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November 24th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How will your Christmas spending be different this year?

ALT TEXT
How will your Christmas spending be different this year? (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Black Friday right around the corner - retailers are hoping for a better Christmas shopping season than last year.

And there are some glimmers of hope:

One survey shows Black Friday shopping is expected to pick up more than 16 percent. The National Retail Federation says 57 million people say they'll definitely head to the stores this year - that's up from 49 million last year.

Some stores even plan to extend hours on Friday so people have more time to get in on the "door-buster" deals.

A new Gallup Poll shows consumer spending is up 11 percent from the prior week... Even more impressive is the comparison to the same week last year. Spending is down 7 percent–that's the smallest year-to-year decline so far in 2009.

That's something when you consider consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

There is also a big difference in how people say they plan to pay for their Christmas shopping this year. The same retail group reports an increase in the number of consumers who say they plan to use cash, debit or check cards. Credit card use is expected to drop by 10 percent.

The reasons include credit card companies reducing consumer’s credit lines and customers’ trying to lower their own debt as the recession drags on.

Here’s my question to you: How will your Christmas spending be different this year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Shawn from Boston says:
Jack, My wife and I have already completed our Christmas shopping for the year. We have opted not to exchange presents with each other, instead focusing on our daughter. Even though we both have steady employment, with good salaries, we are taking a frugal approach. Many of the items we bought her were purchased on sale or even from e-Bay. You can't be too careful anymore.

James from Seattle says:
Jack, I'm done shopping and paid cash for everything. I also spent 1/4th what I did last year because everyone in my family is hurting and we all agreed; better to spend time together with minimal gifts, than get into debt over things we don't need.

Silas from Boston says:
I'm only buying gifts from locally-owned retailers this year and the gifts will be smaller, more thoughtful. Why spend it in places like Wal-Mart or Target where the profits ultimately go to China? The best Christmas gift Americans can give to themselves is to start trading at local businesses, the TRUE heart of the American economy.

Kristin says:
My time is valuable and I'm not stupid enough to put up with the early hours, lack of merchandise and being jostled by rude, greedy people. We'll be doing most of our shopping online.

Bryant says:
I will no longer use a credit card since they raised their interest rate for no reason.

John from Arizona says:
My wife and I are Arizona state employees. We were both hit with 15 day furloughs last spring. The fear of that happening again will keep our wallets completely closed this season. Spending money just isn't the smart choice right now. Our holidays will be spent with family and friends, and not in stores. That actually sounds really good to me.


Filed under: Economy • Spending
soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Cut to the bone plain and simple
    David

    November 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  2. john ...... marlton, nj

    It won't be different ..

    November 24, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Paul, Austin, Texas

    My spending will be a little less this year but not when it comes to family. Friends that I give gifts to will get a card and a much less costly gift then I gave in the past.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  4. Scott - San Diego, CA

    What Christmas? Our business is on the verge of shutting it's doors and the only hope offered by the Obama administration is small business loans, not the economic recovery we need to stay in business.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Hugo Kijne

    It won't be different from last year: $0. We treat ourselves to a Carribean vacation and cannot afford any presents on top of that. Highly recommended.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    No Christmas spending. Unlike the Federal Government, I can't spend or print money I don't have. With the uncertain future and prospect of all the new taxes, better save my pennies for the future....but don't tell the government I still have some change in my pocket or they'll want that too. Merry Christmas!

    November 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  7. Melissa M

    If there is an upside to the economic situation, it's that more of us are re-discovering the joys of hand-made gifts at Christmas and moving away from the commercialism and materialism of the season so that we can focus on the true meaning of the holiday.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    What spending.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  9. Rich from the Poconos

    The same as last year, cash only, no plastic.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  10. Tony from Southport

    I'll be sending Sarah Palin a larger contribution.

    November 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    My wife of 31 years and I are both in our late 50's. We won't spend much on each other ... frankly, we've run out of ideas. But, our wonderful kids and grand-kids will find nice surprises under the tree. And we'll find a way to do that on a budget about 20% less than last year.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    November 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  12. Jackie in Dallas

    Seriously curtailed, Jack, because I just got laid off - again.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  13. DT from Fort Walton Beach, FL

    For most of us on main street (You know? The ones who dont matter) a christmas present for many will simply be to have running water, working lights, and dinner. Thats the most the less fortunate will get. As for me Im stickin to very few presents for my closest family members. It's funny how I can tighten my belt but my gov'ernment cant do the same.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  14. Jimmy in Houston, TX

    No Christmas gifts this year. Bad news for the stores, but maybe it's a good time to get back to the real meaning of Christmas. Will celebrate with family and friends.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  15. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    ONe of us is unemployed at this time so what do you think?

    November 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  16. Chandra

    No Santa Claus this year, just the Grinch. With the bleak economic future we cannot afford to be wasting money on things we don't really need. Time to teach the kids Christmas isn't just about presents.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  17. Joanne B

    Stayng home and not spending much money for sure.
    Joanne
    MN

    November 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  18. Linus McKinney,Texas

    Spending? What the hell is that?

    November 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  19. DON, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

    It will be virtually nonexistent this year. I'm just barely keeping my head above water and even then.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  20. Jane (Minnesota)

    Not any different thanlast year. My mother is on a limited income and can't afford to buy gifts, so we've chosen not to exchange them. There's more to Christmas than buying gifts.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  21. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    I plan to avoid buying anything I feel is to expensive.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  22. JENNA

    How will your Christmas spending be different this year?

    Fewer gifts under the tree, and the gifts only for the children of the family. Adults only get what you can put in a Stocking.

    That is what we are doing this year.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    November 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  23. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    My Christmas spending will go to my inflated credit card interest. Never a late payment and I, like many Americans, am rewarded with 28% interest. Thank you Chase Bank!

    November 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  24. Keith - Ohio

    We have one son who lost a nice job and about to loose his current house. He has another house that he can't sell, and is lucky to be renting it out, now.

    Our other son changed his job because he was about to loose his job, and had two house two houses at one time.

    So, yes Jack... our Christmas spending will change drastically this year.

    P.S. What do you think the effect of 16 million jobless will have on the 2009 income tax collected next Spring???

    November 24, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  25. don dean bradenton fl

    what x-mas spending

    November 24, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  26. Francesca

    Christmas spending?? Are you allowed to ask that? Is that politically correct? Won't that offend someone? You must mean HOLIDAY spending, since it appears Christmas has become a banned word this time of year.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  27. M from NY

    This year, I won't be gift wrapping my lump of coal to each member of Congress. I can't afford the wrapping paper, ribbons or bows.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  28. Mark in OKC

    What spending?

    Mark in OKC

    November 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  29. David in San Diego

    Not at all different. No spending dedicated to the "holidays" in the past, and none this year. My wife and I buy ourselves what we want whenever we want it–who else matters?

    November 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  30. Cheryl

    Less is more. More people that I know are giving smaller gifts from the heart – more home-made things. This is not a bad thing. Christmas had become way too commercialized as it was.

    Cheryl
    Houston

    November 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  31. Christopher Whalen

    Our spending habits will only change slightly because we are flying out to Arizona to be with family. So we're budgeting in airfaire and rental car as well.

    Otherwise, despite the recession, we're doing quite well these days. We're looking forward to spoiling our family and friends with gifts this year.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  32. Judy Lederman

    I don't trust myself to go shopping this year. Will make a list and get what I need online. That will curb the impulse shopping.

