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In light of the economy, how will your holiday season be different this year?
November 30th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

In light of the economy, how will your holiday season be different this year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A Merry Christmas may be harder to come by this holiday season for millions of Americans in light of the slumping economy.

A new CBS News poll shows one in two Americans are concerned they won't be able to afford the holiday gifts they would like to buy.

One-third say they're feeling more stress about holiday spending this year than they have in years past.

And overall, 4 in 10 people say they plan to spend less money on gifts this year than last.

For sure, the holidays are about much more than gift-giving, but how's this for a sign of the times:

Santa Clauses are learning how to lower children's expectations when it comes to their wish lists.

The New York Times has a terrific piece on a well-known Michigan school for Santa Clauses.

The Santas talk about how they size up a family's finances and then try to scale back the child's gift requests.

They talk of parents standing off to the side and shaking their heads no - while the kids sit on their laps asking for expensive toys.

One Santa says the bottom line is to "never promise anything," while others tell the children about slower toy production at the North Pole - or that Santa rarely brings everything on a list.

These Santas are also learning how to answer a question they're hearing more often this days: Can you bring my Mom or Dad a job?

Other children's expectations are running smack into today's economic reality. One boy recently asked a Santa for only one thing - a pair of sneakers that fit.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the economy, how will your holiday season be different this year?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Economy • Holidays
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Dylan from Oklahoma City

    My holiday season will be better, I believe. Gifts that are inexspensive require greater creativity and thoughtfulness. Which in my opinion makes for much better gifts.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  2. Alex

    Jack, I expect that the amount of spending I do for my family and friends will remain the same, but when I am asked what I want for the holidays, I find myself asking for more practical things than in the past...instead of a new cell phone, I want the breaks on my car done...etc.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  3. Barbara in Sherman Oaks, CA

    I am a Christmas maniac, Jack; have been for years. Funny thing, though, even as Christmas marketing works its way into stores earlier each year, the best feelings of Christmas come for me, at least, when I hear "It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Year" or "I Wish it Could Be Christmas Forever"–the spirit of the season is free, and the REAL "reason for the season" is eternal, so in that regard, at least, Christmas is never "any different" for me; it is MERRY every year. Beyond that, though, I find the older I get, the more it's about the memories of Christmases past that are the best of the season...those things are always true, regardless of an economy.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Larry -Denver

    Here's a recap of holiday spending eating etc. Thanksgiving was spent without travel. Small family gathering, used to be 20, was 4. No Holiday travel, thats out. Gifts? family decided to limit gifts to one per person, a budget set on spending limits. One night out for a family movie (discount coupons). Use all the groupons etc for specials on food, or entertainment. No car rides for visits or parties. We estimate we will save over 40% on what was spent one year ago. After holiday sales? probably not. Ho Ho ho, I dont think so.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  5. SewFreakie

    No money – Christmas will still be celebrated, but without the food or presents. No jobs, both of us laid off at age 59, now approaching 61, no jobs. Average of 50 applications for jobs a week. No jobs. A year before being laid off major medical ate our savings and investments. No help, no hope. Unemployment expiring. Every day reality will infuse Christmas with disdain for our politicians who refuse to see the misery of unemployment. Not much hope, unemployment expires in December, homeless in January. Mean politicians stating it's our fault????? No help, no hope. Merry Christmas.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Jk from Minnesota

    No at all. Thankfully I have not been affected by the economy and neither has the area of the country I live in. I will do the same thing I've done since 1999 when my father passed away. My mother hasn't had a lot of money since my father passed away, so our family made a decision at that time not to exchange gifts so she didn't feel obligated to spend money she could afford to. My brother has been unemployed for a number of years and can't afford to buy gifts either, so I give both of them gift certificates to stores they do their shopping to help them out.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  7. Russ in PA

    Little difference for me, as government worldwide appear willing to solve their solvency issues with more debt, making the money I have worth less. I'll keep my hands on it as long as I can.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    November 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Loren

    Spend, spend, spend. I may have worries whether my company can survive this downturn, but hoarding money isn't going to help the economy, so I'm singing "Let Me Spend, Let Me Spend, Let Me Spend".

