Consumer Reports Poll: One-Third of Americans are Feeling the Holiday Stress

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44 Percent of Holiday Shoppers are Concerned About Overspending

While to some the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, to others it’s also among the most stressful. Our poll reveals somewhat predictably that it’s the added expenses that causes the most angst

Not all Americans are feeling cheerful this holiday season. While 65 percent feel they have everything under control, the rest are feeling some trepidation, according to a Consumer Reports poll. One-third say they’re either somewhat stressed-out but will eventually be ready for the holiday, are feeling completely overwhelmed and unsure if they’ll be ready, or are almost certain they won’t be ready.

Among those who don’t feel they’re ready for the holidays, 56 percent say not having enough money for all the expected expenses is what’s causing them the most stress. Insufficient time to buy gifts was a distant second, cited by 18 percent. Other concerns revealed in the poll: Getting holiday greetings out in time, travel, an obligation to attend parties, and anxiety over having to host too many people.

“While to some the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, to others it’s also among the most stressful. Our poll reveals somewhat predictably that it’s the added expenses that causes the most angst,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert.

The Consumer Reports poll also revealed that 44 percent are concerned about overspending this holiday season – including 7 percent who are extremely concerned. And perhaps coincidentally, the number of Americans who said they’d rather receive a luxury gift vs. a practical gift ticked up to 25 percent, from 18 percent last year.

When it comes to giving, 57 percent said they’re buying clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories for those on their list; 51 percent are giving gift cards; 44 percent, toys; 30, percent, cash or check. Only 20 percent intend to buy jewelry.

Additional results from the Consumer Reports poll, as well as holiday shopping advice and gift suggestions, can be found at ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the upcoming 2014 winter holiday season. In December 2014, GfK Custom Research administered the survey online to a nationally representative sample of over 1,500 randomly selected adult U.S. residents who said they planned to shop for the holidays. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Fifty-four percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 47 years old.

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James McQueen
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