Are you already done with your holiday shopping?

I did NOT get out in the Black Friday chaos but the Associated Press reports that the number of customers visiting stores were up from last year as well as spending online. But there is one worry: Is everyone already done with their shopping?

From The Associated Press:

“Holiday spending appears to be off to a respectable start, with shoppers crowding stores and malls in bigger numbers than last year on Friday and maintaining steady traffic the rest of the weekend.”

“Add in strong spending earlier in the month and robust sales online, and retailers are feeling encouraged. That’s particularly true because shoppers also scooped up fashion and other items for themselves, though mostly where they saw bargains. The question remains how many dollars shoppers are prepared to spend before Dec. 24 in an economy that’s still bumpy.”

“Discounts, particularly early-morning specials, were deep enough that many shoppers say they bought more than they had planned. But some say that means they’re done, and they spent less than last year….”

“Earlier buying in November also stole some sales away from the day, said ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin. But 2.2 percent more customers came into stores on Black Friday compared with the same day last year. The research firm tracks sales at stores in shopping malls, not big discounters like Wal-Mart and Target, which draw much Black Friday spending.”

“The National Retail Federation trade group estimated on Sunday that 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million last year, according to a survey it conducts.”

“A fuller picture on spending will come Thursday when retailers report November revenue figures.”

“Online, spending rose more than 14 percent from Thanksgiving Day through Saturday, according to IBM’s Coremetrics. The average order rose 14 percent and the number of items per order grew 15 percent, fueled by shoppers taking advantage of deals on Black Friday.”

“Online research firm comScore Inc. reported late Sunday that online spending for the first 26 days of November rose 13 percent to $11.64 billion, compared with the same period a year ago. On Thanksgiving Day, traditionally a lighter day for online spending, e-commerce sales rose to $407 million, up 28 percent from the year-ago period. That was helped by more stores pushing exclusive deals. Online spending is still a relatively small piece of the holiday pie, between 8 and 10 percent by various estimates.”

“Clearly, shoppers’ approach to the holidays has shifted, shaped by the stores themselves. While Black Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the year, more spending was pulled forward as stores from Best Buy to Sears promoted discounts on holiday items earlier in the month, often pitching them as “Black Friday doorbusters” weeks before the real thing. More stores opened on Thanksgiving, too.”

” ‘You are going to have to look at the overall month, instead of just Black Friday,’ said Laura Gurski, retail practice leader at A.T. Kearney.”

I did shop on Saturday and Sunday and finished most of the kids’ stuff and Michael’s stuff. I still need to do my parents, my godmother, my Godson, Michael’s family and the teachers.  (I bought my niece and nephew’s stuff a few months back.) We cut back last year and are spending even less this year.

So did you shop this weekend? Are you shopping today online? Are you done? Did you spend more or less than last year?

(I have two blogs up this morning. Check out a full listing for the ABC Family’s “Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas” so you can set your DVR!)


54 comments Add your comment

[...] (I have two blogs up this morning: AP reports the number of shoppers were up this weekend as were online sales but the worry is shoppers are already done and won’t buy anymore this season. Are you already done?) [...]

[...] Are you already done with your holiday shopping?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)?Online, spending rose more than 14 percent from Thanksgiving Day through Saturday, according to IBM's Coremetrics. The average order rose 14 percent and …and more » [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJCMOMania, ajcparenting. ajcparenting said: AJC's Momania blog: Are you already done with your holiday shopping? http://bit.ly/esuqUP [...]

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
5:44 am

NO….as promised, I did not leave my house from W night until Saturday night to eat out at a restaurant. I have not been into a store all weekend, except Walgreen’s to take my daughter for her flu shot….or should I say DRAG. Maybe another Mom is better at explaining that the shot itself will hurt less than being ill in the dorms. Glad that is over.

I am typically at least half way done by now but I have not purchased a single gift. My husband has ordered some things for our kids. We have cut way back, not really about finances but about …do we actually need all this stuff and does it make us any happier…?