    November 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  9. mycroft lake travis texas

    Jack, In answer to your question. The misery will continue in stereo, unless perhaps, I can win the Lottery and even afford to protest along side the 99% ers. Mind you the economy where I live has been bad ever since Bush took office. If your wondering what I'd ask Santa for Christmas, It would be the Justice Department beginning to investigate all the White Collar Crime and start prosecution of the War Criminals that are still at large in our country. Oh and if Big Oil would stop advertising every few minutes on TV, about how great they are and instead use all that advertising money to lower prices at the pumps would be nice. None of us are buying into their malarkey anyway, even though we've been saturated with their bull for months. As my folks used to say, " It's going to be another slim Christmas kids".

    November 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  10. Jayne in NH

    It won't be different at all. We've never bought into the commercialization of Christmas and prefer to give thanks for what we have rather than for the outsourced trinkets that have killed American jobs.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    I can't afford to get something for everybody, so I'm donating to the president's election campaign and you all will receive a time-release present through the next four years.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  12. Ken in Victoria BC

    The holiday season is fast approaching. Being retired and living in Canada, I will not be effected. I wishes the best to all Canadians and Americans that are not as fortunate.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  13. jen-seattle

    I am eating Alaska Wildcaught seafood and boycotting the vaccine induced turkey . and i wont be buying anything from china ,since they use our shopping money to make and build and steal weapons of mass destruction while thier people live continuously in the 3rd world under a commmunist regime..Obama's best friend in economics..

    November 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  14. Paul From Austin Texas

    We will have to make due with what we have. What we have is less so be happy wilh less and less to all.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Ed from MD

    More like Jesus who didn't need a whole lot of stuff...

    November 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  16. Ted

    The uncertainty will make my family closer but the Christmas Tree a little bare this season. I know that we will be giving to those less fortunate this season more than in the past, I hope that we can make a difference in their lives.

    God Bless you Jack!

    November 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  17. Peg from NY

    We are using what we have and not buying fresh wreaths, garlands, etc. for outdoor decor. We will not be traveling to see family. We purchased one gift for my Mother and that is it. We are not exchanging gifts. Instead, we are spending what we do have on home repairs and maintenance. We will give any extras to the food pantry. No matter the economy, it is the spirit of the season that is most important. We work at remembering that every day of the year.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  18. Gary H. Boyd

    Actually, being a One Percenter, we're fine. Our oldest son is buying his first new car. Next oldest is taking his family on an overdue vaction and our youngest son is buying a house. The wife and I will be taking a cruise. Happy Holidays Jack.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    November 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Lou, Fayetteville, NC

    My Christmas will be what it has always been but a lot of my friends will have a different Christmas.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Bill of New Mexico

    After the economic disaster of 2008, we shut Christmas down except for Christmas cards.

    In 2010, we shut Christmas cards down.

    We are hunkered down for the world's economic mess.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  21. Andres Saenz(Tempe, AZ)

    I'll just buy the cheapest presents I can find. It's the thought that counts anyways, right?

    November 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  22. lou

    Oh look, another 'the sky is falling' poor american people story. Over 90% of americans are working. Black Friday sales set records this year. But you wouldn't know it from the doom and gloom media. The best gift we can all give ourselves this year is to turn off cable news for a while. Instant Peace on Earth.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  23. Karl in Flint

    I cut back on Christmas when I retired. I give everyone a card with cash in it and a note saying to buy themselves something nice or put it toward something nicer. I call it the universal gift certificate. With 3 married children, 8 grandchildren, 4 of them married and 8, going on 9 by Christmas, great grands, it became a necessity. Everyone can get what they want without having to stand in line to exchange what they got. I rest my case.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  24. Kenneth in California

    My Christmas stocking has a hole in it, so it may not hold the lump of coal.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  25. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Instead of buying lots of gifts nobody really needs for all the family members each family member picks the name of a disadvantaged child from the Christmas Tree at the mall and buys a gift for that child. That way we each have only one gift to purchase.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    My heart sank a bit when I read about the boy who only wants a pair of sneakers that fit. I hope he gets what he asked Santa for. Me, I'm not even thinking of the holiday season. Too many other things to worry about right now.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  27. Brad, Portland, OR

    If the Republicans get the Bush tax cuts renewed for the wealthy (i.e. "the job creators"), but refuse to renew the payroll tax holiday for the middle class and poor, then the Republicans have promised us a vigorous economy and a rising tide that will lift all boats.

