The shopping ticker feed is doing double-time as sales reports stream in from sea to shining sea. The carolers are singing "Oh come all ye shoppers" while investors keep close tabs on retailers to see if the season will leave them with a few sugarplums in their portfolios. As mom and dad keep checking their portfolios, kids are sneaking around the house looking for the loot.
And us? We're not proud of our behavior, but we've been poking around to see how much the Joneses are shelling out this holiday season.
According to the annual Myvesta Holiday Survey, Uncle Otto up North is feeling flush this year. Results from the telephone survey of 1,000 people reveal that those in the Northeast will spend an average of nearly $1,200 to celebrate the season. Out West, the purse strings pulled tight -- the average gift-giver will spend just $574. (Guess Cousin Callie isn't getting us that plasma TV this year.) Families in the Midwest and the South are neck and neck with their holiday budgets at $814 and $824, respectively.
Along the gender divide, Mars and Venus are seeing nearly eye to eye. Women surveyed say they plan on spending an average of $792 on holiday gifts, while their sweeties will splurge on $882 of thoughtfully researched and meticulously picked out presents. Hitched holiday revelers have budgeted $889 for gewgaws -- about $140 more than their single counterparts.
Who's the biggest holiday spender? Those in the 25-34 age range have earmarked a generous $1,249 for stuff.
So what are we hoping to find under the tree on Christmas morning? How about a cheerful card that says, "Your gift was paid for in cash."