I will order some gifts online, as we have to ship to all family except my kids and sister here.
I try to get free shipping or at least avoid the hassle of having to wrap it and ship it myself.
Some years we spent over $100 just to ship things!

I fight the crowds at the airport all year and am happy not to do it not over the holidays.

BTW…it looks like the opt out day on W was a bust and non issue for TSA. Perhaps many folks decided to drive but I would have thought that their tickets would have been purchased way before rallying the opt out day. It is puerile ( to me) when folks talk big about what they will and will not do and then do not follow through with the threats. Probably realized they would not be getting anywhere fast. Did anyone hear of any major snarls due to boycotting the screening? The news mentioned it as a non issue.

justmy2cents

November 29th, 2010
6:53 am

@MJG- TSA turned off a lot of the scanners; hard to boycott when they are not in use.

As far as shopping- I did it all online before BF. I refuse to go out in that madness. If you look at most of the sales, they are not that great of deals. A 60Hz HDTV?? That is the same refresh rate as a computer monitor. I’ll pass on that! I’d rather do the shopping online also because it saves tax $$ and the shipping was free.

Hubby and I do not exchange gifts, and neither do the other adults/parents/grandparents. We only buy for the girls, and we have explained to them that we are not dropping a ton of cash this year; we just don’t feel the need anymore. Since I explained a fat, white man who is unemployed 364 days a year truly does not break into your house one night a year to leave you presents we don’t have to have the mysterious Santa gifts.

mom2alex&max

November 29th, 2010
7:17 am

Nah. However, I am kinda jealous of my sister who sent her husband out at midnight to WalMart. And he reported it wasn’t insane and he was able to get pretty good deals! Oh well…

JJ

November 29th, 2010
8:03 am

MJG – did you daughter get the menigocacial (sp) virus shot or the meningitis shot? My daughter got both before she went off to college.

On topic…I am finished with 2 out of 5 people. My brother is the hardest person to shop for. So he is usually last on my shopping list….

Photius

November 29th, 2010
8:17 am

Shopping only for my wife and son. Personally, why do we as adults feel compelled to buy parents, grown siblings, in-laws, god parents, teachers, neighbors, mailman materialistic items in order to show our love and appreciation for them? It’s absurd. Children, yes – but your grown family members? You’re going to bleed financially for crying out loud! Case in point – try to remember who gave you what from last Christmas – probably a total blank. Our family stopped the gift giving to grown adults a long time ago.

Christmas has long been corrupted via the capitalist machine and it reveals another disturbing side about this great nation of ours. I mean, people camping out to buy things??? Why do you feel the need to give gifts to every grown adult in your family? Have you considered the effect perhaps that the great marketing machine from corporations and materialism is making you feel guilty for not giving a gift to a grown man or woman? Marketing and capitalism are on steroids this time of year polluting everything it can reach. Buy your children some gifts – send everyone else a card.

GA Mom

November 29th, 2010
8:40 am

@Justmy2cents – you sould like a lot of fun. “An unemployed fat man who breaks into your house” Today’s “Bah Humbug Award” definately goes to you!!! You must have had crappy Christmases as a child to have that kind of attitude.

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
8:49 am

@ JJ…she got the meninigitis this summer and the unfluenza shot yesterday. What is the other one…is it the same? I was told the flu shot came out in September. I got mine in October.

@ Photius….I am with you on the camping out thing…are they nuts? Did you ever check into the Rabbi interview I mentioned on Glenn Beck? His take was that our society is all about material things and that we are not about historical values. Most folks cannot tell sing the national anthem but they can tell you where the nearest Wal Mart is. (HAHA…some probably cannot even tell you whose face is on which dollar bill, as they use plastic….that is my take)

I thought that was pretty much on target when I watched the news clips on the TV with people in tents outside of retail stores.

