It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or at least it can be, depending on where you celebrate Christmas. That’s because America’s favorite holiday is also one of the most expensive. From decorations and food to gifts and travel, there’s a long list of expenses to check twice and save up for during the year.
In 2018, Americans are projected to spend up to $720 billion over the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. The average person plans to spend $1,007.24. If you don’t have a reasonable holiday budget — or enough self-control — then your Plan B should definitely include celebrating in the cheapest Christmas destinations. Overspending is a common mistake committed by consumers during the Christmas shopping season and one of the top sources of holiday stress.
But beyond ensuring its affordability, a successful holiday also hinges on a location’s Christmas-friendliness. Typical Christmas activities include shopping, dining out and attending holiday events, so the availability of such options can make all the difference. Many people also are likely to attend church services, considering Christmas is a Christian holiday. The more churches around, the less likely each is to be crowded.
WalletHub considered all of those factors to determine where you’re guaranteed to enjoy a holly jolly Christmas whether you’ve been naughty or nice. More specifically, we compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on 31 key indicators of a festive and affordable Christmas, such as traditions, shopping and costs.