Will You Be Spending Less on the Holidays?

Presents Every year I think about having a simpler holiday season: Fewer gifts, more meaningful traditions, less stress. My family has even talked about taking a great trip together instead of exchanging presents—making memories instead of making purchases. And yet (almost) every year, I still end up spending more than I intended, rushing-rushing-rushing through my hectic holiday calendar, and breathing a huge sigh of relief on January 1st when my life can finally return to normal.

Now, in the midst of a recession and approaching my first holidays with a baby, I find myself thinking about what I want the season to mean to my daughter. And I don’t want her to get caught up in piles and piles of presents when she’d probably be just as happy playing with the crinkly wrapping paper. This year, I’d like to spend less, and I’m going to encourage my family (probably unsuccessfully) not to go overboard in the usual way.

It’s a sentiment echoed by many other Americans, apparently. More than half say they plan to spend less on holiday gifts this season, according to a survey by First Command Financial Services. They hope to do this by:

- Setting a maximum dollar amount on gifts (42%)
- Giving fewer gifts to each person (41%)
- Giving gifts to fewer people (39%)

I hope those people accomplish their goal, and I’ll be working toward it as well.

Will you be spending money differently this holiday season? How?