December 8th, 2008
08:04 AM ET
10 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. MK

    I don't know a lot of people going out for a dinner any more but I do know people who are spending the usual on Christmas presents. Some things are easier to cut back on than others. It is smarter to purchase gifts on credit than it is to go out for a meal on credit. A gift most likely is not being consumed and after the giving of the gift there is still a tangible item that keeps on giving, like an item of clothing, electronics, games, books etc....A meal is eaten and over and a month later a bill arrives and you have nothing to show for the price you are paying. Gifts on credit, okay. Meals on credit, not so smart.

    December 8, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Emily

    It does?!?!

    December 8, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. ran

    Good. This holiday along with most of the other holidays have become too commercial anyway. How about merrill lynch CEO wanting a 10 million bonus. These people just don't get it and they never will so lets not bail out anyone else except the American people with a $1 million per adult over 21 stimulus.

    December 8, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Besscannon

    Obama is trying to give the impression of making a big splash, all the while, giving himself all these outs for not keeping all the fantastic promises he made during the campaign. This man isn't so smart as clever and divious in covering his own tail. Remember what happened when one of his staff went up to Canada to tell them not to worry too much about what Obama was saying about the trade agreement? Is everyone forgetting that or, conviently forgetting on purpose? I see big dissapointments coming for all those that bought the fairy tale. I could be wrong. For everyone's sake, I hope I am. However, at 84 years of age, I have seen a lot of clever, cagey persons that could pull the wool over people's eyes and make them believe that person could do and be a lot more than they ever could be or do. Sooner or later, they got found out.

    December 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Santa Claus

    It's tough all over.

    December 8, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. susan kast

    Christmas can never be stolen by a recession. Christmas is about the birth of Christ. We need to focus more on that, and make our giving more personal as it used to be. Cakes cookies, homade crafts...that was a good time. We depend to much on the very thing that got us into this mess. Credit cards and getting something for nothing ( sub-prime interest mortgages) Greed is what has killed us and now the Government will finish us off with more programs and higher taxes, loans from China or God knows who else, and more control over our states. Remember the 55 speed limit in the 70"s because we were beholdin to the Federal Government.

    December 8, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Mary

    What is so stressful about cutting back on leisure spending?

    December 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Matt

    Here's the trick: make your list and go to the mall when there's only an hour until closing. Maybe it takes 2-3 trips, but it prevents you from spending a 6-8 hour stress-filled day wondering if that Xmas decoration will fit up some snyde store clerk's...

    December 8, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. F. Taylor

    Well it might not be all that bad to have a christmas holiday like we had back in the 40's and 50's. We got one toy which might even have been home made.

    It has been nice to see kids getting an abundance of presents at Xmas over the past years but maybe one or two lean years might result in more appreciation for what they do have.

    December 8, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It would appear that we are enjoying sluggish times and not enjoying them very much.

    December 8, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. rob

    YA THINK!!! How much research did this story take.

    December 8, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. A Canuck

    Barack Obama should ask each of his email contacts to just buy one gift for someone who is needy......can you imagine how this could mushroom ????? Happy holidays for all !!!

    December 8, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Helen

    Is gift giving, etc. the true, real reason for Christmas?

    What about just doing little things for the people you care about--things they need done especially ones that do not have the means to do things.

    The real reason for Christmas, if you do celebrate Christmas, is JESUS.


    December 8, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Franky

    I ain't surprised. If people have money, then some stores will get lucky but if people have a limit on what they want to spend or how to spend it, there gonna do it. There not gonna pressure themselves, especially on the holiday. There gonna do whats best for them even if it means working during vacations...

    December 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. pam Eugene OR

    You would be a fool not to cut back even if you are one of the lucky people who are still employed. You would be deaf, dumb and blind if you continued to spend normally. A recession hits all of us even if you can currently pay your mortgage and have no consumer debt.
    CNN has a gift for stating the obvious!

    December 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. RU Kidding Me?

    Spending less here...but finding great bargains! My family will still have a nice Christmas...just all the "big items" will have to go on hold. Sometimes we forget about the real meaning of the season anyway...peace on Earth, good will to all men. With two wars and a nasty election, it's time for peace!

    December 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    The headline begs this response – duh, ya think?

    December 8, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Additional stress? Ya think? You actually pay people to write this dribble? Where do I send my job application?

    December 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Mike

    Dahhhh!!! You need polling data to tell u that?

    December 8, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Miriam

    Things are a little too uncertain right now, so I've decided to not give anything this Christmas. As much as I'd love to give gifts this is just too tight. Everyone I know is scaling back on the gifts or not giving them at all this year! I'm scared....

    December 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Miriam

    Things are a little too uncertain right now, so I've decided to not give anything this Christmas. As much as I'd love to give gifts this is just too tight. Everyone I know is scaling back on the gifts or not giving them at all this year. I'm scared....

    December 8, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Race to the Bottom

    Spending money can be addictive, and the beloved credit card is the drug.

    December 8, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. Barb

    I live in Michigan. In Michigan we were in a recession four years ago. Now, it is comparable to a DEPRESSION. I am infuriated by the humiliation the auto companies have to suffer for comparative crumbs, when the banking industry was given a blank check and we have a Treasury Secretary who is clueless about what to do with the $700 billion Congress gave him. In Michigan, we are dealing with "main street" issues. It's time people got angry enough to e-mail, phone and contact all members of Congress and tell them to straighten up. And I am incesned that the Bush White House had it within its power, irrespective of Congress's posturing, to aid the auto industry, but chose not to. I think the "If we aid one industry they'll all want a hand out" is a flawwed strategy. People need jobs so they can earn money so they can spend money.

    December 8, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Larry C. in Texas

    Not much of a recession, or whatever you call it down here in TEXAS, especially in Houston, where money is flowing like water.....You can sell "dirt" on the street here, and live well....
    Remember one thing here in good 'ol Texas....The best Resource we have here is the Spanish Population...

    Larry C.

    December 8, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Pam

    And here we have our "duh" of the day.

    December 8, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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