With the holidays around the corner, many Canadians are feeling the squeeze while facing the prospect of holiday shopping despite some signs that the economy is improving.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Montreal (BMO), 78% of Canadians plan on purchasing fewer gifts these coming holidays. 

“The rising cost of living will be top of mind this holiday season,” said BMO’s Gayle Ramsay, head of everyday banking, segment and customer growth.

The BMO Index tracks consumers by asking them about their personal finances, surveying Canadians 18 and older. 

The survey revealed that 40% of respondents said that they planned to buy less expensive gifts for friends and family. 

More than half of respondents reported a sense of financial anxiety regarding the upcoming holidays, with 29% saying they feel less financially secure now than they did last year. 

“The holidays are certainly a time to celebrate with loved ones, but the holiday parties, family gatherings, travel and gift exchanges can also pose a financial strain – especially during times of economic uncertainty,” said Ramsay in a press release.

A majority of those surveyed said that on average, they think it will take them three months to repay their holiday debt, while 24% said they weren’t sure if they’d be able to repay their holiday debt in the time that it was due.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos between September 11 to October 9, 2023 and has a credibility of +/- 2.2% 19 times out of 20.