If I was told TODAY “you are not allowed to go inside the Mall of Georgia again…”

My reply, ” o.k.!”

@justmy2cents…I had not read that the TSA turned off scanners and I read several accounts in the newspapers. Maybe they will turn them on for all the business travelers now…the bread and butter of the airlines? That should be interesting.

bunch of yentas

November 29th, 2010
8:51 am

I haven’t started yet.

I did put up a tree and let the boy decorate the house with the other christmas stuff. Honestly, if it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t even have a tree.

If it ain’t for the seeds, then why even bother?

I will probably shop next week. UGH!

TechMom

November 29th, 2010
8:59 am

I’ve bought one gift and it’s on backorder. Ha! The boy is 15 so he’s getting one big gift and a couple smaller ones which I didn’t feel the need to face crowds for. I’ll pick them up in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve stopped giving gifts amongst siblings but my MIL is so materialistic everyone always feels obligated to buy her something simply b/c she’s going to buy you something (she loves to shop) and she will pout and hold it over your head if you don’t buy her something. Drives me insane.

My husband & I usually set a dollar limit on the gifts we give each other (like $50-100 depending on the extra money we have including stocking stuffers) just b/c we don’t really find it necessary though it’s nice to wake up and open a gift or two to find things that we did actually want but wouldn’t have bought on our own.

Spacey

November 29th, 2010
9:00 am

I went to Toys R Us around 915pm for their opening at 10. The line was short when I arrived, but grew much longer before they opened.
It was orderly and very fun. There were a few line jumpers and the Officer threw them out. Hilarious! I guess I just like people watching.
Got a few good deals for the boys. I was in the store less than 45 minutes and home by 11pm. My Toys R Us let in 50 people every 5 minutes. Worked well! I’ll probably do it again.
My siblings and I have decided not to exchange gifts, only buy for the kids. Same thing with my husband’s family. That cuts out a LOT! We are still buying for the Grandparents, the baby-sitter and each other.
I’ve got a ton of shopping to do!

JJ

November 29th, 2010
9:05 am

My daughter just wants to take my debit card and shop for herself. I told her NO WAY!!! I will take her to buy one thing, a jacket, but the rest has to be a surprise.

Denise

November 29th, 2010
9:11 am

I am actually almost done. I bought most of my stuff on amazon.com. Great deals. My dad’s side of the family decided to give the adults the gift of nothing. I’m really bitter about that because I like to give and get Christmas presents! :-) (The sisters tried to suggest giving the kids the gift of nothing. Ha! I called BS on that one.) My mama is still getting me something so I’m good. LOL! Anyway, the kids are getting movies, books, etc. Mostly stuff I found online. I found some stuff at Target and K&G Women’s store off of Chattahoochee. The other folks are getting gift cards, probably from whatever stores have cards in Publix.

Belle

November 29th, 2010
9:21 am

I’m all finished! I didn’t really see the madness on BF except at Target and Best Buy. I didn’t get anything there but it was interesting to see how they wrapped the lines through the store.

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
9:41 am

@ Denise…last year my Dad gave , our family of four, a fruit basket from Harry and David. THAT ONE THING. I was frustrated. We do not even get a birthday gift from him. He sends our kids a check but not his grown daughters, as we most likely do not need anything. True ( for me) but it would be nice to get a little surprise on my birthday. Even a bird feeder.

I know you are supposed to be appreciative with whatever you get and not complain. To me, a fruit basket is not something from your parents…as the only gift for your family. Am I wrong? I think this type of gift is for neighbors and clients.

We used to give gift cards with my husband’s adult siblings but we sent them a gift card and they sent us one….kind of silly if you ask me. I prefer to go out to eat together. They just live 1000 and 1500 miles away.

