PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It’s not often a white Christmas in Portland, but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t a great place to celebrate the winter holidays.
In fact, a new study from the personal-finance website WalletHub determined Portland is one of 2022’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.
It’s a year when high inflation is lowering spirits, so WalletHub took a closer look at which cities offer a “holly jolly holiday,” even during these financially stressful times. Between purchasing decorations, food, gifts and travel tickets, Christmastime can get expensive.
In 2022, the National Retail Federation predicted Americans would spend between $943 billion and $960 billion over the holidays. If they do, it would be the highest amount spent on record.
“If you don’t have a reasonable holiday budget — or enough self-control — then being in a city where the costs of celebrating Christmas are relatively low can help,” WalletHub wrote in its published study.
The study compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities across five key dimensions: 1. Traditions & Fun, 2. Observance, 3. Generosity, 4. Shopping, 5. Costs.
Researchers broke those dimensions down into 32 relevant metrics, including things such as Christmas events per capita, Christmas tree farms per capita, ice skating rinks per capita, share of the Christian population, food banks per capita, shopping centers and outlets per capita, restaurant meal costs, and average price per Christmas party ticket.
For a full list of the categories, see the methodology in the WalletHub study.
Those metrics were each assigned a certain number of points. The higher a city scored in each category, the more points it received. The maximum number of points a city could receive was 100.
WalletHub determined each city’s weighted average and with all factors considered, Portland ranked 14th. It had a total score of 52.32. It ranked particularly high in the shopping key dimension.
Portland was also the top-rated city for Christmas tree farms per capita and for its number of affordable, high-quality restaurants. It ranked fifth for its number of gift shops per capita and toy stores and hobby shops per capita.
WalletHub sought advice from experts on how to save money around the holidays.
Yao (Henry) Jin, Ph.D., is an associate professor of supply chain management at Miami University. He said people can save money by taking part in free activities a city puts on, rather than paying to attend events.
He also encouraged people to consider crafting their gifts by hand rather than purchasing them and warned them to avoid the temptation of big discounts on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP.
“Many retailers tend to use inflated MSRP as a reference point to increase the attractiveness of a discount even if the product may not be of great value. For instance, online shoppers on a budget should avoid sorting products by discount percentage and instead use price points as a strict limit,” he said.
He also reminded people that extended warranties are almost always wasteful and tend to come with caveats. Anyone who does purchase an extended warranty with a gift should make sure it is transferable.