    🙂

    Judy

    November 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  33. vern-anaheim,ca

    we won't have the money to spend on christmas gifts this christmas because of the depression or recession the bush administration is responsible for starting but hopefully christmas of 2010 will be a better christmas for all

    November 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  34. Don

    Ha,Ha, We`re Spectators now, We did all our Holiday Shopping Right before Halloween, Did Not spend much either.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  35. Tina Tx

    Mine will remain the same but it has come to a point where we spoiled Americans must get back to the basics and only buy what we need and not get everything you want. Drive down any American street with the garage doors open and they are full to the point of no return and your $40,000 car sits out in the elements. What does this tell us about ourselves?

    November 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  36. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    My Christmas spending will correlate with my annual income. Since I am making less, I will be spending less.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  37. george charles paree

    No jack because we have been buying presents all thought the year after I retried we began seeing live in a new light .I was sure I was going to be takening care of because 10.000 share of ford stocks .

    November 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  38. marlene

    There is no Christmas spending as I'm in the manger with the sheep and shepherds.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  39. Tom from Philly

    It will be the same as last year ZERO

    November 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  40. Julie in Tucson, AZ

    What no Christmas stimulus from the government to help bail out the stores? Guess I will have to be responsible and spend only the money in my pocket, which will cut down significantly my Christmas spending, since I can't borrow from China and don't own a money printing press.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  41. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, my Christmas spending won't be any different this year because I did not have a job last year at this time, either.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  42. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    What spending? Wake up, Jack. The American dream is dead.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  43. dick from indiana

    This year instead of giving presents I am making a donation to the local animal shelter. I can't think of a group that does more to help those that cannot help themselves.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  44. David of Alexandria

    Same gifts - I'm working, I don't have debt, I have affordable health insurance I can afford and I like. I will give more to charity, though, to help those less fortunate.

    I probably can't say the same thing in 2011, though, when my health care costs go up 30% under Obama Care, my money is confiscated to fund a war, and the tax burden becomes too crushing for my charity to make a difference.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  45. Jeff in Houston, Texas

    Severly cutting back. I told you it would take years to recover from the attrocities fo the Bush regime. But Obama will get blamed for it anyway.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  46. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    We will buy some food for the food pantry and send the kids a gift card for food. The grandkids will get a few clothes from Good Will and as for each other our gift is to give food to those in need.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  47. Shannon - Las Vegas, NV

    Cash only, not going into debt for Christmas. This will be a slim Christmas. Too bad government doesn't follow the same rules.

    November 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  48. Rob of Brooklyn

    with all the sales that are expected I'm sure I'll be spending less

    November 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  49. Nuria

    I'm buying very few gifts. Maybe 4 or 5 and telling most of my friends and family I just can't afford it this year. With the economy being as it is, my company is struggling and I need to save my money.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  50. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    Well, it looks like there is not a new and good Guitar Hero. That saves about a $100 bucks.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  51. moiraesfate

    It won't be. We're both working and the economy needs the kick, so we're also spending.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  52. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Climate Change is dramatically increasing the more than a billion people going hungry. I'm going to ask the boss if she would like to donate a Christmas present to Quaker Peace and Service in the name of a generous soul born into poverty Himself two thousand years ago.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  53. J W

    There won't be any spending at my house. The county property tax collector got the last of what I had.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  54. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    With three breadwinners in our family now out of work we will enjoy what the season really is all about – being together with the ones we love. Since the little ones do not understand, we will each put a gift under the tree on Christmas eve so that they don't think Santa is a grinch.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  55. A. Smith, Oregon

    Yes Jack, why should I pay 100% retail when I can buy the exact same item from a eBay auction for mere penny's on the dollar?

    People across the world are in survival mode Jack, and there's a lot of bargains that Goldman Sach's hasn't yet bought using his taxpayer provided tarp funds.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  56. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    In hard times we look in our souls and see the blessings we have; last year I was to lazy to put up a tree not this year. Life is like a pendulum, Jack, I hate to admit it but their more thinks in life than money

    November 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  57. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    The difference this year is that we will not be spending for Christmas.
    pablo
    Arlington Texas

    November 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  58. Heather

    This year, I've asked family to donate to charity rather than buy me anything. I don't need anything, but there are millions who do. We're also giving money and practical things like an auto club membership to the person with the unreliable car she can't afford to replace right now. It will be a minimalist but heartfelt Christmas.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  59. Dave , Munhall , Pa.

    It depends on what I can buy with Monopoly money,that's all I've got left !!!!!!!

    November 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  60. chuck b / coastal north carolina

    I'll spend a little more. The holidays are not about how much you spend anyway.... its about giving back to help your family,neighbor,and/or the families with less then us.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  61. William Joseph Miller, Los Angeles

    I don't spend much on Christmas because Christmas is a religious holiday. It is not a market-place commodity. I am fed up with the commercialization and the glorification of greed, selfishness, and materialism that Christmas now represents. Jesus had little use for money and told the rich man to "sell all you have and give to the poor." It's disgusting that we would make such a travesty over what's supposed to be Jesus' birthday. (albeit, there is no proof Jesus was born on December 25.)

    November 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  62. Chuck Jupiter, Fl.

    Jack: My spending this year will be less than $200.00. We are not going to spend the economy back. Wall Street will have to find another way to fill their pockets!

    November 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  63. Alex in Seattle

    I only got my wife something, on credit, since I am still unemployed.

    Jobless in Seattle

    November 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  64. Ricardo - Cypress, TX

    I will buy only one Christmas gift this year. A vacation package for my mother in law... to Afghanistan...

    November 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  65. Thom Richer

    Less than ever before. Due to rising costs of just about everything, especially the necessities of life. Contrary to the trumped up government reports that their is no inflation. Food, heating oil/gas, utilities, gasoline, are up and moving. New car prices are nuts and for the wealthy only. Higher education is increasing its cost by 30 % and more nearly every year. Health Care as it is, is for the elite. Billions of dollars a day are being wasted on wars that are unjustifiable and are in reality, Imperialistic. So, more money to the needs of life and less for the junk that we import from other countries because of our government's failure to ensure production of goods and jobs for its citizens. Boy, would a nation wide month of not spending except for the necessities of life and minimal spending on these, send a wake up call to Corporate America and our "Do nothing for the common folk" Congress, by the consumers of America. Why can't we realize how important it is to really be a "United States?" That it is the people who must be in control of government.? Not a handful of officials and greedy corporations.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    November 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  66. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    So far...I do not care about spending!

    November 24, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  67. Jeff - Ohio

    Bargain shopping, only going for the good deals and only spending cash. Buying now, while it is deflation, inflation is just around the corner.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  68. Mary in Florida

    My Christmas spending will be different this year in that there will be a lot less spending than in years past.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  69. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Less gifts and less gift exchanges, since the family is visiting elsewhere this year.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  70. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, sorry, I won't be participating in Christmas this year. Congress is getting ready to tax me into bankruptcy, next year and for years to come, and the only chance I have of surviving is to pull in my head, don't spend for anything except life's neccessities, and hope I can meet my basic bills. At least until the country wakes up and votes the Democrats out of power.

