What are moms spending on gifts this holiday season?
You know what the holidays are like in your own family, but what about everyone else's? We peeked behind closed doors for you and got the inside story from nearly 1,400 BabyCenter moms.
We were happily surprised to learn that moms are spending more on gifts this year than last - a sign, perhaps, that not just cheer but economic recovery is in the air. (Most of the dough goes to the kids' gifts, and only a little to the boss and the pet.) And moms reveal a lingering love for values that may have been reinvigorated by a bad economy - things like saving, being home, and appreciating what you have.
There inner Martha Stewart is evident in more ways than one. An impressive two-thirds of moms will whip up homemade gifts to supplement their store-bought counterparts, and most will stay home for the holidays, with nearly half hosting a party. Plenty will stay home to shop, too - 90 percent of moms will be doing at least some gift-buying online.
What's on their top-secret shopping lists? Read on to find out what moms say are this season's must-haves, and learn what they say not to ever get anyone - even your mother-in-law.
Moms are more Santa than Scrooge this season
While last year was tough and family budgets were tight, this year's looking jollier. We asked moms what they're planning to spend for the 2009 holiday season and the results are in: more.
On average, moms expect to spend a total of $825 on gifts this season for everyone on their list - that's a full 32 percent more than last year. Their children are set to rake in the most and their pets the least (sorry, Fluffy). Here's how the shopping pie's getting sliced:
$259 - your children
$123 - your spouse/partner
$92 - grandparents
$88 - cousins and extended family
$82 - others
$50 - aunts and uncles
$50 - friends
$27 - your spouse or partner's friends
$26 - your work colleagues
$15 - your manager or your spouse's or partner's manager
$13 - pets
Already, these funds are flowing. Half of moms say they started shopping before Thanksgiving, and by mid-December, almost three-quarters plan to be done. Of course, we can't all be overachievers - one-quarter of moms say they fully expect to finish shopping at the last minute.
Gettin' homey for the holidays
The holidays aren't all about the green stuff, though (and we're not talking about those fragrant pine boughs). The uptick in spending doesn't tell the full story. Maybe because of how tough things were last year for most families (and still are for many), our survey showed that homey holiday habits are the name of the game.
For one thing, more than two out of three families plan to stay home for the holidays this year. And many celebrations are taking on homemade flair, with 43 percent of moms hosting holiday parties and 64 percent supplementing their shopping with personalized, homemade gifts.
Overall, the focus seems to be on family time and building traditions. "It's all about creating memories and traditions for the kids," explains one mom. "I want them to look back when they're parents and remember the traditions that we had as a family."
Moms are finding ways to spread holiday cheer outside the home, too, in the form of philanthropy, donations, and volunteering. While cash donations are down 9 percent this year, the spirit of giving is way up. The number of moms planning to volunteer this holiday season is up 43 percent from last year, and about half plan to donate food and clothes to those in need.
Fa-la-la-la-la, her favorite things
Even though moms add a lot to their plate during the holidays (they told us the bulk of the shopping, decorating, and planning falls to them), they still love the season. Almost 90 percent say they look forward to it every year.
What are their favorite things that make it all worthwhile? Small moments that add up to sweet memories. Among them:
- Wrapping presents beautifully (more than three-quarters of moms say bestowing pretty packages gives them a happy glow)
- Personalizing holiday cards with pictures of the kids (about 60 percent of moms send photo cards, and almost all of them feature the cutest members of the household)
- Chopping down their own tree (one in five tree-buying families will do it Paul Bunyan-style at a tree farm)
- Seeing their kids in holiday pajamas (more than any other type of holiday wear, parents love to deck their kids in cute, seasonal PJs - this tops the list at 56 percent)
- Baking cookies with the kids to leave out for Santa (two-thirds of moms who celebrate Christmas report looking forward to this special treat).
A sneak peek at Mom's shopping list
Moms tell us they'll do 96 percent of the family's shopping this season - and that's a lot. Two-thirds are buying gifts for 10 or more people, and almost a third buy gifts for 15 or more.
What's Mom planning to buy and stash away in the gift closet? First and foremost on the list are toys, with a lot of buzz over Where the Wild Things Are, Barbie, and Elmo. Electronic toys are up there, too, like Wii and PS3 games and MP3 players. Clothes and accessories are a close second, and in the third slot are gift cards. As one mom put it, she gets people gift cards "so people can buy what they want. Money is too tight to waste right now on a gift someone may like." Two gifts moms aren't giving this year? Cars and fruitcakes.
Here, moms spill the beans about what's on their list:
83% - toys
80% - clothes, shoes, and accessories
68% - gift cards
53% - movies
36% - baby gear
31% - music
27% - other
22% - tools and other home improvement gear
20% - gourmet foods, wine, and beer
14% - bikes, big wheels, and scooters
9% - digital cameras or camcorders
5% - cell phones and smart phones
4% - Blu-Ray players
4% - DVD players
2% - HDTV
2% - investments
1% - fruitcakes
With lots of people to buy for, 90 percent of moms are keeping an eagle eye out for ways to save. And 88 percent will save both time and money by shopping not just in stores but online. (Only 10 percent won't be shopping online at all. How did our grandmother's do it?)
Most moms who need gift ideas turn to their partners (about 60 percent), but about 20 percent seek help from other moms online when they're unsure what to get their kids.
Um, no thanks: Worst gifts ever
Imagine: You eagerly pull the wrapping paper off a gift only to find a complete dud nestled in the tissue paper. It's happened to more than half the moms in our survey, and while the most common letdowns were ugly holiday sweaters (17 percent) and fruitcakes (6 percent), moms reported a bunch of unusual offenders. Here's a list of the most heinous (and hilarious) "worst gifts ever":
- Ugly impersonal snow globe from my mother-in-law
- Horsetail hair bracelet
- Taxidermy duck
- Already-burned candle
- A ceramic lighthouse my mother received as a gift for hosting a candle party
- Food scale
- Used eye shadow
- Stuffed moose
- Granny panties
- Smoke detector
- A dollar-store dustpan from my mother-in-law
- Game system that my (now-ex) husband bought so he could play it
- An item I'd given to the gift giver the previous holiday
- Plastic shark that sang "Mac the Knife"
- Clothing two sizes too big from my mother-in-law
- An ugly shirt, which I returned for a $3.99 credit
- Things that I'm allergic to - and the giver knew it
- Six-pack of white socks from my boss
- A notepad that said "Thank you for your subscription!" from my mother-in-law
- Broken salt-and-pepper shakers in the shape of cats
Photo Source: Google Images - http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=holiday+shopping&gbv=2&aq=f&oq=&aqi=