    Paradise on earth will be at hand, thanks to the job creators.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  28. Rick McDaniel

    The extended family agreed that gifts would be limited to the small kids, and the adults would simply not exchange gifts at all.

    That leaves us free to send something if we want to, but no one is obligated to reciprocate.

    For us, that means we gave 1 each of 3 gifts, to the little ones, will give nothing to each other, will expect none from anyone else, and will send some small things to a couple of relatives, above our agreement. We will also do some
    small things for best friends. That's it for this year.

    The smallest Xmas we have ever done.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  29. Name*Paul of Dayton, OH

    Jack, this year my Christmas holiday yard display will include a GOP campaign sign prominently and proudly displayed

    November 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  30. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    I was temping last year, I'm unemployed this year. Not a lot of travel to Tahiti, or even Texas, going on in either case, Jack. Less people will get presents but more people will give us presents. That's what Christmas is really about. Two years ago at Christmas, I was recovering from an adrenalectomy performed by a doctor in the US Uniformed Public Health Service at NIH, watching the Health Care votes in the Senate. The surgery was at no cost to me or my insurance company. Ironic, eh? This year, its all bonus. Its not all about the money.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  31. Doug Ericson

    Make it to January 2nd is my goal every year, beginning Thanksgiving. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  32. Dave, Orlando, FL

    While I am fortunate (so far) in that I can handle the modest requests made of Santa, if I watch the pennies, there will be a difference this year. In light of everything in the preface to your question, I will be saddened that so many tens of thousands will not be able to celebrate the holidays, if they can at all, as my family will be able to. But worse, is that when it is time to vote for the imbeciles who enabled most of this, we will have a choice between an inept fool who thinks giving the farm away to Republicans is the answer, and a Republican who will promise to take the farm away.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Happy Holidays Jack. We practice being grateful everyday and try to share it with others. Thus, Christmas is every day and we try to celebrate in the spirt of love and service. We may complain about politicians but in all reality we still live in the best country in the world.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  34. Dave - Phx

    My holiday will be no different as I am still employed. I feel sorry for all the folks who have become victims of layoffs and corporate greed. I feel even more sorry for the 1% who are putting them there. If they truly believe in god they are going to have a huge surpirse at the pearly gates.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  35. Dan K.

    Our Christmas holiday around this house will not change much due to the economy. We plan to spend maybe a little less than normal this year. In our house though, gifts are not the essence of Christmas. It’s the thought of what Christmas stands for, and yes, we do still say “Merry Christmas”.

    Dan K. Owens Cross Roads , Al

    November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  36. LA Belle

    Santa is not the only problem. With the cost of living about the reach the clouds and the threat of less income taking most people right off the cliff, we have politicians that can't decide how to steal more from the middle-class taxpayers. We are paying salaries to a bunch of deadheads that only pretend to care. Bet they won't let this country's problems get in their way for the holidays. The maggots will probably take off the next two months from their duties to celebrate with their corporate constituents and their wealthy buddies. Everyone needs to send them a shot of truth serum for X-mas.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  37. jered in Utah

    Definately not participating this year, and that sucks

    November 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  38. Rick, Medina, OH

    Jack,

    We've never been extravagant at holiday times ... our kids got everything they needed, and some of what they wanted. We also taught them to give a bit each year too, reminding them other kids sometimes have real concerns that they never experienced. My now adult kids have continued that tradition ... the current economy has proven to them that only a fool splurges during 'good times.'

    Rick,
    Medina, OH

    November 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  39. Greg in Arkansas

    Having spent the last two Christmas (2009 and 2010) looking for work after being down-sized, I will be celebrating by working the holidays this year. 14 months of job-searching and financial insecurity gave me fresh insight to realize that the best "things" in life are not "things"...and that health, happiness and peace of mind are gifts that cannot be purchased at a retail store.

