Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration, but it’s also a time for heavy spending — especially when it comes to buying presents for your nearest and dearest. Interestingly enough, recent research shows that the amount of money that you spent on your holiday gifts this year could say a lot about your health.
A September 2018 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggested that more emotionally stable people tend to spend more during the holiday season and that folks who are more meurotic and nervous usually spend less. Researchers collected more than 2 million transactions from 2,133 participants’ bank accounts. Then, the researchers compared the relationship between these people’s holiday spending habits and their Big Five personality traits — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Along with showing that emotionally stable people typically spend more, the results also suggested that folks who are more conscientious tend to spend more than those who aren’t. Interestingly, the people who scored higher in the “openness” trait tended to spend less money than those who scored lower in openness. People with more active imaginations also tended to spend less during this time of year.
“We’ve known for a while that personality is related to what we call ‘broad outcomes’: how much money you make or how happy you are or how long you live,” said co-lead author Sara Weston in a press release. “But we know less about why personality is related to those things.”
That said, the study is valuable because it shows that personality traits are related to spending behaviors during specific times like the holiday season. So if you spent a lot more money than usual this Christmas, don’t fret about it too much — it could actually mean good things for your mental health. And if you used your hard-earned cash to spoil your loved ones or to donate to a worthy cause, all the better.