Man worried and without money for buying christmas present

(© Paolese -

MOORABBIN, Australia — Christmas may be a lot quieter in your neighborhood this year. A new poll finds one in five recently unemployed Americans can’t afford a traditional holiday celebration with all the trimmings in 2022.

Overall, 21 percent say they can’t afford to celebrate Christmas due to a tightening budget. Aside from inflation, one of the biggest reasons people are cutting back is a growing number of layoffs right before the holiday season this year. Researchers for Australian gift company Yellow Octopus surveyed 1,000 people who recently lost a job to see how the rocky U.S. economy is ruining their Christmas.

Of the 21 percent who can’t afford Christmas in 2022, one in four were health care workers and 18 percent were tech employees — two industries seeing several rounds of mass layoffs this year.

To make sure their families still have a nice holiday season, three in four respondents say they’re using their severance pay to buy Christmas presents and other holiday items. Unfortunately, that small payment after losing a job only goes so far, with many respondents saying it doesn’t cover what they normally buy for their loved ones during the holidays.

With that in mind, nearly nine in 10 recently laid off Americans have had to return holiday gifts after purchasing them. Overall, unemployed Americans are cutting their holiday spending by roughly $600 this year. Two in three respondents are opting to give their loved ones handmade gifts to save money. No matter what, 28 percent say their mother always gets a gift.

Even for those who still have a job, the holidays are not getting any easier. A recent survey found 50 percent blame rising prices and the country’s weak economy for Santa being “less generous” in 2022. Just to get through the holiday season, one in five people are applying for new credit cards specifically to buy Christmas gifts.

Unfortunately, that’s not helping the average person — who has over $25,000 in debt already.

Can't afford Christmas

Survey Methodology:

Yellow Octopus surveyed 1,000 Americans who were recently laid off regarding their holiday plans. Of the respondents, 24% were millennials, 13% were Gen Xers, 53% were Gen Zers, and 10% were baby boomers.

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.

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