By this point, those who are very organized (or those who celebrate Hanukkah) have probably finished their holiday shopping. But unless you celebrate Festivus exclusively, you're probably scrambling to buy gifts for family and friends this upcoming weekend. Although thoughtful gift giving can be hard, and like every year economists will surely lament the deadweight loss of holiday gift exchange, it's looking like Americans will still spend lots and feel good about it.
Americans are actually pretty generous on the gift giving front (second in the world to wealthy Luxembourgers). A recent Pew Research poll shows that across all age groups and income levels, around 80 percent of Americans surveyed felt "joyful" and "generous" about buying and receiving gifts. The National Retail Federation estimates 2014's holiday sales to exceed $6oo billion, or around $800 per person—$460 of which is estimated to go to gifts for family members.
If that sounds like a lot of money, that might be why 46 percent of those surveyed for the Pew poll reported feeling stretched financially. And those who haven't started shopping might fall in the 36 percent who report feeling stressed out by the whole holiday experience.