Tis a Different Reason for the Season

Giving Thanks for the Little Things in Life, While Giving Fewer Presents

Baked turkey, honey ham, fixings galore, cakes and pies are all what comes to mind as the holidays approach. But this holiday season, people are thinking beyond the family dinner to how to approach gift-buying for loved ones.

According to the American Research Group Inc., shoppers around the country are planning to spend an average of $428 less than last holiday season. The overall average planned spending is down almost 50 percent from 2007 and is at the lowest level recorded by the American Research Group since 1991.

“I am only buying gifts for close family,” says Barbara Deitzer of Adelphi, Md., who is making grave changes from previous years, buying gourmet cakes for a few loved ones.

Though the economy is ailing, and the holidays will appear different this year, many including Deitzer, have much that they are thankful for.

“I am thankful for a roof over my head,” Deitzer said. Although she recently lost money in the stock market, she has looked past that to things in her life that make her smile, such as family and friends.

Agus High’s vibrant spirit comes despite being recently displaced from his job. “I am thankful for everything,” said High, 69, of Northwest D.C. “I can still smile because I have a family that loves me and a life to live. I am thankful for another year with my family and I look forward to enjoying their company.”

While 40 percent of shoppers have begun their holiday shopping, others are waiting for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when discounts are at their peak.

“I usually tend to do my shopping on Black Friday,” said Justin Ralston of Chevy Chase, Md. “I refuse to pay full price. The farther my dollar can stretch, the better.”

Ralston also plans to save money on gas and beat the crowds by shopping the Internet, along with 30 percent of the nation. This will allow him to pursue ideas that he may not have thought of, he said. Many companies are catering to these online shoppers by offering discounts online, as well as in stores.

Many shoppers are making plans like Ralston: to wait for the sales. According to American Research Group, 14 percent of shoppers say they plan to pay full price, 50 percent say they plan to wait until the items go on sale and 36 percent say it will depend on the gifts. For stores that will be having sales on Black Friday and for other holiday coupons, visit the official Black Friday Web site at bfads.net.