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Holiday Shopping: Will You Spend Less?

Holiday gifts

This could very well be the year when the Grinch steals Christmas, at least in terms of the gift-giving intentions of some adults. According to a new poll from the personal finance website, 40 percent of some 1,500 survey respondents say they won't be buying any holiday gifts this year. Blame the economy and the shaky finances of many Americans.

The holidays only add to their stress and here's why: 63 percent of those polled admit they haven't set aside any savings for holiday gifts this year. As one of my Miser Advisers once told me, "I don't understand people who fail to save for a major holiday like Christmas. Let me tell you right now, it's going to be on December 25 th this year. You can bank on it, and you should bank for it."

Casey Bond,'s managing editor, says that the federal government shutdown may have "suppressed optimism for holiday consumerism" this year. However, she says, consumers may be "overly optimistic about their ability to resist holiday shopping."

Discussion: Christmas Shopping- Without the Debt!

Among those who aren't resisting the urge to splurge, well, they're splurging less. A separate survey of 6,415 consumers by the National Retail Federation (NRF) says the average shopper will shell out $737.95 on gifts, holiday home furnishings and other such expenses. That's down from the $752.24 they spent last year.

"Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Here's the breakdown on who will get the most expensive gifts:

  • $415.50 for parents and other loved ones.
  • $ 72.14 for friends.
  • $25.63 for pets and people in the community.
  • $23.59 for co-workers.

That's right. People are spending more on their pets than their colleagues, according to the NRF survey.

Of the folks in the poll who said they weren't spending a dime on gifts this season, 46 percent of them were men; 35 percent were women.

>> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.

On the flip side, of those who said they were planning to spend on gifts, men were more likely than women to say they expected to shell out over $1,000 on gifts this year. Others may want to read:  Help, I think I married a cheapskate!

Regardless of whether there are more gifts to open this holiday season, or fewer, there are plenty of alternative gift exchange ideas, like these, that allow you to celebrate the season without breaking your piggy bank.

And if a large number of Americans decide to skip the gifts this year, it still doesn't mean we can't celebrate the true spirit of the season. As the Grinch himself eventually discovered:

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"

Photo: Queen Bee of Beverly Hills/Flickr


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