Once we sent a Starbuck’s gift basket ( with various coffee and mugs) to my in laws, along with other things we thought they would like. They drink coffee all day long. When we called and asked about it, my mother in law says: ” we only drink one kind of coffee ( one we had not even heard of) so we gave it to the neighbors.” HMMMM I did not know how to handle that one graciously….anyone.

justmy2cents

November 29th, 2010
9:49 am

GA Mom- I hate the holidays…I openly admit it! A bunch of greedy folks fighting over a cheap gift is not my idea of fun. My childhood Christmases were just fine, thank you for your concern. Now that both my girls know the truth about it, we will be traveling over the holidays. I’d rather build memories that last a lifetime, than buy some game or toy that will just get sent off to Goodwill or the trash within a few months.

Becky

November 29th, 2010
9:57 am

I did not go out for BF, as I have been thru shopping for months now..I buy things all year long and do not spend tons of money on anyone..My family is not very picky or materialistic, so they are usually happy with what they get..

One sister does a lot of gardening, so I always try to get her something for that..The other sister loves to cook, so she’s getting a Trisha Yearwood cookbook..As for me, I’m happy with a new book..There is nothing that any store could put on sale that would make me stand in line for hours upon hours..

We do teach the kids what the real meaning of Christmas is and they are very aware that they are blessed..@Photious..I do still mail out Christmas cards..I’m told that a lot of people don’t mail them (much) anymore..

JJ

November 29th, 2010
10:10 am

I still mail Christmas cards, my personal ones, and our company sends out cards, about 150.

Jeff

November 29th, 2010
10:14 am

Haven’t started. Let the select-few crazies get out of the way first, and I’ll get around to it.

JATL

November 29th, 2010
10:31 am

I had a refreshing surprise on Black Friday! I did not intend to go shopping at all, but due to an incident requiring stitches for the youngest on T-day, I had to get some new Neosporin and Bandaids on Friday morning. I decide to drive by our Target just to see what it looked like, figuring I would certainly be headed to CVS for the necessary supplies -but Target did have a few things I wanted at really good prices. This was around 9 am, and it was FANTASTIC! It was far less crowded than a normal weekday. I got rock star parking, roamed the aisles in a relaxed fashion and got 4 really good deals for my children (and the Neosporin and Bandaids). I asked an employee and he said it was insanity at 4 and 5 am, so apparently I missed the craziness -and that is something I’m truly thankful for!

I’m in no way finished with my shopping, nor did I plan to be. It’s CYBER MONDAY! Toys R Us and many others have great deals today AND FREE SHIPPING -wooooo hoooo! Plus, from now until the end of the year, you’ll be seeing incredible sales and deals. The only problem is if your child or someone wants a “high-demand” product -you should probably go ahead and jump on that.

@Photius -I agree about the gifts for every person you look at all year! I don’t expect gifts from everybody! We do get each other and our parents presents, do Santa and get each kid a gift from us, send a “family” gift or something fun but small to our 4 nieces and nephews in CA and get a little something for our boy’s teachers. We decided years ago with friends and anyone else -gifts are NOT necessary! If someone has a party, we’ll take a bottle of their favorite libation or a nice candle or CD or something we know they’ll like. Other than that -NO! I’m also shocked at how many ADULTS get all out of sorts if another adult they know -like one of their parents or a spouse or someone is ill or out of a job and suggests not doing gifts. I’ve witnessed a number of family members and friends in a huge huff over not getting gifts from parents who were terminal or siblings who had been unemployed for awhile! Unbelievable!

MomOf2Girls

November 29th, 2010
10:34 am

Especially glad to be Jewish at this time of year :-) We don’t subscribe to the “giving gifts on Chanukkah” plan. Each girl gets one token gift as a nod to the side of the family that does hold there. They know “the reason for the season”, as the saying goes, so they don’t think anything of it.

Have fun y’all.

Angie

November 29th, 2010
11:22 am

I have purchased/plan to purchase one gift each for my family members and then will make a donation in their name to a charitable organization we all support. I am blessed to have a small family that doesn’t see the need for lots and lots of gifts or gift-giving. DID NOT get out in the craziness of Black Friday. Been there, done that. :-)

RJ

November 29th, 2010
11:35 am

I went out only because my kids wanted to. My daughter had some money so she got some great deals for herself. I don’t care to go out, but it was a nice way to get into the spirit. Loved listening to the music. While shopping, let us not forget the true reason for the season. Retailers have done a great job of making this holy day about “gifts” instead of the birth of Jesus.

JJ

November 29th, 2010
12:05 pm

I uploaded all my Christmas CD’s onto my iPod, and brought my docking station to work, so we can listen to christmas music….

Layla

November 29th, 2010
12:09 pm

Several years ago, I started giving baked goods to friends and family for Christmas. I got tired of the ritual exchange of cash and I like to bake (and I’m pretty good at it!) so that became my theme. People seem to appreciate it and for some, they use them for their family get-togethers. It saves them time and expense. :) I don’t think I’m being cheap, because once you add up the price of the ingredients (some of them on the exotic side) it comes to a good amount. Of course it might be less if I bought Kroger brand ingredients, but I go Whole Foods and organic and I SWEAR everything tastes so much better! Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah!

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

This is random but has to do with Christmas and I thought of it with JJ’s post. I love Christmas music too. This morning, before my daughter headed back to UGA, she asks me:

“Do you know the song about Dominick the Christmas Donkey?”

What? I thought I knew most all Christmas songs and I have even written a dozen or so myself, as I use them in schools and with the teachers I train. I did not know about the Italian Donkey. How did I miss it? Her room mate sang it to her.

Just proves I do NOT know everything….;>/

HB

November 29th, 2010
12:24 pm

My extended family has for the most part stopped exchanging gifts — yay! No more stress of buying for loved ones that you don’t really know that well (like my aunts and uncles who I love, but we’ve only seen each other during the holidays for the past 10 years or so) or figuring out what to do with the random assortment of trinkets that they give me because they don’t really know what I would like best either. None of us need that stuff, so we just get together for a family feast sometime in the last half of December and enjoy each other’s company. We usually all give gifts to my grandmother and my baby cousin (currently, the only child in our family) and skip everyone else. So no malls for me. Anything that could be purchased at a mall will be ordered online shipped to Georgia. Most gifts, though (and there are not that many), will be made by me or purchased at one of my favorite local shops.

Photius

November 29th, 2010
12:25 pm

@MotherJaneGoose – yes! I did view the interview with the Rabbi and enjoyed it! I agree with the vast majority of his points. Although I’m not Catholic, Pope John Paul II while in Cuba gave a harsh speech against American consumerism and this great nation’s self absorbed narcissistic thinking; it was a harsh dose of reality but dead on. You are correct in that most people (even college educated) are very ignorant on history, current events and things which truly have importance. Yet, men can quote everything about their favorite football team and sports and women can tell you about what is happening on the popular TV show, etc.

I personally do not like the holidays. I enjoy being in Church every week and focusing on the build up to the birth of Christ which helps me greatly. Then I go around in my life listening to horrible Christmas music, ads pushing American’s to buy more, show the person how much you love them by how much you spend, prove you love your children by giving them the biggest Christmas ever. Capitalism in America is at it’s zenith this time of year and they keep pushing and pushing and pushing for all of us to buy more! For me it’s revolting. Celebrate the birth of Christ – the ultimate non-materialist – by spending ourselves into oblivion. Marketing and business have long ago sold out Christmas for profits and the people lap it up buying more “stuff” for family, friends and children every year. It’s a depressing time of year for me as this invasion of gross consumption engulfs us.

a mom

November 29th, 2010
12:27 pm

We have a tradition with my in-laws; the women and girls go out for lunch on BF and then “stroll” through an outdoor mall. The men and boys play basketball or golf or something and then eat leftovers and watch football, basketball, billards or whatever sports are on. We didn’t really buy anything but on Saturday my daughter and I went power shopping. Got some good deals but today I am cybershopping to get about 75% finished. I also have three birthdays in this window so I have a little more to pick up. I have my cards just waiting to be addressed and want to get the decorations up this week. I try to not get stressed out anymore so that I can enjoy the season, especially the time with my family.

Wayne

November 29th, 2010
12:28 pm

You don’t know Dominick the Christmas Donkey? Oh. My. Gawd!

That is a great song for two reasons (at least)… 1) I’m Italian, and 2) I have a donkey! A horse too, but that doesn’t count here.

“Dominick the Donkey is a Christmas song written by Ray Allen, … its novelty and some Italian lyrics, but was quite popular in Italian-American households”

JATL

November 29th, 2010
12:36 pm

@Wayne and MJG -”Dominick the Christmas Donkey” is definitely -something! I didn’t know about it either until a few years ago when it made it onto a cd of alternative holiday music a friend of mine makes a bunch of us every year.

For those loving Christmas music (I do too) -I was just reminded today of how much I love Johnny Mathis’s album, “Merry Christmas.” My parents used to play it every Christmas, and the “Oh Holy Night” on there is awesome! I just ordered the cd for myself because I really need to hear it!

HB

November 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

I love holiday music (traditional or instrumental Christmas songs are my favorites, but I like a little bit of everything)! The Indigo Girls have some nice tracks on their new holiday album including a really fun Woody Guthrie Hannukah song and beautiful arrangements of several traditional Christmas carols.

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
12:50 pm

@ Wayne…neat stuff! I grew up in Chicago and had lots of Italian friends…I never heard the song and this is why I am so amazed. I do not think my daughter’s roommate is Italian but could be. Their entire family is from Ga and you really do not meet as many people here who are Italian, as you would in your area or Chicago or NYC. Now I am thinking about that restaurant we went to this summer in Boston.

JATL…do you know very many Italian people ITP…maybe that’s where they are….LOL.

JJ…did you know about Dominick? FYI…you may know about DOMINICK’S one of my FAVORITE Italian restaurants in Gwinnett….I have been to all 3 locations….YUM!

JJ

November 29th, 2010
1:16 pm

Never heard of Dominick……I’ll go google him right now.

Mrs. G

November 29th, 2010
1:20 pm

I’m not done yet…maybe about halfway. I went to Wal-Mart and K-Mart around 5:30 in the morning on Black Friday with a friend who wanted to go Black Friday shopping because she had never been. We went in our pajamas, got coffees at Dunkin’ Donuts, and hit the stores, where we walked around like zombies. Apparently I’m not made to get up that early the day after Thanksgiving; I think that I was half-asleep for most of the shopping trip. Wal-Mart was really picked over, but K-Mart was pretty quiet (by 6:50AM) and had a nice selection of things. I bought Hubbs and myself a new slow cooker for $9.99 (the same one we’d been looking at on Target’s website two days prior for $24.99!). Then I went shopping at the mall on Saturday with my MIL and SIL and did a little more shopping. Most of the rest of what’s on my list will be bought online (Amazon.com, mostly).

I think that the gift I’m most excited about giving is for two of our best friends (Hubbs’ cousin and his girlfriend); they both love sushi, so we are giving them a gift certificate to a sushi restaurant so that they can go on a date, on us. I love the idea of giving experiences as gifts, even if it’s just a dinner out and not something big like tickets to a game or concert – so many people are pinching pennies right now that a dinner out is a pretty big deal!

Not exchanging gifts is a great way to save money, but, if you are nixing gifts more for the principle (”Who really needs another gift set from Bath & Body Works?”) than to save cash, I like the idea of charitable gifts. Last year I couldn’t figure out what to get my parents (if they need something, they buy it; also, they are pretty picky. I can’t tell you how many gifts I’ve bought them that just sit in the box… Shopping for them is so incredibly frustrating!), so I bought “them” gifts from Oxfam Unwrapped (http://www.oxfam.org/en/getinvolved/unwrapped). Oxfam sends a picture of the gift (I think that I purchased dung for a farmer “for” my dad and a desk for a child “for” my mom), so I wrapped the pictures up for my parents. They were thrilled!