    November 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  71. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I have 4 daughters 12 grandchildren, one grandchild and one on the way. I have plenty to shop for but being on a fixed income not enough money to shop with. It seems every year to get harder to do. I would love to be able to light up their faces on Christmas morning with nice gifts. But our Christmas will have less gifts this year. It will still be full of love and laughter that is something you can't buy. When you stop and think of how many families' will be without a love one at the table because of the wars we are involved in an other families who lost their job and a table to even put food on you realize how fortunate your family is.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  72. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    My shopping has become alot easier. Thanks to a wonderful daughter-in-law,I'll sent her a check and she'll buy whatever we decide for the kids. I no longer have to wrap forever and pay shipping. They are 10 hours away so we go out to them after Christmas. Little children need to be home with their toys for the holiday. Many other friends and family have passed away so my list is shorter. I spend about the same as always only I do it in a smarter way and save myself work.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  73. MARK PRIBBLE Anna Illinois

    Not a whole lot, I don't have allot of people to buy for,most of my gifts will be food i will make at home and give as gifts. This type of giving means more i believe than store bought.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  74. Jay in Texas

    It will not be any different than in years past. I'll be buying my gifts about two days before Christmas, like always.
    Brownwood, Texas

    November 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  75. SCOTT ROSE --- PANAMA CITY, FL

    Christmas Spending - nonexistant

    Real soon you won't even be able to mention " Christmas "
    Politically incorrect - It might offend the Muslims and the president

    November 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Mike from Denver

    My family will be spending less on Christmas this year, but the net spending will be the same due to two weddings within a couple months.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  77. Loretta Cooney

    Gee Jack – what a completely biased question. Why didn't you cite some of the figures on the state of our health care system – the percentage rate of premium increase per year, the number of personal bankruptcies due to medical bills, the number of people without medical care... I could go on and on. Let's just say I know that some government intervention is needed.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  78. Jon from CA

    its called the internet. websites like amazon and ebay are going to be my shopping plans. their deals and sales are just as good or even better. not to mention the physical stress saved by not jamming and tackling other fellow shoppers. credit cards are a safe bet seeing as security is mandatory on shopping websites. by the way i finished all my shopping at the end of october. itll be on my doorstep 2 weeks before christmas.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  79. Linda in Arizona

    I don't pay any attention to Christmas. I couldn't care less. I haven't spent a dime on it for years, and I won't be spending anything this year either. Call me Scrooge, but it works for me.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  80. Peg from NY

    We will pay cash to rent a car to go visit family, pay cash for the gas, pay cash to board the dog. We have all chosen to forego gifts this year. We shall share expenses on food and drink~break bread with those near and dear and truly enjoy this Holiday for all the right reasons!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  81. Michael H. in Albuquerque,NM

    Not at all. I am still a Jew.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  82. Sharon

    We're spending less on us and giving more to charities to help those in need during these tough times.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  83. Sharon

    We're spending less on us and giving more to charities to help those in need. Atoka, TN

    November 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  84. Jen from SC

    Actually Jack, I think our spending is going up a lot this year. But instead of buying presents, we're going to make some memories and go to Florida!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  85. Independent Joe

    Jack,

    Unchanged! Just like our leaders.

    Independent Joe
    Minnesota

    November 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  86. Mona, Tulsa, OK

    My husband and I will be spending our cash (only, no credit cards) after Christmas, when the retailers will offer even more serious discounts...ho...ho...ho!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  87. Ross

    Big time change this year
    I am buying only one gift for my girl as opposed to the tens of gifts I normally buy for family and friends. I am also not going home for the holidays this year – first time ever.

    Sure would have been nice to have some Wall Street "bonus" money come my way. Perhaps in 2010 the Fed will loan me money at prime so I can invest in commodities and foreign markets to recapitalize my pocket book.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  88. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    Jack, we use a budget, we always have. Our family is not about how many gifts we get. Christmas giving is within reason.

    It is also the season for giving, the Food Banks need everyone's help. Let's bring back the spirit of Christmas by giving to those in need.

    Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  89. Clay

    You mean the White House isn't releasing a list of things that we should all be spending our money on? That's a first...although I'm sure they'd like to.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  90. JOhn, Albany NY

    All my shopping will be done online, or I'll just buy gift cards. I'm not dealing with the rude idiots and morons at the mall or walmart.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  91. Angie

    I will probably spend about the same as last year, but the items I will purchase will be things that last longer and can be used throughout the year such as bicycles, board games and skateboards rather than plastic toys and make up kits.

    Angie
    Colfax, California

    November 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  92. Mark

    NO I'm going like Obama Pelosi and going on a spending spree like no other Cafferty!!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  93. Julie

    I'll be spending more this year in retail stores because I wasn't able to find as much in resale stores or at garage sales this year. So, my kids will be just as spoiled.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  94. Graham, St. Joseph, MO

    I'm going to save money and buy gifts for the one person I love the most: myself.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  95. Jill

    I won't be spending period. I don't expect to get any presents, nor will I be giving any. I can *barely* get food on the table, much less think about gift giving or even buying a tree.

    Jill
    DC/MD/VA Metro Area

    November 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  96. John Steiner

    My wife and I are Arizona State employees. We were both hit with 15 day furloughs last spring. The fear of that happening again will keep of our wallets completely closed this season. Spending money just isn't the smart choice right now. Our holidays will be spent with family and friends and not in stores. That actually sound really good to me.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  97. George, Montrose,PA

    Jack, My wife and I have always made Christmas as festive as possible, filled with lots of presents[especially for the kids] and good food with family gathering. Many years it has taken until the following November to settle the debt and hoping no major expense comes up in the meantime. I have always thought that the true meaning of Christmas was far too lost in commercialism, so maybe this could be a chance to get back to back to just what Christmas is about. You know, the celebration of Christ and the breaking of bread and food with the ones who are close to you. I know that my kids will think that I've lost my mind.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  98. Jim H

    We will be Christmas shopping with cash only, even though the credit card companies raised our credit line, I have paid off our card balances. I'm not going to patronize the credit card companies, after they have been raising rates for others, that can't afford to pay off balances to get away from their high rates.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  99. Christina

    This year I plan on donating the money I would be spending on gifts to charities, particularly those that work to help rescue animals and groups that work to feed the homeless. Charities have been hit hard during this recession and can use all the help they can get.
    My friends and family will be receiving ornaments, purchased on websites benefitting charities, with handwritten cards detailing the additonal monetary donation and thoughts behind it.

    Christina
    Brooklyn, NY

    November 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  100. Tom Battin

    Jack – while you are running down all the supposed failures of government run programs...could you please at least include a list of the colossal business failures that disappeared people's money such as Enron, Bernie Madoff, WorldCom, IndyMac, Ford's Edsel, Washington Mutual, etc.? I think they've squander far more of their customer's dollars than the U.S. Government.
    Tom

    November 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  101. KARON NICHOLS

    Jack,
    I hate to sound like Scrooge but there is no Christmas at our household this year. With all the added interest rates to our credit cards which we have not used in over a year, there is not enough money to afford anything extra out of the budget. Banks have killed the economy along with health insurance and insurance needs, there is barely anything left for food and extras for the average American. Hope the big CEOs have a wonderful holiday season since most of us can not.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  102. linda

    Pensacola Florida – I don't know about everywhere else, but here there still is no recovery in sight. No jobs, no money, no food, no new clothes. Houses not selling all through the neighboorhoods. Crime is on the rise and the jails are filling up. I see an increase in drug use and gang activity here as well. Christams, thats a joke. How will I find food to put on the table and afford gas for the car? I am strapped and no help from the federal govt in sight – ha – how will we spend christamas? Probably hungry and depressed.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  103. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    saving money wherever I can–shopping online to take advantage of free shipping deals and not using my expensive gasoline to drive to malls.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  104. DaveNCA

    This year as in the past 4 years we will not be spending any $$$ on presents. We will be gathering for a nice breakfast and enjoying the day off, maybe at the beach if the weather's nice then a nice dinner.
    The big box stores will just have to do without me again this year.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  105. Olu

    Jack,

    Since there was no government bailout from this administration to help me out this year, I have decided to spend less this Christmas unless you – Jack send some charity along my way and God bless you in advance.