    My long stretch of un-employment was a life lesson to me, my kids and grand-kids that true happiness is having most of what you need and some of what you want and being able to tell the difference between the two...

    November 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  40. chris

    the difference is knowing we got only one more year till obama is out that would be a good present for america

    November 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  41. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    the Mrs and I will just have to tell our relatives "The Republican (Gin)Grinch Stole Christmas" and Willard the Wall Street Rat outsourced all of Santa's work to Communist China.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  42. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Jack I will spend Christmas like last year. With the high cost of food and gasoline I have no choice. I have four daughters, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. My family keeps getting bigger and the means to buy them Christmas gifts gets smaller. I feel like I am living back in the days of the Christmas Carol novel where you have the wealthy and the poor.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  43. Brandon

    Brandon from Atlanta,Ga

    I personally think Christmas is so overrated. It is truely about spending time with your family and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. America has however brainwashed everyone into thinking that everyone must receive a gift so instead of family time, they spend it in long lines buying a million gifts for their children that they will only play with for a month. Many of these foolish individuals go into debt as a result. Wake up America!!

    November 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  44. Joe Ft Walton Bch Fl

    I celebrate Christmas when its time for me to buy gifts not when Chrstmas is here. I than can afford what I need to buy.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  45. David in Mississippi

    We cut back years ago when it all got out of hand. It is so much calmer now that the pressure is off to keep up . Do it once and you will never go back to spending on gifts that are not needed and soon forgoten.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  46. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    If I had a nickle to spend I would be sure none of it went to New York, DC or China. No Casino Bankers either

    November 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  47. Rex in Portland, OR

    'Way up north here in Portland we are not worried.

    Santa's second stop, just after Seattle, usually fares well on Christmas eve, and since Seattle has been a bad boy this year we should do even better in the loot department.

    I personally am expecting the new Mercedes I have asked for every Christmas since 1966. My children expect less, but they are used to it by now. The Occupy Portland group will not fare well because the police have blacklisted them, and Santa is nothing else if not a believer in the 1%. As for the poor 99% here in PDX (as we locals call Portland), they are on their own as usual and Santa just doesn't care – in any event he hasn't room enough in his sleigh.

    I do, however, wish a Merry Christmas to all of you 99%ers who can't afford anything. Sorry, but we just can't help you. It is a matter of personal responsibility and pride.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  48. Andre R. Newcomb

    I won't be eating bread and changing clothes.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  49. Annie, Atlanta

    My youngest and I will be packing up our apartment, storing whatever we can't sell, and will be homeless by the first of the year.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  50. Ron WPAFB

    We are Blessed, Jack. I guess that's the religious definition of picked jobs that the future needs! It is that simple. And we sold our house in March before our Military Move and made money! We are traveling to see the grandkids and watch them have fun! I know that sounds a bit boasters but you asked. We are out of debt and pay everything off monthly so life is good. Doesn't mean, I sit on my rear and breath it all in! No, I am neck deep of writing and calling Washington. The President, Congress especially. I am damn tired of the politics that you and the Congress play!

    You act like the President has ruined the US. Short memories I guess over there inTV land. At times you act like you don't even remember how we got here and everything the President has tried to do that Boehner and McConnell have refused to pass. Millions could be working now and all of it paid for. But the Republicans are specifically refusing to pass anything Obama or Democrat, just to lie about it in the next election!!!! Really, are you guys that blinded by the Republican Propaganda? DO you want four more years of Tax breaks for the Top 1 % paid for by the working class with no Health Care, no Social Security and Medicare, DO YOU. It sure sound like it Jack! Merry Christmas!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  51. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    As I grow older the greatest gift I can give to my grandchildren is the feeling and understanding that I have that allows me not only to love life but also to love the fact I've been given life.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  52. ken, atlantic city, nj

    It won't be any different . It's all about people buying chinese made crap they don't need. There is no joy, love or peace .

