45 percent of Americans want to skip Christmas this year

Santa goes shopping

Maybe Santa should take a break this year and get some of his own shopping done. Image: jeremiah.andrick/Flickr/CC BY

In an annual poll, nearly half of Americans said they would prefer to just skip Christmas this year. Some will call the bearers of this sentiment Scrooges and Grinchs, but the real culprit is that old nemesis, the still-struggling American economy.

Is there an option to skip Christmas?

In spite of slow economic growth, Americans are still ill-prepared to deal with the added expenses the season brings.

The survey, sponsored by the payday lender Think Finance, polled 1,000 American consumers from various income levels about their holiday spending. Fifty-four percent said they plan to spend $500 or less on gifts this year. Another 27 percent said they will spend between $500 and $1,000.

However, a full 45 percent said they’d prefer just to skip the whole business all together this year. More than half of those polled said that holiday spending was a high to extremely high source of stress for them.

Blame it on the economy

The bottom line, although the economy is gradually improving, is that people are simply living too tight to the vest in these tough times to feel comfortable enough to splurge.

Ken Rees, CEO of Think Finance, said, “Financial hardships have rendered the simple joy of gift giving a nuisance for many. The economy has shown gradual improvement in recent years, but everyday Americans are still working hard to cover expenses making holiday spending particularly stressful.”

Worries about the still-unresolved fiscal cliff are no doubt adding to that hesitancy to make financial commitments.

Many Americans continue to live paycheck to paycheck. When asked how long they would last if they lost their incomes tomorrow, 41 percent answered just two weeks. Another 25 percent said they could hold out for a month.

Consumers struggle at many income levels

Nearly 60 percent said they will be starting 2013 already in debt, and that includes 54 percent of those who earned more than $100,000 a year.

In 2011, Think Finance’s poll only included the responses of people earning $50,000 a year or less. This time around, it raised that ceiling to $100,000. Even so, the number of people not financially ready for Christmas is still very high, though somewhat decreased from last year.

That suggests that even those in higher-income brackets are struggling in this economy.

Give Santa the year off

Although it is a popular lament in children’s TV specials, perhaps a year without a Santa Claus might not be such a bad thing. He can resume his happy duties after the economy heals.

Sources

New York Daily News
Americablog
NBC

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