‘Tis the Season: Part 3

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Many consumers spend hundreds of dollars every year on the holidays.

"Statistically the average person will spend about $900 this year on Christmas," said Tony Walker, president of Walker Financial Services.

"We'll be preparing not just our homes and going shopping, baking, and buying gifts and that kind of thing," said Father Jerry Riney of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

This is leaving many saying this holiday has become too commercialed.

Walker said he too has noticed more spending during the seasons.

"There's a lot of causes for why people spend money and sometimes I would just ask people to question why they're spending so much money during the holidays," Walker said.

Missi Carini celebrates the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and said her children receive a gift every night during the eight days of their holiday.

"Though they want all the same things that every child in the world wants, 'can I have a Wii, can I have an Xbox,' those kinds of things, which is one of the reasons why as they became old enough we said, wait a minute, something's wrong with this. This is not what it's about," Carini said.

Carini also said a lot of times the gifts her children receive do pertain to the Jewish holiday in some way, but there is one night of Hanukkah that she has quit buying her children gifts, but for good reason.

"For my children, one of the things we believe is that we need to give back versus always receiving, so there's one night my children don't get gifts and they go out and purchase gifts for Toys for Tots and give that as a way of giving back, so that everyone can celebrate. They know those gifts aren't going to Jewish children but that's what they do," Carini said.

Riney said he has even noticed some of the families at Holy Spirit intentionally trying to cut back on the buying this year.

"To still have the focus on what Christmas is about, it's really tough to do that. It's really countercultural. We live in a society where we collect things, externals and we seem to get into that an awful lot and all it takes is looking at another country and how so many people in the rest of the world really live," Riney said.

Walker offers these tips this holiday season if you have decided to cut back on your spending.

"Maybe there's other things you can do that don't require money: being smart about what you buy people, making sure you pick out a more special gift, making a gift for somebody or possibly just donating to charity or doing things for other people but remember Christmas is not about the money," Walker said.

Meanwhile, a Gallup poll releasde just a few weeks ago, says four percent of people nationwide won't be spending anything this Christmas holiday and it is predicted that men will slightly outspend women.

For ideas on alternative gift giving this season, check out Alternative Gifts International and buynothingchristmas.org