    -Olu.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  106. Cindy in North Carolina

    I won't be buying a lot of "stuff" this year. But I will be giving cash gifts
    so eventually my loved ones will buy "stuff" or pay bills. I am baking
    lots of cookies which will accompany the cash. Do you like cookies, Jack?

    November 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  107. Mike in Indiana

    The recession is temporary. Since we don't live paycheck to paycheck, we should spend the normal ammount, or even more to stimulate the economy.
    Profitable companies, that are cutting back, are hurting the rest of us, something that I call unAmerican.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  108. Debbie Perry

    Huntsville, Alabama
    I will be spending cash money on needs versus wants. I need a new oven, my husband needs tools for his job and my son has one more semester of college. It is actually freeing to realize that lessening the accumulation of "things" creates more time for God, Family, Church, Work and Friends.etc... .

    November 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  109. Maria

    I use cash for everything. If I don't have it, I don't buy it.
    Grandkids will take a cut in pay on their gift cards, and I've already done most of my reduced shopping this month. So that's it. in a smaller stocking!

    Maria

    Brunswick,MD

    November 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  110. Jim in Texas

    Everybody should use cash rather than credit cards, Jack. Every time you use a credit card you're adding about a 3% additional cost to the price of what you're buying. If everybody stopped using credit cards all the time, either prices would stay the same, but retailers would make about 3% more in profits, or prices could come down. Put the cards away people.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  111. Don Nelson

    Hey Jack:

    Being self employed means watching your expenses. For example, today I spent the entire day trying to resolve \a sevice issue on an appliance I bought thru a reputable retailer (HD) only to learn that when you require service, that is another issue. In todays economy, being a retailer means being grateful to those of us who shop with yo and to help us when needed. In this case, they failed. I may never buy another GE product again, given their terrible service, and probably never to use this retailer (HD) again.
    Stand by your product and do what is right, do not make it difficult to do business, I think this is where we have lost our way.

    A pissed off customer

    November 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  112. Machinist, Milwaukee WI

    I'll be spending about the same amount as last year.

    I made less money this year, but I planned ahead and saved what I could all year so that my family would still have a nice holiday.

    Wouldn't mind getting back to 40 hours a week, but blessed I'm not unemployed.

    So Santa if your listening, I wouldn't mind a little overtime in my stocking for next year.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  113. Rich

    Jack:

    I have been looking for an honest job since 1987. Therefore, my Christmas spending will be the same as other years – miniscule.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  114. Shawn, in Boston

    Jack,
    My wife and I have already completed our Christmas shopping for the year. We have opted not to exchange presents with each other, instead focusing on our daughter instead. Even though we both have steady employment, with good salaries, we are taking a frugal approach. Many of the items we bought her were purchased on sale or even from e-Bay. You can't be too careful anymore.

    Shawn
    Boston, MA

    November 24, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  115. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    i am on the same trend that is was on over the past five years, I will continue to spend far less!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  116. Vikki Ikard

    America has become obsessed with more. It is the little things that count and my spending will not be any different from previous years- I give gifts that are from the heart- which is priceless. Going overboard at Christmas defeats the true meaning of the holiday.

    Conover, North Carolina

    November 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  117. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    I'm going to charge it to a new charge card that I recieved in the mail.
    There is a notation on it that says "make no payments until the economy is at 100%.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  118. Ed

    My wife and I have decided to give money to one another to be applied to the second mortgage on our home. Not the most romantic idea, granted, but it appeals to both of us.

    Atlanta, Georgia

    November 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  119. B

    In our house Jack the only gifts that will be purchased will be for the Grandkids. It's time we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas..Remember the birth of Christ..Wake-up call..

    November 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  120. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Bah, humbug!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  121. Jim H

    We will be Christmas shopping with cash only, even though the credit card companies raised our credit line, I have paid off our card balances. I'm not going to patronize the credit card companies, after they have been raising rates for others, that can't afford to pay off balances to get away from their high rates. West Fargo, North Dakota

    November 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  122. Bob G in AZ

    Jack, Ho Ho Ho, with out employment everyday leading up to Christmas might as well be considered a black day. Does'nt look like I will be getting up that early to fight the crowd. Who needs it anyway. I know what we all could do. Let's try somthing different this year, no matter what it is try to "buy American Made items" Stimulate our own economy not the other countries. It is time we took better stock in what is made here. Don't out source Santa! Oh, I may buy a couple gift cards. To Sears!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  123. Jill

    It won't be different this year – I try to do as much advance shopping as possible, so much of it was done a lot earlier in the year. Next year (i.e., in the spring) I will be cutting back somewhat, as things have gotten a bit tighter since I did this year's shopping.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  124. Tom

    Let's face a wonderful reality...most of us in this great country don't NEED anything, but we sure are convinced to want a lot of things we don't really need.

    I'm going to keep it simple, and as close the the true spirit of Christmas (as I see it) as possible: half of my Christmas budget for a few tokens of love for those nearest and dearest, for the children in my life (nieces, nephews, God-children, etc.), and small gifts for work colleagues, and the other half of my Christmas budget, in the name of Him whose birthday we celebrate, to various charities...Toys for Tots, The Salvation Army, Heifer Project, Habitat for Humanity, local shelters and senior assistance programs, and my church's Christmas outreach effort for those needing assistance in my community.

    Merry Christmas to all!!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  125. Brian Wickremasinghe - Woodland Hills, CA.

    It won't be any different from last year. I will only buy what I need or what I can afford.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  126. Tom Mytoocents Ft Lauderdale Florida

    Jack

    I think we should rewrap our gifts we charged but never paid for from past years and give them again . After all they're still new if not paid for completely. The divorce rate will surely drop and people will be much better off.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  127. Big Al

    Won't be celebrating Christmas with gifts again this year. Simply don't want to spend the money after being laid off this time last year. So sorry for the retail stores pushing poor quality high-markup items. I'm sure there are plenty of families following suit. Anything worth having these days costs more than the typical gift budget in my circle. It's just easier not buying into the gift-giving phenomenon as very few people actually make enough money to survive debt-free in the first place.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  128. BigD Over the River & Thru the Woods, Mn

    Jack, Our Christmas Spending + Shopping will Satisfyingly be the Same as Always, Nil. We Believe in God + Even Believe in "Old St. Nick" a Little Too.
    But after"Waiting for Santa to Come Down the Chimney" is as Discouraging as "Waiting for the Republican, Molasses in January Trickle-Down Theory" Affect to Blow the Dust Off of Our MILLIONS Buried in the Back Yard. "Where Did We Bury that Money Honey?"

