A recent analysis of government data indicates that, due to the surge in inflation to the highest levels in four decades, an average American family must incur an extra expense of $11,434 yearly to sustain the same quality of life they had in January 2021.

Here in North Carolina, nearly half of North Carolinians are spending less on presents and traveling less this holiday season, according to our latest Civitas Poll.

Bar graph of North Carolina shoppers saying they will spend less on Christmas presents this year due to inflation November 2023 Civitas Poll

Inflation and out-of-control spending have made this the “costliest” Christmas ever, forcing families to tighten their Christmas budgets, starting with Christmas trees.

The Real Christmas Tree Board surveyed wholesale Christmas tree growers ahead of the Christmas tree season, and most growers say their costs have increased by up to ten percent this year. A quarter of respondents said they would “likely raise their wholesale price between 5% and 15%, increasing the average cost of a Christmas tree to between $80 and $100.

We all know that getting the physical tree is just the beginning; we must put lights on and decorate the tree, and many American families even put up masterful outdoor Christmas displays for their whole neighborhood to enjoy.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for about 15% of an average household’s electricity use. They also estimate it costs $10 total to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with incandescent lights. 

I’d like to seize this chance for a not-so-subtle plug:

Stay up-to-date on recent research, discussions, and insights from Locke’s Center for Food, Power, and Life, where we’re dedicatedly working to fuel freedom by promoting policies that guarantee energy that’s both pocket-friendly and reliable for every family in North Carolina.

In a yearly tradition, PNC’s Christmas Price Index (CPI) calculates the prices of each gift from the classic Christmas tune “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Now, if the song is sung correctly, the price tag for all the gifts from all 12 days — purchased repeatedly in the manner the song is sung, results in a staggering $210,972.66.

That is a lot of turtle doves and drummer boys…

Friends, though these numbers can be somewhat discouraging and make me want to put “spending cuts” at the top of my Christmas list this year, Christmas is about so much more than gifts. It’s about giving back to the less fortunate, spending precious time with loved ones, and making memories that last a lifetime.

Celebrating the brightest of humanity makes the Christmas season one of my favorite seasons of the year.