Remember Christmas Clubs? Way back in the ‘70s, ’80s, and ’90s, before all transactions were done on an iPhone, people used to go into physical banks to cash or deposit their (paper) paychecks. And, starting in January, lots of people would open what was known by the politically incorrect moniker “Christmas Club,” a non-interest-bearing account in which a portion of one’s paycheck would be deposited, the funds earmarked for holiday gifts. The idea was to put money aside for presents to keep from stressing and panicking when the holidays rolled around.
Unfortunately, banks don’t offer Wedding Clubs — but maybe they should. Not for brides and grooms, though — but for their guests, especially here in the Northeast, where, generous (and, consequently, sometimes broke) souls that we are, we tend to spend more lavishly on wedding gifts than Americans in other regions of the country.
In fact, according to a new survey by Bankrate, while 54 percent of people spend between $50 and $150 on wedding gifts — whether the recipient is a family member, close friend, or acquaintance —we Northeasterners not only are more than twice as likely to spend more on those we have a closer relationship with, but around a third of us spend at least $200 (or give a cash equivalent)! Just 13 percent of the rest of the country spends as much.
The types of gifts we give tend to vary more by age than by region. Not surprisingly, older Americans give cash more than younger Americans do, with 33 percent of Boomers and 46 percent of their parents’ generation preferring to give cash over a registry gift, as compared to just 20 percent of Millennials.
One thing that seems to be a factor everywhere: the high cost of just attending weddings, let alone giving wedding gifts. A full 21 percent — more than one in five — of respondents said they have declined a wedding invitation because they simply couldn’t afford to attend.