The Cost of Tradition: How to Budget for Holiday Activities

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Posted on 12/06/2012

A real Christmas tree: $46. Christmas dinner: $49.48. The cost of tradition: priceless. But while you may not be able to put a price tag on celebrating the holidays with loved ones, budgeting for those traditions makes sense. Here's a rundown of what you can expect to pay for the most popular Christmas traditions this year.


Christmas Tree Decorating: $50-100 The cost of trimming a tree will vary depending on whether you go fresh or fake. According to the American Christmas Tree Association the average cost of a real tree is $46. The average cost of an artificial one is $78. Chances are you may need a string of replacement lights or some new decorations so it's best to budget between $50-$100 for this annual tradition.


Holiday Air Travel: $302
If traveling by plane is one of your annual Christmas traditions you can expect to pay pretty much the same this year for flights compared to 2011. Bing reports that domestic airfare tickets are averaging $302, down from $306 last year.


Christmas Dinner: $50
If you're planning another round of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner than you can anticipate an average grocery bill of $49.48. That's 28-cents higher than last year according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.


Online Shopping: $165
Online shopping has already seen a 14-percent increase this year compared to last, according to the latest data released from comSore. If you're clicking through your Christmas shopping list you're likely to spend an average of $165.90 this year, a five percent increase from 2011.


Mailing Christmas Cards: $11.70
The average American receives 26 Christmas cards each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. Since a stamp costs 45 cents that puts the expense of this tradition at $11.70, not counting the cost of the cards and envelopes. This is a 26 cent increase over last year when stamps were just 44 cents each.


By Alison Storm


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