Christmas is a joyous time for some and a stressful time for others. Many people feel overwhelmed to feel happiness at a time where happiness is mass marketed, some are stressed by the prospect of seeing family, and others struggle to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. For low income or poverty stricken families these Christmas stressors hit much harder and Christmas can become an extreme financial burden. For some it may spell going without Christmas staples many take for granted such as a Christmas tree, decorations, holiday food, and gifts.
Gifts and toys reign supreme on Christmas and the pressure to find and afford the most popular gifts of the season can be daunting. Gallup reports estimate that in 2018 most adults will spend about $885 on Christmas gifts alone and other surveys indicate that Americans spend around $150 on Christmas dinner. Bank of America reports that in 2017 the Average American Consumer spent around $1, 143 on all combined holiday expenses. While different income brackets and preferences lead to different expenditures, there are no two ways to slice it, the holidays are a time of great expense.
Arlington Charities and other charities in the area work with low income families to provide them with food and toys for Christmas. Every year Arlington Charities collects donations of common holiday food items including canned vegetables, cranberries, stuffing, sparkling juice, pies, milk, ham, turkey, and ribs. We open for several days for families to pick out holiday items. We also collect donations of holiday clothing, toys, and gift cards to take a dent out of holiday shopping. In 2017 Arlington Charities provided holiday relief to over 754 families. It is no coincidence that so many charities are out in full force during the holiday season. You can help by looking into local charities near you and investigating what they are needing for the holiday season. As charitable drives and holiday donations are aplenty many charities may be short on hands and will be eternally grateful for any volunteers.
If you yourself are feeling the sting of the holiday season there are small things you can do to free up extra income or cut the stress off yourself. Consider having your guests contribute dishes to cut some of the cost off holiday meals. Prioritize your gift giving, if funds are tight maybe getting gifts for your coworkers or friends isn’t as much of a necessity as close family. Cut down on small expenses that build-up such as ride shares, streaming services, or eating out. Christmas is hard, but with some careful budgeting and planning, it doesn’t have to be as difficult.
Holiday stress hits everyone and that is why lending a helping hand as well as looking out for yourself is so important. Charities such as Arlington Charites are working overtime to ensure joyous holiday seasons for those in all income brackets. We are forever grateful to our volunteers and staff who assist us in our efforts. Remember that the holidays can get expensive and hectic so take care of yourself as well with careful budgeting and planning to relieve stress. Arlington Charities wishes you and yours a happy and stress free holiday.