    November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  53. pierreglenn

    Jack the Christmas Holidays hve been stressing to middle n low income for yrs. including elderly... we jst pray an get buy. IT was nt this president ....we been struggling for years. The question is to wealthy how are there christmas going too be. Jack we jst keep struggling n praying...we are one suffering cause Washington Politicans ask them how there Christmas. Pierre Glenn from Columbia Mo.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  54. Pat in Michigan

    I'll be giving my family the love they deserve not the presents they want .Love Lasts longer

    November 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  55. Dan in Albuquerque

    Not much different. We are not doing well, like most people, but we focus on the grandchildren as usual. We will not alter that much.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  56. Mark....in Houston

    Ok, so I guess the question doesn't include the wave of humanity resembling pigs heading to a troth who stormed stores, got into fist fights, pepper sprayed one another and incidentally spent over 50 billion on Christmas gifts...in this bad economy.

    For my wife and I...we're doing the same old thing we always do...a couple of gifts for each other and our Old English Sheepdog , visiting with relatives and having a really good day. The dog gets more than either of us. Oh and when the mail starts arriving in January...there wont be any Xmas related bills.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  57. Eugene

    It will suck this year.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  58. Dennis north carolina

    Merry does not mean you have to spend a great amount of money. It is the thought behind the presents and being with your love ones and family. so have a merry christmas and happy new year, Jack.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  59. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    We're going to light our Chanukah candles and bet on which one lasts the longest each night like we do every year.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  60. Ros.....Illinois

    I save all year for Christmas, having 3 children and their spouses, 7 grandchildren & 3 spouses and 2 great grandchildren. We will get together for dinner and a lot of laughs, hugs and kisses. It doesn't have to be a big commerical Christmas, after all JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  61. Pete from Georgia

    I gave up long ago with the foolish treadmill of the secular celebration of Christmas. Over 2000 yrs. ago a baby was born that changed the world for all mankind. How this translates to how great a Christmas season Best Buy will be having is the ultimate insult to our Creator, don't you think ???

    November 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  62. Remo from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    What Christmas! I'll still be trying to pay off Thanksgiving.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  63. Charles - San Antonio

    No. I am doing just fine.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  64. Larry in Texas

    Jack – I know most of your comments on your blog come from mostly un-employed / or on some type of Government assistance, + a few of us working class people. So that being said, the majority of the comments will be expected to be on : how much of a hard time they are having, or something similiar, or something negative, regarding what is currently happening in their lives. But – Larry from Georgetown Said it Best. AND – MONEY is Flowing in Houston, no matter what anyone says.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  65. Sandstone.

    "I don't celebrate any holiday these day's. It's just another weekend to me, even if it's in the middle. I will eat just the same meals as usual, and I don't go anywhere anymore. I was glad to back home seven years ago, and here I stay. This computer is my holiday, it takes me anywhere I want to go!"

    November 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  66. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    As a culture we judge our success by what we have, we measure our love by what we receive, we judge our faith by condemnation of others by one sided absolute ideologies. As long as we continue to do this, the holiday season, nor any other season in our lives, will be filled with spiritual growth or love. The greatest gift we can give one another is to begin to change to who we were all meant to be.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  67. lynnej in nc

    No different than the last. Just same debts, different year.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  68. Fred in GA

    Celebrating Chanukah; because it's a Menorah is more affordable than a Christmas tree.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Anthony from Western Maryland

    The retailers and media has "Suckered" many in our society in believing that you have to go out there and buy something for the holidays while losing the essence of the season which is family and thanksgiving for being alive in this world. With the exception of my 18 month old daughter who I will buy a few things that is the extent of Christmas for our household.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  70. Jenna Roseville CA

    In light of the economy, how will your holiday season be different this year?

