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She's at it again. This time Rubina hits Fairview Mall in North Toronto to ask shoppers what their holiday budget is and how they plan on sticking to it. The overwhelming consensus was to start early so you can pick through the sale racks and search around for the lowest prices. Here are some other great ideas:

  • Have a plan before leaving the house
  • Make a list and stick to it
  • Shop online first so you know if you're getting a good deal when you hit the shops
  • Visit outlet malls and factories instead of the normal shops

With Canadians expected to spend roughly $500-600 each on Christmas gifts this year, it got me thinking about what all that money is getting spent on.  Here are a few interesting facts from Stats Canada about our holiday spending habits (the data is a bit old because a new holiday survey hasn't been released in a few years, but you get the idea):


  • $200 million - The value of Christmas decorations imported to Canada in 2008
  • $23 million - The value of Christmas decorations exported from Canada in 2008
  • $65 million - The value of farm cash receipts for Christmas trees in Canada in 2008

Online shopping

  • 69.9 million - The approximate number of orders placed online in Canada in 2007
  • $12.8 billion - The approximate value of goods and services ordered over the Internet in Canada in 2007
  • 8.4 million - The approximate number of people in Canada 16 years and over who purchased something online in 2007

Your purchases

  • $3.7 billion - The value of food and beverages purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2008, up 14% from average monthly sales
  • $174 million - The value of cosmetics and fragrances purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2008, up 96% from average monthly sales
  • $123 million - The value of jewellery and watches purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2008, up 139% from average monthly sales

Food and drink

  • $394 million - The amount of monthly sales of candy, confectionery and snack foods sales at large retailers in December 2008
  • 6 million litres — The volume of commercial sales of eggnog in Canada in December 2008


  • $8.1 billion - The amount of donations to charities claimed by Canadian tax filers in 2008. This was down 5.4% from 2007.
Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a financial journalist and personal finance expert with more than 15 years of experience. Her career spans three continents with appearances on TV, radio, print and online. She is the Finance Editor for HOMES Publishing. You can also read her columns in CondoLife and Active Life. Rubina runs the website She has also contributed on personal finance matters at The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV Newschannel, Mississauga Life Magazine,, OurKidsMedia, CAA Magazine, South Asian Focus TV, ANOKHI Magazine, Bridal Fantasy Magazine, Canadian Running Magazine, FRESH JUICE magazine and NEWSTALK 1010.

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