Ever wonder how much we spend on average on holidays and special occasions? We’ve collected the data to find out.

How Much Do We Spend on Holidays and Special Occasions?

It’s probably no surprise that we tend to spend more during the second half of the year. Thanks to Black Friday and Christmas, after all, retail shopping goes into high gear.

Of course, we know that holidays aren’t the only time of the year for spending. There are also other special occasions and life events, like weddings and graduations, that we’ll pull out our wallets for.

But what are the average costs of these special occasions? How do they add up?

We were curious, too—so we’ve rounded up the latest data on how these special times cost us financially. Here’s a look at the average amount spent on each occasion.

Valentine’s Day

Americans spent an average of $143.56 for Valentine’s Day gifts in 2018. Interestingly, those aged 25 to 34 spent the most, shelling out an average of $202.76 for Valentine’s Day.


Here’s one fall holiday that might catch you off-guard in terms of spending. For Halloween 2018, Americans spent an average of $86.79 on costumes, candy, and decorations.

Black Friday

Black Friday is no longer just a 24-hour event—it’s more of a long weekend, beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with Cyber Monday. That said, the average shopper spent $335 during this period. Millennials were the biggest spenders, purchasing an average $419.52’s worth of goodies each.


For the 2018 holiday season, the National Retail Federation found that people plan on spending about $1,007 on decorations, candy, and gifts. Perhaps this number is a little generous, though, as Gallup reports $885 and Statista $794.


Not everyone gets married, and not even all those who do opt to host a wedding ceremony and/or reception. Regardless, the cost of this particular life event is traditionally a big one.

According to Cost of Wedding, the average wedding in the U.S. cost $25,764 in 2017, and generally ranged from $19,323 to $32,205. However, it’s worth noting that given the big-spending outliers, 50% of couples actually spent less than $15,000. This doesn’t include honeymoon expenses.

Interestingly, the Knot reports a substantially higher average of $33,391, with the most spent in Manhattan ($76,944) and the least in New Mexico ($17,584).


On a less celebratory note (or not, depending on the person), divorce can also rack up quite the bill. The average cost of a divorce in the U.S. is roughly $15,000 per person, although it may be considerably cheaper if uncontested.


For high school and college graduates alike, the average gift-giver spent $102.51 on graduation presents in 2018. The most common gifts? Cash, gift cards, and cards with money inside.


When you take weddings, divorces, and graduations out of the question, the holidays alone account for well over $1,400 of spending over the course of the year. That is, if you’re spending roughly the average amount.

Were any of these numbers higher or lower than you expected? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

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