December 8th, 2008
08:04 AM ET
9 years ago

Recession adds extra stress to holidays, poll finds

A new polls shows the recession is making the holiday season more stressful.

A new polls shows the recession is making the holiday season more stressful.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Americans say the sagging economy is making the 2008 holiday season more stressful than previous years, according to a CNN poll out Monday, with up to two-thirds of them reporting some belt-tightening.

Four in 10 people questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey said the recession is adding stress to their holiday season. The poll found 67% of the 1,096 adults questioned said they are cutting the amount they plan to spend on Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, and 65% said they are cutting back on leisure travel, dining out or going to the movies.

"That means that cutting back on holiday is the number one way that Americans are reacting to the recession," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "More Americans are cutting their gift-giving budget than are cutting back in any other category of spending, from leisure activities, like going to movies or restaurants, to clothing to major purchases such as furniture or other appliances."

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. frank

    Restaurants, malls full......3% more spending than last year!

    what recesion? stress? spending less?
    bunch of bull

    December 8, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  2. Ian

    Just wait until the depression hits.

    December 8, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  3. joe smith

    the big three could get some relief, but with strings; funny, we didn't see any conditions attached to the $85 billion to aig..what gives; you know, with the price of oil dropping everyday, opec is going to stand in line for a bailout next..

    December 8, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Penn Voter

    Going into the holidays with a budget and keeping your gift spending within that budget, not maxing out a credit card and paying interest all year long? Sounds like something that all of us should have been doing for the past decade.

    I have been living within my means for the past 20 years, it was not easy breaking the credit card habit of the yuppie 80's and early 90's, but life without credit cards has been more enjoyable then you can imagine.

    December 8, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  5. Penn Voter

    If one good thing comes out of this recession, it will be people learning that you don't have to buy and own everything, it will be learning to live within your means and save for a rainy day.

    December 8, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  6. sunshine

    this is one year i can't even afford to shop at discount stores, but i still count my blessings, there are others that are hurting much worse than me and my family, i pray for God to help them.

    December 8, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. Michelle, PA

    Last year at Christmas I was unemployed, so I'm actually spending slightly more in dollar terms this year than last. But there is a very, very strict budget and I am saving every cent I can with sales, coupons, discount and surplus outlets, everything I can think of. Anything left over in the budget isn't going to get the kids that "one more package" or an upgrade to our planned dinner, but to charities such as food banks and Toys for Tots to help the (far too many) newly unemployed in our area have a holiday too. Teaching the kids to do what they can to help other people who find themselves unexpectedly in need will be their most important present of all.

    December 8, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. Jaye

    Of course people are stressed, and not necessarily because of the holidays.
    How many people have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, their retirement?
    Being stressed right now is a no brainer question.

    December 8, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  9. Susan

    The stores need to have more 'mega sales' like the day after Thanksgiving. Have sales that the people want to get out for.

    December 8, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Will-South Dakota

    Paying heating bills vs overspending?

    December 8, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. pat huntington ny

    thanks to 8 years of Bush's failed policies, we are all in the tank! he is the worst president since Hoover!

    December 8, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. Bruce

    I have cut back to the point that we are giving hand made gifts this year.
    No $ to spend on things like gifts.

    December 8, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Yes, everybody's under a great deal of stress this holiday season, except for the billionaires who got Bush's huge tax breaks. Santa, can we tax these people please?

    December 8, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. HouseDiva

    This is the second year I had to cut back. This year is worst than last year. Thank goodness that I have understanding children.

    December 8, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Dorothy in NC

    This is a perfect year to take a minute and reflect on what Christmas is really about. Over the years the commercialism of the holiday has taken over the season. There is no more making things for people instead of buying or families singing Christmas carols outside and then coming in and making hot chocolate, or having families and friends together and just enjoying each other.
    Of course if you have children, you will buy gifts but that has gotten out of hand too. An eight year old child doesn't need a 46 inch plasma TV.
    It is to the point where kids are getting so many expensive things at such a young age, by the time they are teenagers, the only thing left to buy is the Brooklyn Bridge.
    Christmas is not a day either, it is a season. Take some extra time with your family and friends and make some memories. It is all about the birth of a Baby and it is all about love and being together.

    December 8, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Maggie

    We're having a cheapie Christmas this year ourselves. What choice do we have? My job is about to go, my mom is on a really fixed budget. Our biggest expense this year will be getting the items for Christmas dinner. We do have a few presents under the tree however. Being on a budget doesn't mean you can't have a few presents to open on Christmas Eve. I think we're 'sort of' keeping the spending to about $20 per person total. No big extravagances this year.

    December 8, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. Ken in NC

    I only got 2 gifts last Christmas and according to this article, 67% of the people will cut back this Christmas. So if I only got 2 gifts last Christmas and more than half of the people (REMEMBER I ONLY GOT 2 GIFTS) are cutting back that would be more than one of my gift givers, then I suspect I will not get anything this year. LOL

    December 8, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. Kel in Auburn, AL

    You needed a poll to figure that one out? Really? LOL

    December 8, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. GA Independent

    Yup, this year's gifts will be a bit on the light side. And more practical – Santa is bringing underwear instead of gizmos...

    December 8, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Seattle Sue

    Thank you, Mr. Bush for all you have done for our country, NOT

    December 8, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. HelpTheAmericanPeople

    Makes sense we are cutting back .Thanks to Bush spending Money for the Iraq war and Black Buget projects and those before him doing the exact same thing.

    Thats a good part of why Americans are cutting back spending.

    Our tax dollars have been consistantly spent on War and Convert operations including Black Budget funnding for example area 51 .

    This is why Washington needs to change and really change with Obama as President stop funding Black Budget Programs that the American People have no idea where that money goes ,Stop bailing out Wall Street and Start to again get a stimulus package that includes sending every American who needs it a check for 1500 plus depending on if you have a family or you are a single person.

    If the Government would have sent us checks last month we could use that money to stimulate the enconomy but instead they bailed out the wrong people the CEO's of major companies like AIG.

    December 8, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. Jeff Brown

    "Recession adds extra stress to holidays, poll finds"

    Ya Think?

    December 8, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. beckster


    December 8, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. The Pecan State Pundit

    The idea that a "traditional" Christmas means maxing out every credit card and teaching our children that the meaning of life is to possess $100 jeans, $200 sneakers, an Ipod, and (OMG) the latest Blackberry comes from America's marketing and advertising geniuses. These thoughts, alien to our grandparents, were implanted into our brains because each of us has viewed hundreds of thousands of TV commercials, each whispering its creepy purchasing message into our psyches.

    Try this for Christmas: no gifts. Make an affordable donation in the family name to a worthwhile charity that will help those who are out of work. Or, help a family in your extended family or your neighborhood that is struggling financially. No doubt your children will threaten to report you to child protective services when you propose this, but stick to your guns.

    December 8, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. gary n.

    Yes, but what does Sarah Palin think about all this? Did anybody bother to consult with her?

    December 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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