    November 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  129. RALPH BARNETT

    There won't be any Christmass spending for me. Christmas or no Christmas, the economy is to shaky and job security is unpredictable.
    No one should be taking chances. Including the government. (hint,hint)

    November 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  130. Jim in Alabama

    Fewer gifts, more on=line purchases rather than fighting crowds, and taking advantages of specials. Things are tough.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  131. Darren

    Probably just hunkering down a bit more, not seeing the end of the rainbow just yet for Bush's Great Recession.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  132. Jennifer

    Ugh! Christmas is the most stressful time of year. I have no choice but to spend as little as possible this year. I wish I could just hibernate from the day after Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas. Wake me up when it's over!

    November 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  133. Josh

    No real changes in x-mas spending this year. Thankfully my kids b-days are around x-mas, plus their not old enough too worry about x-mas yet. as for how i pay, cash for my family.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  134. Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX

    Friends and family have all indicated a desire to cut spending this year, so we have agreed to those wishes.

    That means less spending for others, but probably about the same for us.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  135. Scott Stodden

    I will be doing like the federal goverment should be doing developing an affordable budget and spend what I have to spend. No credit cards just debit cards or cash for me. I truly pray for this nation this holiday season as so many people are without jobs and nothing to eat.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    November 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  136. Iowa

    Glimmer of hope? Anyone who thinks retailers are going to post some miracle 4th quarter reports this year are deluded. If people are smart they will continue to save and just get the whole family together and share stories instead of pointless gifts that lose their value 5 minutes after opening them.

    Common Sense from Iowa,

    November 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  137. Ken Hansen

    My job takes me to shopping centers and stores constantly. I am glad that the media, that exists on the well being of the retail market due to advertising dollars, is so upbeat. I am afraid that the reality is quite different. Most retail outlets are reeling under huge losses and their daily sales figures easily reflect a 50% drop in sales volume. Upscale and solid middle class shopping malls in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, noted for its affluence in the worst of times are starting to have countless unoccupied stores in their midst. I am afraid that come post holiday Americans are going to find plenty of major store names in the company of GM....either bankrupt or closed.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  138. lisa

    We won't be spending that much this year. I really feel that the media is pressuring us to buy. I have 3 children but can't not tell you one thing that they need. Or house already looks like a toy store. I am asking them to cut back on their list of what they really want, and not list everything that they think they got to have. I can already tell that the christmas presents they had to have last year are stashed in a toy chest somewhere. And family they already buy what ever they want, and we just run around spending money on stuff they don't want. I will just enjoy the time together with family playing games, and maybe watching some old family movies. That's what christmas is about! Time with family...

    November 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  139. Paul

    How said that our entire lives depend on people spending money on stuff. Life isn't more interesting than that? No, I won't be going to the stores on Black Friday.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  140. Jackie in Dallas

    Seriously curtailed, Jack, because I just got laid off – again.

    So, how will your's be, Jack? Lots of food and presents? What about the millions who are suffering borderline starvation in this country, and their children, who don't even know what a present IS? You've got a good insurance plan, so I'll bet you are healthier than I, who hasn't had coverage in 10 years, and whose doctor (who devoted herself to family practice and keeping her rates low) just went out of business. How long has it been since you worried about keeping the roof over your head, Jack? Millions are facing foreclosure since the money from TARP and the stimulus package that was supposed to help them is tied up in the mortgage companies buying each other out, or in bureaucratic red tape.

    You have a nice ivory tower, there, Jack. Got room for a 59-year old, out-of-work, tax-paying woman and her cats?

    November 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  141. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    There won't be any this year.
    If people don't understand this, too bad. This year we plan on keeping Christ in Christmas and foregoing all of the commercial trappings.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  142. John

    Jack, my Christmas shopping will be the same as last year, NONE!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  143. Terri Heironimus

    This year, as last year, my family will continue a new Christmas tradition. Each family member picks a charity and we now donate to that charity in honor of that family member instead of buying more "stuff". And if I do want to get anyone a little special gift, it will be paid for with cash or debit card.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  144. Rusty - Hershey - an Economist

    Jack, I'm afraid much less!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  145. MT

    Ben B. thinks he can force Americans to either invest what litle money they have saved or spend it because of near 0% interest rate. I'm not buying anything this christmas nor investing. Americans are too suspect of the Fed and Wall street – the damage they have done will be far reaching.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  146. debbie b

    well Jack, spending less, quite frankly.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  147. Jeff Jacob

    This year, we actually are ridding ourselves of all but a few modest gifts for those closest to us. Instead, we're imploring ALL Friends and relatives to give up on the consumeristic lifestyle we have lived, and give that time and money to those who really need it most. Giving is truly the only way to achieve ultimate happiness, and shared sacrifice is the only way our business community will actually achieve sustainable success.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  148. ComplexNumbers

    Not spending a dime until American companies start hiring American workers. None of my children who have children of their own will be spending a dime.
    Its a game of economic chicken. American workers already know how to be 'poor'. I wonder if the elites can say the same.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  149. Terri Heironimus

    From Howard, Ohio
    This year, as last year, my family will continue a new Christmas tradition. Each family member picks a charity and we now donate to that charity in honor of that family member instead of buying more "stuff". And if I do want to get anyone a little special gift, it will be paid for with cash or debit card.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  150. Bob Grant

    Jack
    A little more conservative than last year. Never cared to be part of the Black Friday "crush" anyhow. Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  151. Adam

    I will probably spend as much this year as i have in the past 3 years for Christmas. I know my situation is probably far from what other peoples situations are. For the last three years I have been just over broke having just graduated from college, buying a car, buying a house, fixing the house, furnishing the house, etc. However, this year after good investments, paid off bills, and good budgeting it is time to spend some extra money. I am looking forward to a new computer after having the same laptop for the last 6 years. I may also splurge and get a PS3. I havent really bought any clothes in a couple of years either. Thats just the stuff for me...

    November 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  152. Silas Kain - Boston

    I'm only buying gifts from locally owned retailers this year and the gifts will be smaller, more thoghtful. Why spend it in places like WalMart or Target where the profits ultimately go to China? The best Christmas gift Americans can give to themselves is to start trading at local businesses - the TRUE heart of the American economy.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  153. Scott Keeble

    3 years ago, our family started rethinking how we celebrate Christmas. We realized that the best gifts we could give each other couldn't be found in stores. We've found WAY more meaning by making presents for each other. Our kids get a few "normal" gifts from grandparents, but they get so much more excited about the time we spent with them making something for someone else in the family. We've probably cut our Christmas spending by 85% over the last 3 years. A large portion of that, we now give away to charities that we support. For example, instead of trying to figure out a useful gift for my father in law (who doesn't need anything), we funded a clean water well in Malawi in his name. The best part is that the holidays are so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable. And we don't have a dollar of debt going into the new year.

    We are spending less.
    We are giving better gifts.
    And we are giving way more away.

    And Christmas has become more meaningful than it ever was before.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  154. Lori Coulson

    I will not be using a credit card for any purchases - trying to keep gifts under $20. Will not be buying a cut tree this year as the prices have risen so much for the type I like that getting an artificial tree will save money in the long run.

    When will the government realize that if they insist on a consumer-driven economy, that the consumers actually have to have money to spend?

    Lori, Columbus, Ohio

    November 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  155. Robert W.

