How Much More Expensive the Holidays Are in 2022

Worried concerned girl in Christmas Santa hat having problems with payment by credit card online for New Year purchases, looking at smartphone screen with puzzled face.
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Inflation is making nearly every aspect of the holidays more expensive this year, from the gifts you give to the food you buy for holiday dinners to your travel to visit friends and family. Because of rising costs, over 1 in 10 Americans say they will go into debt due to holiday spending this year, a recent GOBankingRates survey found.

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Here’s a look at just how much more expensive the holidays are in 2022.

Americans Are Spending Hundreds More on Gifts

The GOBankingRates survey found that 30% of Americans plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, with the majority (26%) expecting to spend $100 to $300 more than last year. In addition, 24% plan to spend between $300 and $500 more, and 17% expect to spend over $500 more.

“Many consumers are planning to spend more money this holiday season, although shoppers will be purchasing fewer gifts due to rising costs,” Erica Seppala, retail analyst with MerchantMaverick.com, told GOBankingRates. “Consumers who purchased gifts for extended family, friends and co-workers in years past may be skipping these purchases and instead may focus on making purchases for immediate family and close friends. More shoppers will be shopping at discount stores or hitting up sales to save money on their gifts this year.”

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The GOBankingRates survey found that 33% of Americans will be buying fewer gifts and 32% will only be buying gifts that are on sale.

Take Our Poll: How Has Inflation Impacted Your Holiday Shopping Plans?

Travel Costs Are on the Rise

Over 51% of Americans said that they have noticed higher travel prices this year than last, which could be why 16% said they are skipping out on holiday travel in 2022.

CNN reported that 2022 is the “most expensive holiday travel season ever,” with hotel room rates up 12% from 2019, rental car prices up 46% from 2019, airfare up 41% from 2021 and gas prices up 8% from 2021.

To make the most of higher prices, Jenny Ly, founder at Go Wanderly, recommends making holiday travel purchases with a credit card that gives you rewards in this category.

“If you’re already planning to shell out, you may as well get a benefit where you can,” she told GOBankingRates. “You may also get benefits that cut down on your travel headaches. Numerous credit cards for travel provide bonus points when you make trip arrangements, annual statement credits for travel expenditures, or reimbursement for the cost of services that help you breeze through airport security more quickly or easily, like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.”

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Christmas Trees Are Also More Expensive

A live Christmas tree may no longer be in the budget for some families. GOBankingRates estimates that you could expect to pay around $89 to $94 for a live Christmas tree for the current holiday season, with prices up 5% to 15% this year compared to last year.

With record-breaking high prices, 7% of Americans who participated in the survey said they will not be buying a live Christmas tree this year due to rising costs.

If you do opt to buy a live Christmas tree this year, look for ways to cut costs.

“For those looking to get a real Christmas tree from a farm, I recommend asking if there’s any discount for cutting or wrapping the tree yourself,” Zack DeAngelis, founder of Tree Journey, told Trees.com. “The farm will most likely have certain trees that haven’t grown well and are less desirable. These can cost even less, which can help you save more if you’re in a pinch.”

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Food Prices Are Making Holiday Entertaining More Costly

Most Americans (78%) have seen an increase in the cost of the food they buy for holiday entertaining. This isn’t surprising given that grocery prices have steadily been on the rise over the past year — the “food at home” category in the latest consumer price index showed a total 12% spike in cost over the last 12 months.

To save on holiday meals, consider inviting fewer people, serving a limited menu and/or making it a potluck.

More From GOBankingRates

Maddie Duley and Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,025 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21, 2022, asking 18 different questions: (1) Do you plan on spending more or less on holiday shopping this year?; (2) With the current state of inflation, how much more do you expect to spend on holiday shopping this year?; (3) What is your favorite place to shop for the holidays?; (4) Do you have to change any of the following holiday traditions this year due to rising costs?; (5) Where do you do the majority of your holiday shopping?; (6) How much do sales factor into your holiday shopping?; (7) How much time do you take off from work during the holidays?; (8) How much would you typically spend on a gift for a family member?; (9) How much would you typically spend on a gift for a friend?; (10) Where have you noticed rising prices for holiday shopping/expenses this year? (Select all that apply); (11) When did you start or plan to start your holiday shopping this year?; (12) As the holiday season approaches, which of the following applies to you?; (13) How much do you plan to spend exclusively on gifts this holiday season?; (14) How much do you plan to spend on travel during the holidays?; (15) Who do you tip for the holiday season?; (16) Do you tip extra to service workers (food delivery, Uber, hairdresser, etc.) during the holidays?; (17) What is the primary way you plan on paying for your holiday spending?; and (18) What holiday purchases do you make at the dollar store? (Select all that apply). GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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