    Jack we are only buying gifts for the grand-kids and just stocking stuffers for the adults.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    November 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  71. Eric Westover

    Jack, yes my holiday season will be different. I have no car payment, only a house payment that is by most standards a smaller payment. With the increased price of gas, price of food, well pretty much the price of everything, plus the fact that in this economy, my wife who is the breadwinner, has not received a raise in over 4 years. Yes my Christmas will be smaller, and it will continue to shrink as the price of goods go up.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  72. Josh

    The question should be: "how intent is CNN on potraying the economy as in the dumps?". I for one had a great year. My banks offering me double points on holiday shopping dollars spent, and I have a bigger savings than ever. I plan on treating my friends and family with some gifts they deserve this Holiday Season. It seems every time you turn on the TV there are experts trying to tell us that the recession is still raging, but I see a different picture in reality. Record sales on Black Friday prove that we are doing a lot better and I think its time for the media to reflect that. Stop bringing us down Jack!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  73. Beverly Travers

    Jack I stopped stressing long before the economy got rough. If I can't do it I just can't do it. My girls are very understanding because they receive throughout the year. Christmas, to me, is whenever I can afford to make it happen, even if it is in June.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  74. Michael D. in Atlanta

    I'm lucky enough where my job hasn't been affected by the economy, so my season won't be much different. EXCEPT that I have made the decision to buy more for organizations like Toys for Tots and CHRIS Rainbow Home. I'm really glad that I am in a position to do this. I'm buying the same stuff for nieces and nephews, and more than usual for food banks and local charities.

    I hope I'm not alone. America needs people like us right now.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  75. Fred

    The kids X-Mas lists will definitely be truncated this year. I'm also taking conscience steps to shop for items that are made right here in America. I've been fortunate to remain employed during these very difficult times, and I am using this time to stuff as much money in all the fiscal nooks and crannys that I can find.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  76. Scott Stodden

    Well Jack There's 11 People In My Family And This Year I For One Can Say There Will Be A Lot Less Presents This Year Under The Tree Unless Of Course Santa Claus Is Real And Makes A Visit To My House LOL!!!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  77. Belinda

    This will be our 4th Christmas in a row that we will NOT go into debt. But this year we have less money in our Christmas fund than we ever have. We have had several large unexpected expenses that have drained a lot of it.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Bob S Philadelphia , Pa

    Jack,
    I'm blessed that most of my family members realize that Santa is for children not for adults and also realize I'm on Social Security Disability and don't really expect too much but it hurt's my heart that I can't spend on the little ones in my family that do count on Santa and presents !

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  79. Patti

    I am 54 years old. This will be the first year in my life that I will be spending the holidays alone because I can't afford to go home.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  80. Major P.

    Our family decided to only give to the kids this year. Because of this decision we didn't have to make a single purchase on credit. Thank God for Walmart layaway.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  81. Bill Denegar Spring Hill FL

    Yes my holidays will be differant this year. I will spend a lot of time feeling sorry for all of the middle class and poor who have or will vote republican in the near future.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  82. john

    Jack the meaning of chrismas is celebrating the birthday of jesus christ, not worrying about what present we have to give can we at least for once stop talking about money.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  83. Shane Russell

    Well it will make my family and I focuse more on what we need rather than what we want. Both my mother and father are working middle class Americans, and although the economy is making it harder and harder to find a job, it will only bring my family closer together this christmas.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  84. TS in AZ

    Since the recession we have a new game plan. A $100 max secret santa and 2 white elephant gifts $50 max combined. The white elephant is combined with a game nite (e.g. Uno). These are the rules: first round winner gets to pick a gift first, second round winner picks a second gift or steals the first person's, repeated until all the gifts are gone. All the presents are unwrapped after the game is over. The results are more thoughtful gifts and more fun (no complaints around the table).

    November 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  85. JN in Florida

    This Christmas is definitely more stressful for me. After being unemployed for a full year I started working again this April but with a salary that is $30,000 less than what I used make. Gift giving will be very slim this year for us.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  86. Steve

    I'm not changing my holiday habits because I learned to save my finances for what was truly important. The benefits of saving money emerges only during a recession. I feel bad for people who spent lavishly when times are good and this recession ought to be their wake-up call. I've never been in debt because of my holiday spending and will not be this year.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  87. Dale

    My corporate landlord just increased my rent by 3.5%. I, however have not received a 3.5% pay increase. The property manager informed me that we were in a landlords market. I imagine so, with all the foreclosures going on. So, that cuts most of my Xmas spending out. Obviously, the corporate property managers don't feel inclined to do their part to help the economy by keeping rents the same, no their taking this opportunity to make profit at the general economy's expense. So, oh well, that means the retailers have to absorb that loss!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  88. michaelann bewsee

    I've been downgrading what I spend for Christmas for the last two years. I prowl second-hand stores for nice linen or tableware for my daughters, check out the used bookstores for books I think they'll be interested in, and last year, gave them hand-bound copies of a lifetime of my poetry! What's left? A pint of my blood?

