Christmas is just 2 weeks away: What you need to need to know as the holiday approaches

There are officially just two more weeks until Christmas.

While this may be the best time of year for some, others don't feel quite as happy about the holiday. A survey from LendingTree found that 61 percent of Americans are dreading the holidays due to increased spending. The average consumer will reportedly spend about $602.65 on gifts this holiday season, and that number increases to $850.38 if you have children under the age of 18. 75 percent of survey respondents fear disappointing their children during the holidays and another 76 percent feel pressured to buy gifts for their loved ones. With that said, nearly a quarter of the survey’s participants even admitted that they’ll likely go into debt from overspending this season.

Florida specifically does not have a whole lot of holiday cheer. A study by CenturyLink ranked Florida near the very bottom of U.S. states when it comes to its love for the holidays. It placed at number 47, as Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, Ohio and Alabama topped the list.

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If you're looking to get your kids more in the Christmas spirit, they can give Santa a call on his hotline. Children can leave Santa a message and he will shoot a text message back. To call in the U.S., dial 605-313-4000. For Spanish, dial 605-313-4001. 

Unfortunately this holiday season, there is a Christmas tree shortage and it is impacting states across the nation, including Florida. Experts blame the 2008 recession and high demand.

Be careful though: Experts say that your Christmas tree can make you sick. Usually, decorations are stored away all year, so mold and dust can build on them, causing a flare-up in allergies or a build-up in mold spores. This can lead to respiratory issues.

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Fire officials in Florida urged residents to keep their elves safe this holiday season. The notice came after an 'elf on a shelf' got burned after being placed too close to a Christmas light. They advise that adults, children, and elves keep a safe distance from all things that burn.

A charity in the United Kingdom said that Christmas sweaters may be a no-go this year because they are more harmful than you think. They said that many Christmas sweaters are made of toxic materials that are contributing to the world’s plastic pollution problem. 

If you are still Christmas shopping, it is wise to make sure any online purchases are done in time, so that they ship and arrive before Christmas. The 'last day to ship' is different for USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Click HERE to check the dates for each one.

While online shopping, keep an eye out for holiday scams. The FBI and Federal Trade Commission urges customers to follow the following tips while shopping:

  • Make a list and a budget. 
  • Do your research.
  • Look for the best deals.
  • Keep track of your purchases.
  • Give gifts, not personal information.

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Then, when wrapping gifts this year, don't so much about how it looks. Researchers found that people had more positive attitudes toward sloppily wrapped gifts, even when it was something they didn't want.

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No matter how you celebrate this holiday season, FOX 35 News wishes you a wonderful time full of family, fun, and love.