How Americans Are Cutting Back This Holiday Season
1 year ago
Playing St. Nick? You may have to lose some weight
It’s no surprise that money is tight and nowhere does it seem tighter than when we slide into the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas trifecta that gives us little room to breathe. A recent Gallup poll projects that Americans plan to spend an average of $764 on Christmas gifts. But people from all walks of life (married couples, single women, etc.) are looking to celebrate more than just what’s under the tree.
Ayanna & Damion (Married couple with triplets)
Three years ago, Chicago resident Ayanna Fisher-Black went in for a routine ultrasound and got news that would change her life: three heartbeats. Ayanna and her husband Damion knew there would have to be some cutbacks. Ayanna quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom and they pinched their pennies to be able to provide for their little ones.
“It’s extremely strenuous raising triplets, both financially and emotionally,” Ayanna said. “There are more things to purchase and incorporate into our tight budget so we spend realistically knowing that we have to buy three of everything so literally every penny counts.”
In 2010, they had a “decent” Christmas. “We did not exchange lots of gifts because finances were tighter than prior years and we had to live after the holiday,” Ayanna said. “Our children were pretty young and weren't into the, ‘I want this, I want that’ stage yet so we were safe that Christmas.”
For this Christmas, Ayanna and her husband plan to get each kid at least one thing so that they still get to feel like an individual and the rest will be shared gifts. “My husband I probably won’t exchange gifts this year. But we are both comfortable in knowing the triplets will be gifted so that's a gift to us.”
But the material aspect of the season doesn’t mean much to Ayanna and her family. “The real meaning of the season is love,” she said. “It's always nice to see a box under the tree with your name on it, but I never focus on that, rather the gift of my family and loved ones.”
They’re taking it one step further and taking their children to a nursing home to visit a member of their church who is bed-ridden. “We feel even now at 3, they can begin to appreciate things that some may take for granted,” she said. “We want them to see that everyone doesn't wake up with the activity of all their limbs and that alone is something to be grateful for.”
Briana & Terrence (Married couple – no kids)
Christmas 2010 was a great one for Briana Myricks and her fiancé Terrence. They decided to chip in and buy a joint gift that they both were eyeing—a brand new iPad. Then they each bought gifts for their parents, siblings and cousins and enjoyed the rest of the holiday season. “I wasn't as concerned about what I was spending because I was employed full time and had the money,” she said.
Then in January, Briana was let go from her social media coordinator position. “I thought about the spending I did just a few weeks before—it was completely unnecessary!" She was in the midst of paying some major car repair bills and was planning the wedding of her dreams. They decided to scrap plans for the major wedding and instead just elope at the courthouse. They saved time and money, and even though money was still tight, Terrence still had his job.
Until he didn’t. Her husband got laid off from his position as a general laborer in September, leaving them with no steady income.
“This Christmas will definitely be different,” Briana said.
Instead of spending lots of money on gifts, they’re going to go a different route: homemade.
“We're probably going to opt for soup or maybe some cookies and a card,” she said.