For many consumers that adds up to one thing: pressure.
That's according to a new survey from Bankrate.com, which found that 45 percent of Americans feel compelled to go beyond their comfort zones when buying holiday gifts.
Women are more likely to feel the gift-giving stress, according to the survey, with 51 percent of women feeling pressured to overspend versus just 40 percent of men.
Parents also reported feeling more gift-giving stress, with 54 percent feeling the need to keep up with the Joneses versus 42 percent of non-parents.
Millennials and Gen Xers also reported that they were more stressed about gift giving than older generations.
The results show that not everyone is in a good place financially, despite what broader economic indicators might say, according to Adrian Garcia, data analyst at Bankrate.com.
"Not everyone is feeling the wage growth and the positivity of the economy," Garcia said. "Not everyone is feeling great."
There are two things that most people do not want to resort to — not giving gifts at all or buying second-hand items, according to the survey.
Yet gift givers may want to rethink that policy on used goods, according to Garcia. "Just because it comes from a place that is 'used' or second-hand doesn't mean it's not good quality, doesn't mean the person won't like it," Garcia said.
More from Personal Finance:
Millennials, you can win the holidays without going broke
Here's why you shouldn't buy everything on your kids' holiday wish lists
These workplace perks could save you a few bucks in 2019
There are some practical money tips you can use to approach the holiday season wisely, according to Douglas Boneparth, certified financial planner and president of Bone Fide Wealth.