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Are Americans selfish or selfless when it comes to gift-giving?
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A new report from the National Retail Federation says Americans are planning to spend a lot on themselves. For now. - photo by Herb Scribner
Americans are planning to spend their holiday bonuses on two things this year family and themselves.

The National Retail Federations latest consumer survey found that American holiday shoppers plan on spending about $462.95 on family members this year, which is up from the $458.75 they spent last year.

And Americans plan on spending a lot on themselves. The survey found that 55.8 percent of shoppers will spend an average of $131.59 on themselves up from $126.37 in 2014, the NRF reported.

In fact, holiday shoppers plan to buy both themselves and their family members nongift items, too, the NRF reported.

Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year, said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution as they look for ways to find the perfect, practical gift.

All this consumer confidence shows Americans are willing to spend on themselves and their families. But dont fret just yet about Americans being selfish spenders holiday donations to charities often rise as shoppers get closer to the holidays, according to USA Today.

As seen last year, donations to charity organizations often grow in the summer and increase even more in the fall, USA Today reported. In 2014, charitable donations grew by 1.8 percent from July to September, which set up nonprofit organizations for an even more lucrative holiday season.

In fact, about 34 percent of all charity donations are made from October to December, with 18 percent of them coming in December, USA Today reported.

"Many of our members are dependent upon a good holiday season for a large portion of their annual fundraising," said Sam Worthington, the CEO of InterAction, an alliance of organizations, to USA Today. There's the practical aspect, which is that it's the end of the year and people want to make sure their giving is done before a new calendar year, and there's the fact that we spend time with our families, we think about others and want to have an impact on the world around us.

In fact, events in the winter, like #GivingTuesday, also inspire Americans to donate money to charity during the last few months of the year. As Lane Anderson reported for Deseret News National last year, #GivingTuesday has been vital in encouraging people to offer their generosity during the holiday season.

This years #GivingTuesday campaign has already started. Network For Good, an online charity group, has released some helpful tools and webinars so donors can pick the right charities to give to through the #GivingTuesday campaign.

Before donating to a charity, Americans can check programs like the Better Business Bureau, GuideStar or the FTC to verify whether their money goes to a good cause.

Giving isnt just for adults, either. Kids.gov, a government-funded information website for U.S. children, offers some tips for youngsters about donating to charities. Children should be sure theyre donating to a legitimate charity and one they hope can make a difference.

Most charities will send information about themselves to help children and other donors decide.

Children are also encouraged to ask their parents for help in making the donation, which can be of any size.

Your donation doesn't have to be a big one, according to kids.gov. Charities will be happy to receive even a few dollars. So if you have a little bit of extra money left over from your allowance, think about donating some of it to charity and making someone's holidays a little bit happier.