Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

NEW YORK — There’s no question few people will look back fondly on the year 2020. In fact, a new survey finds 55 percent of Americans say 2020 was the worst year of their lives. All this negativity does have one silver lining though; more people are holding their loved ones tighter as they look to close out the year with a sense of optimism.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans reveals that nearly 70 percent believe 2020 made them appreciate their family and friends more than ever before. That led to two-thirds of people puttting more thought into the gifts they gave their loved ones during the holiday season.

The study, commissioned by Groupon, aimed to discover how the last 12 months have impacted the holiday shopping habits of Americans. Researchers discovered three in four people (76%) sought out gifts for loved ones particularly to uplift their spirits.  Besides gifting others with something that brings a smile to their face, 56 percent received gifts that will be useful after coronavirus lockdown measures end in 2021.

Although the holidays looked much different in 2020, Americans still enjoyed certain aspects of the season in this tumultuous year. Over four in 10 Americans (44%) are extra thankful they get to stay home and not travel. Another 41 percent embraced all the various holiday movies.

Not letting the horrors of 2020 ruin optimism for 2021

Optimism may be the essence of the holiday season, but many are probably wondering how to best keep their spirits up during the months-long pandemic. Forty-eight percent say listening to music allows them to maintain their optimism while another 38 percent say diving into their favorite book is a great way to stay positive while at home.

Overall, nearly half the poll (48%) stay optimistic by spending time with their immediate family. A third of Americans say it helps to spend time outdoors.

“As we head into the end of the year, people are searching for ways to show their friends and family how much they are loved and missed,” says Groupon’s Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Beugelmans in a statement. “Whether they are planning on giving personalized experiences or goods, shoppers are looking for meaningful ways to communicate how much they care. Plus, we’re finding that many people are planning to gift experiences they can do with their loved ones in a post-COVID world.”

Don’t forget to treat yourself

As a way to break free from all the stress of 2020, two-thirds of respondents treated themselves to a gift when shopping for others this year.

This trend seems unique to 2020 as 43 percent say they don’t normally get themselves a gift for the holidays. Over three in four people say that after all the stress of 2020, they wound up getting themselves six gifts this holiday season!

In all, the average American spent more than $100 solely on self-gifting this year.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor