A survey of 2,082 Americans aged 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive for the online financial services firm Think Finance, found that 43 percent want to "skip" the holidays due to financial limitations. Fifty-four percent of "underbanked" consumers cited "financial strain." Millions of Americans do not have enough money to pay for gifts, decorations, food, beverages, parties, or holiday travel.
The American Research Group found that the average U.S. household will spend $801 this holiday season, almost double the amount spent in 2009 during the recession. Thirty-two percent of the Harris Interactive respondents said that they "don't have enough money in the bank" to pay for holiday expenses, and 36 percent said they planned to cut their holiday presents budget to make Christmas "more affordable." Seventy-two percent expect to carry debt over into January because of holiday spending, and 51 percent say that their financial institutions do not care about them. Although the survey results may be disheartening, a Christmas season with less spending may be more helpful for Americans in a time of weak economic growth and lower annual incomes.