Fiscal Cliff And Disaster Taint The Christmas Season

The Christmas season is a time of holiday cheer, or at least it should be. With recent events and our economy, that cheer has been significantly subdued.

Christmas shoppers were out as usual, packing the shopping centers, but the dollars spent have been more sparing. Between storms and economy woes, this season has taught us to be a little more careful with hard-earned dollars we might not get back.

Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm with a network of analysts at shopping centers nationwide, calculates customer traffic over the weekend was the same as it was a year ago, but the dollars were not, says ABC Local.

Cohen says of the situation:

“There was this absence of joy for the holiday. There was no Christmas spirit. There have been just too many distractions.”

A stalemate between US Congress and the White House over the US budget could trigger a series of tax increases and spending cuts starting January 1, making many shoppers wonder if they’ll even have a job next year.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was bad enough, but combine this with Hurricane Sandy, the impending dockworkers’ strike along the east coast, and the Fiscal Cliff, and you have a genuine maelstrom of potential collapse across the nation.

The Armageddon theorists almost gave us a way out, but that never happened. It is now the 24th of December and we’re still here.

Mall stores tried to boost our confidence and spending by hosting more sales, but, for Wendy McCloskey of Lebanon, Indiana, who went Christmas shopping Sunday at the Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis, it wasn’t enough. She commented:

“I was so surprised. I figured they’d have better deals.”

Christmas shopping

And at The Garden State Plaza in New Jersey, Linda Fitzgerald said she didn’t feel like shopping this Christmas season, facing a sister’s cancer diagnosis alongside worries about the economy and the Connecticut shooting, states USA Today.

Fitzgerald, a 51-year-old nurse from Yonkers shopping with her 17-month-old granddaughter in tow said:

“It’s so hard to put yourself in the mood.”

Perhaps if America can pull itself out of this recession in time, we’ll look back on this Christmas season as a time of financial hardships that taught us to value what we have.