How To Cope With Holiday Recession

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

With the holidays fast approaching, shoppers nationwide are looking for easy, affordable and meaningful ways to give gifts to friends and family. Americans stressed at crowded malls are also trying to find ways to add significance to the holidays. So World Vision, an international aid organization working with children and families, offers Americans some alternatives to cope with the holidays as the recession deepens.

According to a recent World Vision gift-giving survey, four out of five U.S. adults prefer to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season. More than seven out of ten Americans plan to spend less on gifts but almost half of those surveyed say that given the current economic climate, they're now more likely to give a "charitable gift," something that helps other people instead of a traditional gift like clothing or home electronics.

Top Five Ways to Help Your Family Cope with Holiday Recession:

1. As a family, select a charitable organization that you'd like to support, and make a donation online.


2. Consider do-it-yourself gifts (for teachers or friends) that you can make with your children.

3. Lend a hand to a neighbor or shut-in by shoveling their sidewalk or delivering hot chocolate.

4. Give the gift of your time and set aside a few hours to volunteer as a family at your local charity.

5. Buy gift certificates for friends to do family-friendly activities like going to the movies or ice-skating.

World Vision's Devin Hermanson is seeing a return to meaningful giving through World Vision's Gift Catalog, where sales are running ahead of 2007. "The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cookies to bake, and family to visit but as the economy struggles, let's remember our friends and neighbors in need," says Hermanson.

For each item in World Vision's Gift Catalog, the giver makes the purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact. Last year alone, World Vision's Gift Catalog raised $21 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people worldwide. Gift Cataloglaunched in 1996 and while a goat ($75) may be World Vision's number one seller, many affordable items are under $35.