HB

November 29th, 2010
1:27 pm

Mrs. G, I like the idea of charitable gifts too. My grandfather was a very charitable man who never particularly wanted or needed anything, so I started “giving” him animal gifts each year through Heifer International. He was a farmer for much of his life (often a struggling one) and loved having such a gift made to other farmers in his name.

JATL

November 29th, 2010
1:32 pm

@HB -that Indigo Girls (along with the Johnny Mathis) will be my Christmas music purchase this year! I like the more traditional stuff too, but I greatly enjoy some of the “fun” stuff that’s been put out through the years. The friend I mentioned who makes a compilation every year always finds some real jewels!

on line is the way to go

November 29th, 2010
1:37 pm

I pretty much am finish for this Christmas, did most of the shopping online. My only issue is that hard to find toys are being severely over priced on e-bay/amazon. I was looking for a toy that retails at $9.99 and was able to buy 7 out of the 8 character set. For some reason the manufacturer has not made enough of toy I was missing and I saw it on sell for $99.99 from one reseller. E-bay has auctions starting at $39.99 and shipping $10.

Of course I have refused to purchase a toy marked up 1000 percent. I was fortunate that a friend in another state found the toy at retail price and is shipping it to me.

I found a lot of on-line deals on Thanksgiving day, Sports Authority was giving a $25% discount on all merchandise and free shipping.

No Name

November 29th, 2010
2:23 pm

Deals? Black Friday? Cyber Monday? How about, caring for loved ones…

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
2:27 pm

Mrs. G…I am also all about experiences and the animal gifts. I have done both, in the past years.
We invite friends out to dinner or have them over here instead of buying them gifts and I also donate to Samaritan’s Purse through the farms and livestock. Not as anyone’s gift…just because I want to. Seems like a longer lasting gift, when you figure people will be eating food they may not have had.

***89% of American households give to charity. Gifts average 3.2% of income, or $1,620 annually.***

I am thinking most families spend more than $1600 on the holidays. It looks like our percentage is ahead of the average family. Children who grow up in charitable households learn to be charitable themselves…good for you HB!

@ Photius…glad you got a chance to see the Rabbi. I am not Jewish I do have wonderful Jewish friends! I LOVED the information he shared. He seemed so genuine but disturbed by what he sees in our American materialistic society. It was fascinating…to me. I had heard the story about the Tower of Babel many times but never heard the information he shared!

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
3:01 pm

OOOPS.. too clarify charity percentage NOT holiday…LOL. I never spend that much!

SRH

November 29th, 2010
3:08 pm

In years past, we would send checks to the kids of relatives as the lived out of state or out of country. We have sent anywhere from $50 – 100 each, but this year I don’t think we will send anything. The relatives are all grown up now, either in college or married and living on their own. I have not exchanged gifts with my parents for years, but again, they don’t live in the US. I will send them something on birthdays, but not Christmas. I always give to charities and this year, I feel that the money I have spent on others will go to charity – we just have so much stuff.

I have bought a few smaller gifts for local friends, and have a ‘gift bag’ of sorts where I have bought cute things for sale at Ann Taylor or the Loft. My husband and i usually exchange a few gifts, but often just agree to one big item. My MIL used to be very specific on gifts and would send links and stuff. She would always ask me for my list, and honestly, I really just wanted something sent to charity. I agree with @MjG that charity is important – as long as I remember, we always did charitable work as kids, and I guess that is why I am not that big on the gift-giving aspect.

