Three weeks before Christmas and all through the nation, it looks like many Americans are taking a shopping vacation.

That, at least, is the upshot from the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. According to the poll, 36 percent of adults, who responded to our questions between December 1 and December 6, 2015, haven’t done a lick of shopping. That puts the number of holiday spending procrastinators 6 percentage points higher than last year at this time.

Why that’s the case is hard to pinpoint. While bargain-conscious shoppers might be lusting for last-minute blockbuster deals, our poll reveals that people are of two minds when it comes to holiday spending. On one hand, they’re not fretting as much about buying beyond their means. Only 28 percent of respondents said they were “fairly, very, or extremely concerned” about overspending this season compared to 44 percent in 2014. In fact, 47 percent told us they’re “not at all concerned” about over-the-top holiday spending—more than double the number last year.

But for others, a lack of money to cover their holiday spending on gifts, entertaining, travel, and so forth, preys on their minds during this festive period. It was by far the top source of holiday-related anxiety, cited by 46 percent of those who feel stressed. Other anxiety-inducers: not enough energy to get everything done (cited by 13 percent); insufficient time to buy gifts (12 percent); trying to figure out good gifts to give (12 percent); having to entertain certain family members or in-laws (7 percent); and travel (3 percent).

That’s not to say consumers are in panic mode about their holiday spending, as Christmas Day nears. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed who’d started their gift shopping have finished at least half of it; 29 percent are done with three-quarters of their list. And most people—73 percent—say they have things under control and expect to be ready and raring to go for the holidays. Only about one in 10 say they’re feeling overwhelmed and unprepared.


Read more from our two earlier holiday polls: What Americans Dread Most About the Holidays and Americans Plan to Increase Holiday Spending.
 

The Christmas Tree Debate

As in past years, there continues to be one hot-button issue driving a wedge between Christmas celebrants: whether to buy a real tree or an artificial one. This year, chalk one up for the faux faction. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they’d rather have an artificial tree; 44 percent prefer the one made by nature. However, the gap is narrowing. Last year 60 percent favored an artificial tree.

Poll Methodology: The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the 2015 winter holiday season. In December 2015, ORC International administered the survey via phone to a nationally representative sample of over 1,300 randomly selected adult U.S. residents; 80 percent will be shopping this holiday season. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is +/-3.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Fifty-two percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 45 years old.