roast potatoes (76%) followed by mashed potatoes (75%), turkey (73%), bread or rolls (70%) and stuffing or dressing (70%). While Christmas dinner looks different for everyone, the traditional Christmas meal typically includes a roasted root vegetable, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls and the turkey or ham centerpiece.

If you’re wondering what Christmas dinner items your food stamps will cover, here’s an overview:

Christmas Dinner Food

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Package or box of stuffing mix
  • Canned cranberry sauce or fresh cranberries
  • Any variety of canned, instant or fresh potatoes
  • Box of scalloped potatoes
  • Canned, frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Box of macaroni and cheese or pasta and cheese
  • Rolls 
  • Butter
  • Eggs

Christmas Dessert Food

  • Baked goods, such as muffins, cakes and cookies
  • Fruitcake
  • Pies
  • Gingerbread house kit

Christmas Drinks

  • Eggnog
  • Soda pop, iced tea, sports drinks, energy drinks (with “Nutrition Facts” label), water
  • Fruit punch
  • Mixers for alcoholic beverages

Snacks

  • Chips, crisps, sticks or straws
  • Cheese
  • Snack mixes
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn

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Additional Items

  • Spices and seasonings
  • Baking soda and baking powder
  • Sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup

How far your food stamps can go depends on your monthly benefit amount and where you’re shopping — and you can always opt for cheaper alternatives.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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