    On the other hand, my kids and grandkids are healthy and not living in poverty, so I'm grateful for that, and I try not to talk about my own dire situation as an underemploiyed 64 year old woman. Every year, I take time to ponder the real meaning of Christmas– that meaning hasn't changed, even though my financial circumstances have.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  89. Chad Washington State

    having to seriously think about scaling back on gifts last year brought me to the much needed realization that cooperate America and the credit card companies don't care how we pay our bills as long as we get them their much needed profits.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  90. Jerry in Alaska

    When i was young & dumb i voted for the Donkey party & celebrated Christ-mas.
    As i have gotten older i realize that things are not always as they seem & actually are not even close to being the right way foreward so i vote GOP & enjoy Chanukkah.

    Dec. 20th is Chanukkah, the celebration of Light, that Light is Yeshua, and Yeshua was not born on Dec. 25th, the winter soltice day.
    Yeshua was actually born in Sept./Oct. on one of the fall Feasts of Yahweh, the God of Israel & we True Christians, not on this 25th of Dec. picked by a Roman Caesar as the day all Pagans would be allowed to worship their SUN gods.
    These Pagan Sun worshippers had a feast every month & it was just to much paty time.

    Its not the SON Gods birthday i've found out with age & learning whats True or False, so i'll enjoy Chanukkah & its Light of the World.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  91. Neal

    We are focusing more than ever before on "Giving to those in need" than at any other holiday in the past. We are encouraging our friends and associates to do so as well.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  92. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    It won't. Yes I'll be a year older. Everyone will be here, open their presents, eat and leave. WHOP PEE! Christmas is over. Yeh! I'd like to be a kid again, I'd probably think differently. Going back 60+ years I can still remember how I had to entertain Santa before he passed out gifts – I did'nt figure out it was my Uncle til I was around 10 years old.
    Memories! "WE' all got those left!
    Merry Christmas Jack & staff
    """""""&
    Happy New Year! – – – just 31 days NO WAY!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  93. Mary from Long Island

    It seems like not long ago that we would spend $1,000 or more at Christmas. Not just gifts for the family, but little gifts for friends as well. We splurged on gourmet foods, fine liquor and gave generously to church and charity. That was before my sales manager husband lost his job two years ago with NO future employment in sight. We are buying token gifts for the kids & cutting back on everything. For the 2nd year, my husband & I won't be exchanging gifts, because I don't want him to feel embarrassed. My holiday bonus from work will be spent on our fuel bill, credit card debt and buying new eyeglasses. Welcome to the diminished expectations of American Middle Class!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  94. Jeff In Minnesota

    It is going to be a much less spendy Christmas than year's past at our house.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  95. Moxie Maxwell

    First I want to say Thank You for calling it "Christmas" when you were on the air.

    I had to close my business earlier this year and trying to find a career isn't going well either, but Christmas is about family and the celebration of Christ for us Christians. Even though my family won't have much this year, we still have each other and I am thankful for that.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  96. Mike in Port Clinton

    For Christmas I don't want people to buy me things. I always want them to just give me quality time amd share good food, drink, kinship, friendship, memories and good feelings. In past years they just buy and send stuff but, with the economy in such sad shape, I stand a much better chance of getting what I really want. That would change my holiday for the better.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  97. Gigi Oregon

    My husband plays Santa every year since he retired in '98. This year at the hospital Christmas party two children asked for jobs for their parent(s) out of over 350 children. Santa Claus never promises anything. He always says there are many children in the world and sometimes the workshop gets low on gifts, but he will do his best. And love is the greatest gift to give and receive at Christmas.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  98. J.T.