    I always felt that credit cards were somehow evil. Getting what you want right now just doesn't seem natural. I will not be using those. I will look for layaway programs at stores and if I do not have the cash it ain't gonna happen. Sorry kids.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  156. Lucy

    The only way it will be different is I won't have to pay for travel home from college, because now I graduated and am living at home because I still can't find a job.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    November 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  157. Charlie

    I'm trying to decide what gifts to buy with my unemployment check jack.

    -Charlie in St. Louis, MO

    November 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  158. Amy NY

    It won't change. I don't spend more than I can afford, and never have.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  159. Nereida

    Jack – Christmas for me has been cancelled this year, unless I can find a job before December 25th.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  160. dan

    yes lots more cloathes and shoes. i hope the bankers spend all of the Bonuses they get because the economy is going to need all of their spending power.. all 100 of them..

    November 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  161. don in carson city, nv

    If we don't have it, we won't spend it.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  162. Ken in NC

    WOW. Christmas is still on for this year?

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING JACK.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  163. C.E. Family - Austin, TX

    We are giving creative gifts this year (DVD slideshows of family pictures that no one has), no store bought items.

    However, if I find any good sales–I'll be purchasing some gifts for me–via the internet. People are too crazy in the stores on Black Friday.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  164. John Texas

    Jack I have decided since America is so far in debt to China that I better start getting use to the Chinese Christmas traditions. The small number of Christians in China call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. They decorate a lot of windows with paper chains and candle lanterns. I am still having a hard time getting use to the taste of rice and cockroaches but if the Obama economy keeps going like it is I will have to eat it 3 times a day instead of just 2.
    Got to hand it to those democrats though, they sure can spend money.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  165. Kristin Webb

    My time is valuable and I'm not stupid enough to put up with the early hours, lack of merchandise and being jostled by rude, greedy people. We'll be doing most of our shopping online, it at all.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  166. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    This year won't be different Jack, the wife nags, the kids want everything and just like previous years if I want any peace and quite I will do as they tell me....

    November 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  167. Denizen Kate, San Jose CA

    I find it disgusting to consider Christmas in terms of how much we'll spend, and I'm not even a Christian. All these polls and percentages, indeed, this entire article, are a sad comentary on our society. Weren't we once a nation of producers? Am I the only one who is saddened by the words "consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy"? Christmas should be a time for being with family and other loved ones, cheering them with your love and feeling the warmth of theirs. In my family, we refer to it as "the retailer's holiday" and make every effort to avoid contributing. We do stocking stuffers only, with a $5 limit per item. You'd be surprised at how much fun that is!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  168. Rory Murray

    Jack!
    It's gonna be a lean Christmas this year, but that's OK! It beats going into more debt, just to have the latest gadget or toy that gets broken or discarded before New Years. It's just family, friends and home made presents this year. The days of excess are over.
    Now if we could just get our so-called "leaders" to realize that...
    Happy Thanksgiving Jack!
    Rory Murray San Bernardino, CA

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  169. Amy NY

    My Christmas spending will not change. I've never been in the business of supporting the broader economy by desumating my own accounts.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  170. Jeff

    Jack, we work off a (balanced) family budget and plan to spend the same this year as last year. The spending was planned; the money is saved and ready to go. We will not incur one cent of debt. Do you think politicians could ever learn to do the same?

    Jeff, Harrisburg, PA.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  171. Annie, Atlanta

    We won't be spending much. Our small business is struggling to hold on. But I'm happy those guys on Wall Street had a rewarding year. If only we were big enough to cause a global financial meltdown and then reap the rewards of a taxpayer bailout, we could actually buy a few presents.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  172. Bryant

    I will no longer use a credit card since they raised their interest rate for no reason. This means I will be spending less.and enjoying it more...

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  173. Dennis North Carolina

    same as last year or less. cannot spend what you do not have.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  174. Erik W

    I never understood Black Friday. Is it really worth hours and hours of waiting in line to save a few bucks? The great deals you find in stores are easily found online, sometimes even better deals!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  175. Esther Massillon Ohio

    I will not be buying any presents this year. I am going to be instead creating savings accounts for my neices and nefews this year. Teach them to save for their future. I am setting it up so they can not withdrawl the money until they are 18. I will add monthly a small amount and encourage them to match it. Encourage my Brother and Sister to do the same and add to this account. Teach them the value of money rather than buy a gift which they will out grow or break. I think it is a good idea and I would recomend it everyone to do this. Show the Retails that we are in control not them. And since most everything is made in China I am protesting to tell them if it is not American Made I do not want it. The Christmas of my childhood is better than what we have today. We would get a stocking filled with fruits and nuts and Candy. Two Gifts one a nightgown and slippers and then a small toy nothing fancy but then again nothing was fancy 45 years ago. Merry Christmas All but do it with in your budget.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  176. Christy

    We put together a Christmas Budget complete with the cost of stamps for cards factored in. We withdrew that amount from our savings in cash and decided to shop early in November for all our gifts and holiday needs. Now that the cash is spent and the presents wrapped we are done and don't need to worry about bills coming in after the holidays. This is our first offical 'debt free' holiday, having spent the last 18 months getting out of ALL our debt. The recession helped us curb our spending, focus on savings and now we are living with cash in the bank and all our needs met. Christmas will be even better this year because it is all paid for.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  177. Chris H.

    Black Friday has always been a big day for my family and I. However, this year, I'm a little scared to be out so early in the morning, as I have a feeling that more Americans will be willing to get up earlier to get a good deal, thanks to the recession upon us. This will certainly cause a problem in finding the good deal I saw in the paper, but also will make it harder for me to go to different stores, as longer lines will be more time spent in-store. The recession will not have any effect on my spending habits, because ultimately, I will still need to buy what needs to be bought for my friends in family. Hopefully, less spending money will be spent if I find some awesome deals, but in the long run, if I need to get an item, I will purchase it, regardless of the price.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  178. Anna

    There will be fewer presents under the tree this year. We are still in a rescession, I will be lucky if I can afford to keep the lights on the Christmas tree lit.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  179. Nick

    Jack,

    I won't be waiting until Christmas Eve to shop like I normally do, and will pay closer attention to bargains. Other than that I plan to shop as usual: buy what I feel my loved ones would like / could use, and park my car outside the local outlet shopping center on Black Friday to watch all of the madness... it's like going to the zoo, only free.

    -Nick, California.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  180. Patricia Vandeprol

    Nothing will change. Our kids live across the US. Every fall we check airline prices, add a couple of hundred bucks, and offer it to them for flights. The sooner they make their reservations, the more bucks in their pockets, wait too long, and they have to add cash. That's the gift we share. And inexpensive stocking gifts.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  181. Anthony Espostio

    Jack I haven't shopped for a Christmas gift in more than 40 years
    Although I did grow up in a home that celebrated Christmas,the nonsense that goes on in this country in the name of Chistmas is
    absurd.
    Everythng is about money and profit and nothing else.
    I stopped the silliness on Christmas Eve in the 1960's. I was in a large department store and I just stopped in my tracks and walked out the door. And never again shopped for a Christmas gift.
    Anthony Esposito
    Caldwell,NJ

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  182. Mike Sears

    Jack,
    All cash spending and no credit cards. If you can't afford to buy that gift and not be able to pay for it within 30 days, then don't buy it.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  183. Greg - Minneapolis

    With no paycheck coming in other than unemployment, my spending is in line with last year's spending, which was only for bills & rent. If the Democrats in Congress were really serious, they would pass meaningful legislation that would actually WORK, thereby ensuring grateful voters at the polls for the next election. But they would rather go for the "quick fix" in buying votes, rather than do the job they were elected to do. Time for a clean sweep come the next election, and every year until all incumbents are gone!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  184. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    It will be no different than any other holiday, shedding tears, finance is crippled, fatherless kids, and not enough presents.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  185. Sabrina from California

    Jack,
    My spending is curtailed this Christmas season. I finally got smart and did all my Christmas shopping already and its done. You find incredible sales if you do it before the "Black Friday" hype. There will be a few gifts under the tree, some that are wanted but mostly gifts that are needed. Other than that I won't be a victim to "Black Friday" and plan on spending that day drinking eggnog with the people I love, eating leftovers from Thanksgiving and creating lasting memories. That's what really counts and what everyone remembers anyway.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  186. David

    Thanks to 8 years of TOATL Neglect by GW Bush. it will take us at least 3 years to get even. I am gainfully employed and this Christmas will be like all the rest. For that, I am Thankful!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  187. zoe

    what spending???

