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All the gifts Americans gave in 2013, in one chart

When you're out shopping for your holiday gifts, do you ever wonder what everyone else is getting for each other? The Labor Department keeps a detailed survey of how Americans spend their money and has a good idea. Below is their snapshot of all $135 billion Americans spent on gifts in 2013.

Gifts 2013

Source: US Labor Department

That doesn't mean people are putting tuition checks under Christmas trees or handing them out in birthday cars; the BLS classifies purchases made for someone outside of a "consumer unit" a gift. When parents pay for tuition for their children living outside the home, that's a gift (but when the student lives at home, it's not). Really what this shows is a full-year look at how generous Americans are with spending on each other.

That means many of the things we buy each other to put under the tree — toys, clothes, jewelry — are dwarfed by big, costly "gifts" like tuition or helping someone buy a house.

You might not think of tuition as a "gift" in the traditional sense, but with $1.1 trillion in student debt and climbing, a tuition check probably sounds like one hell of a gift to a lot of college students right now.

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