Study: People who do not give holiday gifts save resources and reduce stress

In this Nov. 2, 2009 file photo, a customer swipes a MasterCard debit card through a machine while checking out at a shop in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

Opting out of gift-giving does not necessarily make you a Grinch.

In addition to saving money, there are other benefits to not buying gifts, including saving resources and avoiding holiday shopping stress.

The National Retail Foundation reports Americans will spend about $967 on average this holiday season, which estimates the country will spend more than $678.8 billion in total.

"With employment and incomes increasing, consumers are more confident this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

University of Minnesota professor Joel Waldfogel said gift giving just isn't an effective way to part with your money.

"We're making guesses about what other people need or want or like," Waldfogel, author of Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays, said. "If I go out and spend $50 on you, I may buy something that's worth nothing to you."

Unwanted gifts are not only a waste of money, but may lead to more environmental waste as they end up in a landfill, along with wrapping paper and packaging materials.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports Americans produce 25 percent more household waste, or about 1 million extra tons during the holiday season.

Instead of traditional gift-giving, shoppers can spend their money on gift cards and experiences.

The National Retail Foundation reports gift cards have been the most popular item on people's wish lists for the last 11 years.

Spending money on experiences, like a family vacation or a meal together, can create more memories for the entire group.

Studies show that spending money on experiences tends to provide more long-lasting happiness than buying material goods.
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