    November 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  188. james in anaheim california

    Our family has had to sacrifice alot this year due to the economy and it unfortunately will have to continue. Most of my spending will probably be done online so as to avoid long lines and the unruly patrons that look for the obligatory "perfect parking spot upfront". The people of the United States have persevered through the tough 1930's and who's to say that we as a nation can't get thru it again.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  189. Spirit

    Spending only on people closest to me. Not spending a whole lot of money on things people cannot use buying gifts I know people will use instead of regifting what I gice them.

    Spirit
    Canada

    November 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  190. Jeffrey D. Melagrano

    Its great that Americans will use money they have and not debt. The drunken spending spree is over. Why can't the Federal Government learn this lesson, 300. million pay out to get a vote on a totally debt financed healthcare plan?

    November 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  191. Debtfree

    My husband and I have agreed to spend only $200 per person this year. We only buy for each other. Even though we are charging (get the reward points, buying on line and pay off each month), we are not spending the $600 we spent on each other last year. So, our budget is less than half of what it was last year.

    The good news is that next spring we will be down to one credit card and the interest rate is $3.99%.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  192. Loren, Chicago

    No different, same job, same income, same responsibilities, same risks. Oh wait, heavier tax bruden. Thank you Uncle Sam, and State and local taxes, less to spend this year.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  193. Dale

    90% of us will be paying in cash and buying 50% less until the credit card interest rates are reduced to 10%.

    Missed Health care Question. For 25 years after losing my job I still can not get health care and MUST use state medicaid. H... Yes its time for a National Health care option and banning insurance co's from using the pre existing condition excuse. Thanks for your time.
    P.S. I don't like Big Brother but in this case I will Vote, Contribute, and campaign against those who DO NOT VOTE FOR IT.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  194. Melissa

    It won't be. We are both working. We've kept up with our bills. We deserve a nice Christmas.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  195. Jim Miller

    We will definately spend less than 2008! We have money and jobs but outlook is VERY uncertain in US Economy. We are pace for $2 + Trillion in deficit without Healthcare reform or Cap and Trade. Put off spending increases and apply tax increases to deficit.

    If a certain Senator from LA really got several hundred million for her vote let's concentrate a term limits and spending decreases. The US is heading for a TRAIN WRECK if we do not control spending, so I'll start with my personal spending. Most business owners that I speak with, have the same thoughts related to 2010 capital spending and hiring.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  196. marcia

    less spending for me!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  197. Tara

    I am buying one gift for each of my children with a price limit and that is it and I can barely afford that. They should be grateful that I can pay for their insurance (private plans) because my employer does not supply health insurance or any benefits for that matter, and I work two jobs in the same hospital, sometimes 50-80 hrs a week.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  198. don in carson city, nv

    I just read John texas' comment.
    Please rremember that this is not Obama's economy. It started, as far as I can remember, between 1981 and 1989 in the Reagan administration. It was called "Reaganomics" and the "trickle down theory". It came to a head during the george w bush years, when lending institution limits were not only relaxed, but almost completely done away with. The "Obama economy" has made some mistakes, such as not overseeing the distribution of bail out money, and having the bail out in the first place, rather than allowing the REPUBLICAN theory based economy to collapse.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  199. Esther Massillon Ohio

    Jesus isn't shopping for his birthday so I won't be either

    November 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  200. John

    I must notify family there will be no presents this year, only well wishes. I'm broke, but at least I have my health.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  201. Jim - Michigan

    Jack,

    It will make Scrooge proud. I have ajob, but I fear that with the spending frenzy this government is on I might not have one very long. Jack, please tell me, is the solution to every problem in this country truly more money? Are we destined to a future of officially recognized victims? Are our best days behind us? Are truly entitled to everything and no longer expected to work for it? Let me know because my neighbor has more than me and if I am entitled to what he has I would like to go grab it before he gets home.

    Redistribution of wealth or redistribution of poverty? My guess is the latter.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  202. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Jack:

    Are you paying attention to the news?...the signs are that the recession is over and therefore is not a Christmas shopping factor.
    As for me shopping will be unchanged from last year. I will not shop.
    However, my wife will more than make up for both of us as status of the recession is as much a factor to her spending as is the barometric pressure and I hear that is going down for the holidays !
    I got trouble right here in river city.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  203. Jenny Marshall

    Christmas is going to be a lot leaner for my family this year, Jack. My father passed away this year, and it's just not in our hearts or our budgets to race out to the stores and spend money on frivolous gifts for everyone. Instead, we're opting to spend time with loved ones, eat a nice meal together and enjoy the time off of work. We have 364 other days in the year that we can go out and buy a nice trinket for one another– why pressure ourselves to overload it all in one day?

    November 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  204. Ross

    What happened to my post – was it not PC enough

    All I want for Christmas is to become a holding bank, like Goldman Sachs did, and fain the ability to borrow at Prime Rate so I can make some Wall Street size bonus money. Then I will spend like the Dickens.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  205. EPI

    You know I've been saving here and there, and this year I plan to spend some of it and help out the economy.Money comes in and you have to let some of it go back out and it can be alot of fun buying
    gifts for relatives and friends when you know how to budget your self, everyone loves to receive a gift. So go and purchase some gifts and
    stop being a wet blanket.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  206. Jay

    Same as last only for really close friends and make phone calls to family members.

    Family would rather hear from you than have a gift which they most likely will return and have to waste their time return.

    The nightmare of christmas rush is non-sense.

    Giving to the local food bank for the familes in need.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  207. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    Millions of Americans will have to do less for their families this season unless, of course, the folks on Wall Street turn Robin Hood and share some of the loot they robbed with the rest of us. The stock market is soaring and the "Masters of the Universe" are making billions. Most folks have overlooked the direct correlation between unemployment and the market. Corporations lay off/fire millions and cut payrolls increasing their "bottom line" and up goes the stock. The CEO and his/her pals get big bonuses and the remaining workers work harder to protect their jobs. My God we are caught in a Dickens' story. Soon we will hear the boys on the street say "...are there no workhouses..."

    November 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  208. liz

    Few gifts, less expensive gifts, all cash.

