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

Recession adds extra stress to holidays, poll finds

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Alben

    If someone did such a survey, it is like using an ax toknock down and open door!

    December 8, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Conservative James, Phoenix, AZ

    This just in: a recent poll has revealed that repeated heavy blows to the head can cause brain damage.

    December 8, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. MLH the holiday season adding extra stress to the recession? Maybe I could enjoy my recession more if I didn't have to deal with these pesky holidays?

    December 8, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Helene

    In fact it's a good thing. This Chrismas/Hannukha business is too commercial and a complete rip-off.

    December 8, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. irish

    Yeah, Your right, People are pulling in there belts and having a very hard time right now, and it won't be just at Christmas time either. While our goverment is bailing out all the mismanaged companies and the the CEO's and the high paid executives, The working families of america are going down the tubes in a fast way. Why is it they are still grappleing with the idea to help homeowners from losing there homes ? They thought nothing of bailing the big boys out pretty quickly, but when it comes to the homeowners it a big to do. When it comes to Americans it should never even be questioned that they need the help ASAP. We are the one's who keep this economy going. If we don't have any money to buy products then these companies are going to fail anyway. Start helping the American people, so we can stimulate the economy not the big boys. They do nothing but collect there big bonuses. I hope they have a great christmas, because my child will not. Thank you very much for your corruption and I hope all your children and your trophy wives get all the desinger cloths, cars and shoe that they asked for.

    December 8, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. PHS in RI

    ya think? must be a slow news day.

    December 8, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Just another CNN poster

    Uhhh, polls. The replacement for investigative reporting. So how much did you pay for the poll that came up with that brilliant deduction?

    December 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Mickie

    Do you think it would add extra stress if it were not the holidays? Please, there must be something else worth reporting or polling about.

    December 8, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. obama-mama

    Sad time in America......

    December 8, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. proud army and navy mom

    well yeah. didn't need a study for that

    December 8, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Charm

    Stupid recession. :/

    December 8, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. dave

    As a Christian nation, we know that Christmas is a religious celebration about the birth of Jesus. Why would economic concerns affect the holiday?

    December 8, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. TC

    G.R.I.T.S. – you took the exact phrase right out of my mouth 🙂

    December 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Jim Schimmer

    hahaha... Like DUH!

    What great new reporting CNN..! ........ NOT!

    December 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Scott NYC Independent

    Well that car for Christmas is definetely out.

    December 8, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Pat

    I took my teen daughter with me last Friday to do our Christmas shopping. It was a teaching opportunity. I had $X, in cash, and a list of 17 persons we were buying gifts. Trust me it was hard work, but fun nonetheless as we went from store to store in search of bargains. We bought no big ticket items this year but stuck mainly to clothing, accessories,books, and board games.
    As stressful as it is, people must be practical. Dont sweat it and get into a panic, and worse more debt. It is also important to be honest with your kids, family, friends etc so that expectations are kept to a minimum. Spend more time really enjoying good quality company this season than stressing over shopping. Do potluck dinner get togethers and catch up with loved ones.

    December 8, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. JL

    Really? I was thinking it reduced my stress because I don't have to spend much time dealing with rude shoppers who become extra rude, if not mean, during the holiday season. But, that's just me.

    December 8, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Patti Public

    I'm going to shop at home. I'm sure we all have things no one has hardly ever seen that would make nice gifts for others. There is also making things even making mats from recycled plastic bags. People are too co-dependent on mainstream/consumerist thinking and not using their imagination enough to get through tough times. I remember when my kids loved getting playdough wrapped in separate presents so it looked like more stuff. what happened to buying kids paper, crayons, paints, etc and getting creative? Let the kids design new wall paper. Try mixing some veggies and baloney in your mac n cheese. Shape a meatloaf like a turkey and call it fancy. I've done a lot of wacky things with food just to make it seem like we had way more and fancier than we had, even if it was Spam. I hope people can have a healthy, truly happy holiday season and find the gratitude for the little pleasantries of life and nature again.

    December 8, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. fred

    people seriously need to chill out. yea, the economy is bad for some, but if you have a house paid off, and a job, the economy is doing alright, because gas and food prices are on the decline. People need to learn to make smart financial choices, and the government has to quit with these bailouts.

    December 8, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. fred

    How about we don't bail out the auto companies and give each person in the U.S. 10,000 dollars instead. Then we'd be in good spending shape, and the economy would be booming.

    December 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Change - Yeah Left

    This will be the last Christmas which will be allowed in the USSA! We better get out an enjoy it before it becomes politically incorrect to celebrate it. Oh, wait – it already is!

    December 8, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Carl from MI

    Ya think???

    Thank you, Dubya... and all those who voted him into office for setting our nation on this path of economic destruction.

    I'm not sure anyone but Dubya and Co. could have screwed things up this much!!

    "My mother always said stupid is as stupid does..."

    December 8, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Chris-Mas

    F. Taylor,
    Here, Here! I'm using this opportunity to tach my 13 year old that a return to times when the holidays were less materialistic and commercial is not such a bad idea. When greedy shoppers trample a Walmart worker to death, it sends a strong message that it's gotten out of hand. When I hear the stories of how families had made the best of things during the Depression, it's hard not to remember how grateful we should be because its not as bad as that-(yet?)
    We've had a lot of fun designing and making jewlery, baking, and framing art projects.

    December 8, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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