Denise

November 29th, 2010
3:35 pm

@MJG, I’m not even getting a stinkin’ fruit basket! GRRRR! (smile)

This whole “gift of nothing” mess started with my bonus sister telling everyone that she did not want anyone to spend one dollar on her. She was very specific and suggested a charity (Samaritan’s Purse) to donate to instead. Cool. Did that. Donated more than I would have spent on her gift so no “savings” there…but I felt better about it. :-) Then bonus mother comes up with the “gift of nothing” article. Blah, blah, blah. What ticked me off was the fact that the one jumping up and down for the gift of nothing for adults and children (yeah right) is unemployed and wasn’t going to be buying ANY gifts even if we didn’t decide not to give gifts. If you are not buying gifts, stand on the sidelines while decisions are being made, please. This does not concern you. My daddy usually gets me good stuff so I’m really, really displeased, although I agreed so as not to look bad, and, like I said, I would take a fruit basket! :-) Plus, I am trying to figure out a way to sneak my daddy the stuff I bought him already. They can bite my butt if they don’t like that. LOL!

As for the consumerism of Christmas, I agree. It is too much. I don’t spend a lot of money on any one person. Everyone who gets a gift (”of something”) gets something nice but it won’t be expensive. I have far too many gifts to buy. I LOVE to give gifts. In the days before online shopping I hated Christmas with the heat of a thousands suns because it was stressful but now that I can do most of my shopping online I can now focus on “yay, I can’t WAIT until the baby opens THIS!!! I’m going to be the best aunt EVER”. (smile)

motherjanegoose

November 29th, 2010
4:05 pm

LOL…Denise but if you got the fruit basket it would be YOURS. We had to share it between four people. Just as soon have nothing and send nothing…isn’t that GRINCHY!

You sound like a fun person! I also get a kick out of those who try to sway the decision when it is not their business.

I like to host picnics and cookouts in our neighborhood pavilion or clubhouse. As you may remember, I travel quite a bit so I am OUT OF STATE a lot. It cracks me up when I mention scheduling something ( here) and my friends at church say, “lets run it by everyone else to see if the date works.”

WHAT? If am hosting it, I kinda need the date to work for me…don’tcha think? If no one wants to come, then I will invite another group of friends…since I have just a few ;>/ To me, the organizer gets the priority call of what is happening. If you want the say, then plan the venue! I will be there if I can.

Denise

November 29th, 2010
5:12 pm

Yeah, MJG, I get to eat everything all by myself. One of the few perks of being single and child-free (even though it’s really getting to suck! LOL!). I do like to have fun, esp. with the niece and nephews. I miss them and love them and if I can spoil them a little bit when I’m around a few times a year, I’m going to do it. It’s my money (and I will NEVER spend what I don’t have!). And yes, I find it funny how people insert themselves into YOUR plans. The ORGANIZER does get initial say-so on the when/where. If you have a few people you just have to have at the gathering, then you may have to work around them but if it’s a “it’s nice to have you but if you miss it, catch me next time” then go on your own schedule.

deidre_NC

November 29th, 2010
9:08 pm

@MJG-i would have said..well next time ask first..you could have sent it back to us lol..id be pissed if someone gave away the starbucks gift..they can always give it back to me i love it lol..how rude.

deidre_NC

November 29th, 2010
9:13 pm

i bought my youngest daughter a tv for her bedroom..first bedroom tv she has ever had..she is 18—will by 4 grandkids a book as always and thats it. im broke…my family is cool about stuff like this…no one cares…i dont care. i love for my grandkids to read and they love it so i always get them a book…a good one that they will have for their own kids one day…children’s classics…i will pick a name or 2 off the angel tree and do that…i always do that one.

salon naples

November 30th, 2010
5:14 am

I like to host picnics and cookouts in our neighborhood pavilion or clubhouse. As you may remember, I travel quite a bit so I am OUT OF STATE a lot. It cracks me up when I mention scheduling something ( here) and my friends at church say, “lets run it by everyone else to see if the date works.”