    The fact is that the things we all need are too expensive for our gift giving "circle" and none of us needs more stuff. No one is going to miss what they aren't getting. This year my siblings and I drew names out of a hat. Instead of buying for all, we are each buying for one.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  209. Anon

    I am not wealthy, but have everything that I need in material goods. 10 years ago, I asked family not to give me presents for birthdays and Christmases, and told them I won't be giving any presents to them. WE are all adults, no children in the family, so we don't need any more junk in the house. I have too much clutter as it is and I am fighting consumerism and materialism by not giving or requiring gifts. I would make an exception for children (one toy per child), but we have no children in my family.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  210. Deb Varese

    Me?
    I am gonna get up, get my paper, read it, sip my coffee and let all thoes NUTS, get up at five to shop to do what?? save a few bucks that I can save when I go into the store on Tuesday.
    I dont advocate stores being open on a National Holiday.....That to me is pure GREED, but heck what do I know at 61??. I know alot.....more than one would want to give me credit for......but hey my dime is my dime.....and my dime isnt going to shopping on Black Friday.....there is a reason they call it BLACK..........Not RED.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  211. KC - Oregon

    Well since I was laid off christams will be cut by about 90% this year if I don't have a gift purchased yet it wont be purchased.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  212. JB

    My spending will be a lot different because unemployed people do not have the income to buy ( not to mention food, health care, etc. etc.)!
    Last year we spent around $600.00, this year will be zero! Having said that, we will have plenty of quality time together as a family, and get to enjoy the true meaning of the holiday, which is Christmas for us!
    And believe it or not, we still have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  213. Susan

    Jack,

    I'm doing something I should have done years ago. Fly to NY to visit relatives I have not seen in 35 years and 46 years respectively.

    We are all super jazzed about it and can't wait. What an incredible gift to give each other!

    Yeah, it's money I don't normally spend. But I don't have any debt and don't spend a lot anyway.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  214. Jill

    Technically I will be spending more because I got married this year and now have to buy gifts for new nieces and nephews. But I do plan to spend less overall. I make the same amount of money now as I did a year ago (and a lot more than in years before that – I was in college then) but throughout all this financial crisis I've put a lot more thought into long term goals and it makes more sense for us to put our money toward paying off debt than toward gifts people don't need. My husband and I will be limiting what we buy each other and will buy thoughtful gifts for the rest of the close family that should not cost much. We are also buying gifts for two needy children.

    I do plan to shop on Friday but not so much for gifts. I need a new hat for winter and we would like some lights to put up outside our new house to celebrate the holidays. I am hoping the prices will be lower Friday because of the sales, but those are things we would have to buy regardless.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  215. Robert

    My spending will definitely go down because

    Grocery prices have gone up. Taxes have gone up. Insurance has gone up. My 401k has gone down. But Obama says that the cost of living has not gone up and there will be no increase to my Social Security for atleast 2 years. I am not sure what country he was thinking of when he signed that into law,

    November 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  216. bill

    I plan on spending more this year than last year. Last year was asture but this year I will spend 25 percent more

    November 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  217. Nicole from Iowa

    I am cutting back this year. Luckily, I'm not making less than last year, but due to medical bills and a newer car I have more debt. No gifts for the nieces and nephews and for others, I've been using swapping websites to save money. I also bake goodies for gifts. Being thrifty is prized in my family and I'm just carrying on the tradition.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  218. jane

    I live in calif. we are not spending this year .School tuition has gone up and that is going to be hard to deal with so we will wait until the economy gets better before we spend any more than necessary we are going to spend only on what we need

    November 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  219. Tracey

    Cash only.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  220. SCOTT

    only half of my last three or four paychecks before Xmas. Instead of the
    normal 3/4, and ill only be able to afford to float a couple bills til january instead of the normal most of the bills. But hey, its all about Xmas spirit isn't it ?

    November 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  221. Randy from Indiana

    My spending will be about the same. I just hand the
    wife some cash and let her handle it. No malls or
    shopping for me while the flu season is in full swing.
    Didn't we always hear to avoid crowds when so many
    people are sick.
    Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  222. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Not a lot, being retired my income is fixed with only a cost of living changing it.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  223. Hawaii

    I'm doing the same thing I've done in the past few years. Since we live far away from our family, I'm making photobooks online so we can share with our families what we have been doing during the past year.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  224. Andrew

    I am looking forward to spending more time outdoors.Thanks for asking.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  225. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    No Jack. No job, no money, no christmas.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  226. Jeff from Chicago

    The bad news is the value of my house is down about 15-20%, my ira is also down, and the company I work for is in bankruptcy. The good news is I have no credit card debt and haven't for the pass 15 years, my house is my home and not an ATM and will be paid off in 6 months and I still have a job. I only live once so I'll do what I do every Christmas and spend about the same amount on gifts for my family and give an equal amount to charities.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  227. Terry - Brownsburg, Indiana

    We will spend very little this holiday season. In the past, we could plan to pay off the credit card charges over the next two or three months. Now, with the banks getting 20% to 30% on the unpaid balance, there is no way we will pay into a system that pays out millions in bonuses, just for fleecing the public.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  228. Bruce - Delaware

    Am planning to celebrate spirituality – not commercial institutionalized psychotic material buying. Am done with institutionalized religion.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  229. MJ

    Jack, I am amazed... at the continual bad attitudes of Americans. I have had multiple job opportunities within the past months. I have settled in on one and am making a new career. The trouble with us as Americans is that we have become to good to work a entry level job. There are plenty of jobs out there to be had if we would not turn our nose up to working a retail job, restaraunt job, or any other job... instead we all sit back and wait for the government to assist. This is a sad case that we have lost our American ideals for strong work and have given it all back in for the sake of someone to take care of our every needs. There was a system like this once and we worked tirelessly to defeat it... it was called communism. Come on American's lets buck up and make it through this instead of waiting on someone to help us back up... lets stand up and dust ourself off. We are quick to point the finger at someone else and all the while 4 fingers are pointing right back at us.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  230. Justin Nuthergeye

    What are you nutz?!?!?!

    I know hundreds of people and do you know what they all – I mean all – say? We're cuttin' back this year. Not a single one has said they will spend more. I suspect that is because all of those peoples situations are worse this year than they were last year. They also say:
    1) I didn't get a raise last year and
    2) I am not going to get a raise next year and
    3) I am trying to pay down my credit cards or
    4) Woo Hoo! I paid them all off and ain't gonna use them no more!

    What I will do is to focus more on what we mean to each other than what we buy for each other. That's a better gift than any of the material
    things we can buy.

    Merry Christmas!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  231. Donovan

    Christmas has gotten out of control. You are expected to buy buy buy and you can't even say Merry Christmas anymore.
    The best things in life are not things.

    November 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  232. Chris in New Mexico

    Instead of exchanging gifts this year, we will donate money to a local charity. All the neighborhood and family agreed that this is a good idea. Will spend about 75 percent of what we did last year. We are on fixed income and did not get a COLA for 2010, even though insurance went up, and, locally, groceries are up by about 20% – you know what gasoline is doing compared to last year!

    November 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  233. Antona

    Family, we have always celebrated family and have cut down what we purchase since 2003. Our youngest daughter has a birthday in December so we will be honoring her with experiences all month with friends. We've asked for presents to be for a little girl our family is adopting. We are also adopting a couple kids at their elementary school and giving them gift cards. Lastly, we plan to buy local for small things (grandkids in January) and purchase on family gift like a flat screen LED tv (cheaper this year) or a Wii (plenty available this year). It is about family, in the end, this is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

    Kirkwood MO (suburb of St. Louis)

    November 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm |