A new Monmouth University poll finds inflation and supply chain issues seem to be impacting the holiday shopping season with about 4 in 10 Americans who said they've pared down their shopping lists due to rising prices.

Americans want to maintain as normal a pattern as they can with gifts they buy but others have reported problems, said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.

He said 19% said they cut back on the number of gifts that they bought this year by a lot because of rising prices. Another 21% said they're doing a few cutbacks. But half or more said everything is normal for them and even spending more. "So we're still seeing spending but not they're not able to get every single gift as they would have in years past," Murray said.

Despite experiences with chain supply problems, the country as a whole has not made much of a change to this typical holiday shopping timeline.

Just 22% reported getting most of their shopping done by the end of November and 32% expected to wrap things up by mid-December.

The survey also found that about one-third of Americans said the holiday season is more enjoyable this year. Murray said that number has gone down over the past few years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, that number was 44% compared to 36% now. But last year was by far, worse for a lot of people.

About 29% surveyed said they're experiencing more stress now compared to before the pandemic, but 34% said they have less stress now than they did a year ago.

'Last year was probably the height of trying to adjust to what the pandemic is throwing at you during the holidays and I think a lot of people have kind of figured out that adjustment right now,' Murray said.

Non-parents are feeling relatively more stressed from the holidays this year than parents. Murray said in the past, parents were more stressed out because they were worried about the number of gifts they had to buy. But the tables have turned for this year.

When it comes to non-parents, Murray said he thinks there's more expected of them in terms of traveling and picking up the slack of things that they didn't have to worry about pre-COVID and that they're required to do now.

But with parents, they've already made major adjustments this year. They've had to deal with a lot of stress when it comes to their kids, schools, and COVID protocols.

"Christmas is a piece of cake for them, in terms of making adjustments," Murray said.

Overall, parents with children under 18 (39%), adults under age 55 who do not have children (39%), and adults age 55 and older (32%) said they find the holidays more enjoyable than the rest of the year.

Non-parents under age 55 (34%) are somewhat more likely than parents (27%) or adults age 55 and older (25%) to say the holidays are more stressful.

More than half of Americans (51%) said gift-giving is their top stressor during the holidays and 37% said the same about traveling.

The percentage of those who chose gift-buying as their biggest stressor is unchanged from 2018 (28%), but the number who point to traveling as causing them the most stress, ticked up from 17% three years ago.

Last year, traveling was basically shut down for people. But this year it's open and Murray said people are asking questions regarding COVID protocols.

Other holiday stressors included being with family members, cooking, and putting up holiday decorations.

For a full report, visit:https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_US_121321/

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