Christmas decorations are displayed at a Lowe’s store Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Northglenn, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Christmas decorations are displayed at a Lowe’s store Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Northglenn, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Canadians drop average holiday shopping to $200 each as pandemic takes hit on budget

Only one-in-four Canadians said they would be exchanging gifts

By Charlie Carey

Canadians are on track to spend up to $2.4 billion less this holiday season, as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic takes a hit on budgets and traditions across the country.

From a combined survey of around 2,300 participants, comparison company Finder found that most Canadians are bunkering down this holiday period, with a mere one-in-10 respondents indicating they will be visiting the homes of family or friends.

With non-essential travel restrictions in place throughout B.C., and the eastern provinces in the grip of surging COVID-19 cases, Finder found more than four-in-10 families won’t be celebrating Christmas at all this year.

Due to this, only one-in-four respondents said they would be exchanging gifts; a marked difference compared to usual holiday seasons.

Cutting their pre-pandemic holiday budgets by almost $200, respondents said they will be spending an estimated $425 each this year.

The survey also suggests that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s calm-but-clear messaging asking people to not gather with those outside their immediate household has worked. Only four per cent of B.C. respondents said they will be visiting others.

However, those aged 18 to 24 are most likely to bend pandemic rules this year and visit family or friends.

Meanwhile, most Canadian’s will spend their Christmas watching holiday movies, decorating their homes and cooking festive meals. Almost half of the men surveyed said they wouldn’t be getting into the holiday spirit at all this year.

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