    Jack this holiday season will be a very special one for myself as this spring I had to undergo emergency surgery to save my life and even then I was not expected to make it but I did and I am truly grateful. I am also a struggling college student who has no money to spend on gifts but I will be able to enjoy the greatest thing of all the love of my family and friends and if I had any money to give I would donate it to the Ronald McDonald house who helps families with sick children in the hospital.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  99. rick turner

    i would like to know how our no count government expects people to buy christmas for our kids.. when all of washingtons. government are filty rich and they dont have to worry.. we pay them way to much money. id say let them give up there money to help us out.. just about all of them are millionaries and dont care what we have to go through. it makes me sick to watch the president and his wife flant that they have no worries, but yet we suffer. thats the problem now days they all lost there hearts. thank you

    November 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  100. Brian - Seattle

    Christmas will be the same it has been the last three years. A desperate attempt to pretend I can be as generous to my extended family and children as before the economy crashed but inevitably falling short. It will be gut wrenching, depressing and humbling. I pride myself in being excessively generous to the people I love but my definition of excessively generous has a much smaller dollar figure attached than before 2008. I guess I will say the same thing Cubs fans say every year about a festive and generous Christmas ... maybe next year.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  101. Susan A. In California!

    Hi Jack! I currently live in Mission Viejo, California....I have 2 sons, divorced and am lucky to have a job..a Part Time Job. Our Christmas will be spent enjoying each other's company! My sons are Blessed to have jobs as well. We used to have BIg Christmas, eating out on Christmas EVE, lots of presents under the tree, Now, we have each other and we will be counting our Blessings, many are they!! Ya just have to make the most outa the situation...and we have!! We'll give and receive one present this year, that's it! Thanks for asking! Healthy, Happy, wiser this year!!!!!:}

    November 30, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  102. Ed in California

    Americans can't even afford a decent cable new network

    November 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  103. Mike S., New Orleans

    It won't change a thing Jack. I'll still have to travel on dangerous roads to a region I hate and spend lots of time with relatives I can't stand who ignore their screaming kids on Ritalin. I'll obligingly shower them all with gifts I can't afford, and sit on pins and needles waiting for the traditional family Christmas fight to blow up. Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is a nice warm hotel room and a Valium.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  104. marybeth, massachusetts

    Jack,

    It will be no different this year than it has been in previous years. I refuse to go into debt for the holiday, never have and don't plan to do it in the future. I'm struggling, so that means less money to spend on gifts, but that's okay. Christmas isn't about getting the most presents–it should be about family and appreciating what you have, whether that is the world or just enough to get by.

    Maybe what we need to do is focus less on THINGS and more on helping our families, friends, and neighbors. Times are tough, and we should help eachother. And don't look to Congress to help you unless you're already very, very wealthy. Congress will be Santa Claus to the wealthy and corporations and the Grinch to the rest of us.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  105. Mike, Calgary

    Jack-

    Our family will be apart for the first time ever this year. We are fine financially, but I envy the other responders who are blessed with time with their families.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  106. Nancy LaPoint

    The question should not; how will your Christmas be different this year? But, what are you doing to help those who don’t have shoes for their Children? I believe we all need to help each other. So, if you have a job, give extra money to the organization of your choice. Salvation Army, Good Will, Shelters, Food pantries, Red Cross, ASPCA and places of worship are good places to start. I am a 12/2010 college graduate and I am working 3 jobs to make ends meet. I will be doing just this. If I can find the extra money you can also. Also socks and underwear are an acceptable Christmas gifts if you have a job. We all need to focus on each other and not ourselves.
    I remember a group of men pledging their lives, liberty and sacred honor to bring our country into existence now we are being torn apart by selfishness.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  107. jake

    My son is not on deployment this year.
    THIS WILL BE THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS EVERY!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  108. Alexi

    $50 cap per person. Lets make Christmas about our families again!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  109. Rik James

    The difference this year will be me not being able to afford a single gift for my family or friends. The worse part is not being able to afford anything for my three Grandsons.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm |