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2017 Holiday Gifting Trends
(and Why You Should Always Write a Thank You Note!)

When the first shimmer of tinsel is spotted in store windows, we immediately make our list and check it multiple times. We wanted to take a closer look at the holiday mindset of customers and explore their ideas on gift-giving etiquette. Who will spend the most this holiday season: consumers in the East, Midwest, or West? Are couples obligated to exchange presents during their first year of dating? Should your kids send thank you notes? We surveyed 1,000 people to get a pulse on seasonal spending habits and gift-giving etiquette in the US. Let’s unwrap the results!

What is the average amount spent on holiday gifts?

The study revealed that 25% of shoppers spend between $101 and $500 on holiday gifts for friends and family. There’s a good chance this group is smart about spending, too, selecting one or two key presents their recipients will adore.

Northeast is on the nice list

In the Northeast, over 25% of responders say that they will spend more than $1,000 on holiday gifts. Shoppers out west rein it in; they are more likely to spend between $101 and $500 this season.

Savvy gift spenders

Shout-out to the ten states who are seriously savvy spenders (noted in purple, above)! Respondents in Arizona, New Mexico, and the Dakotas are among the handful who spend less than $100 on holiday gifts. DIY treasures like ornaments, calendars, and photo panels featuring favorite photos fall into this budget-friendly category, and will supply smiles all year long.

To budget or not to budget?

Over 60% of holiday shoppers said they didn’t set or discuss a spending budget with friends and family. The amount spent is inconsequential to finding the perfect gift. When you create a personalized gift like a wedding photo book or canvas print of your granddaughter’s handprints, seeing that reaction of joy on your recipient’s face is beyond priceless.

What’s the plan, Stan?

Gen X and millennials are slightly more open to discussing a gift-giving budget around the holidays than Baby Boomers are. This helps ease the pressure of having to price match an unknown amount, and may help focus one’s shopping on just the essentials. Like the saying goes, money saved is money earned for avocado toast.

Can you stick to a list?

Ooh, shiny! It’s easy to get distracted when you’re out shopping for others. But an impressive 45% of shoppers stick to their gift list, somehow managing to avoid the tempting glitz and glam of holiday window displays. Flip through the Snapfish catalog for some clever gifting ideas to jump-start that list. Pillows for dad’s favorite chair, a spiffy cutting board for the newlyweds—you’ll have everyone covered in no time.

Is it okay to return gifts where you live?

A gift receipt is helpful when Aunt Marge mistakes you for a cat person and wraps up the purrrfect sweater for you. But if you live in Alaska, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Indiana, or Virginia, you won’t be needing that receipt anyway. These eight states don’t think it’s acceptable to return a gift. You’ll just have to grin and wear it. Creating presents on Snapfish doesn’t even require a gift receipt—people love personalized gifts made just for them! Instant crowd-pleasers this season are our new notebooks and journals, perfect for writers, doodlers, and sketchers.

Who’s the big spender?

We all know that there is no “right” amount to spend on gifts for your loved ones. But if we had to put a price tag on it, the survey results show that men tend to spend more than women on gifts for their spouse, parents, and friends. You can have a winning gift for less than that $25 price tag with just a few clicks on Snapfish! Our ready-made photo book and calendar layouts will make gifts look like a million bucks—and carry a heaping tablespoon of thoughtfulness to boot.

Do couples need to exchange gifts during their first year together?

26% of couples said they don’t plan to exchange gifts during their first holiday season. Evenings are spent cozied up by a fire, telling stories of holidays past and eating too many gingerbread house decorations. The other 74% of respondents happily wrap gifts to celebrate that one-year mark…and probably indulge in the candy, too. Couples gifts at Snapfish can be even cuter than matching pajamas! Create a photo map with prints of the amazing places you’ve traveled together, or create custom blankets for optimal snuggle time.

Do you expect to receive thank you notes ?

In an era of choosing iPad over pad of paper, less than 20% of millennials think thank you notes are necessary (just, like, text us instead). However, it’s still the Summer of Love-My-Thank-You-Notes for Baby Boomers! Nearly 40% of this generation loves a handwritten, thoughtful letter. Which brings us to a little request...

Bring back the thank you note!

To the 25% of people who agree that thank you notes are not outdated—you’re in good company! Being in the business of personalized gifts and cards, we’re big fans of sending thank you notes after receiving gifts. Stay on the nice list for next year and create note cards with fill-in-the-blanks for kids to easily complete their holiday thank yous. They’ll be grateful for the practice when birthdays and weddings call for a similar gesture down the line—and that warm, fuzzy feeling that accompanies gratitude is just icing on the cake!

The results of this survey shouldn’t dictate how you allocate your holiday budget, but it’s neat to see how the gift giving tradition varies by region, gender, and age. The numbers show that budgeting is important to millennial and Gen X shoppers, men tend to be the big spenders, and sometimes you’ll just have to don that cat sweater when Aunt Marge comes to visit.


Whether you plan to fill your sleigh with custom gifts or spend a cozy night in, your holiday celebrations will be unique and memorable. And if you decide to bring back the art of thank you notes this year, we’ll be cheers-ing you on.


Wishing you and yours a merry and bright holiday season!


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