A Christmas for Scrooges

Caroline Cohn

            With the present economic conditions, many families are more anxious than excited for the upcoming holiday season.  Parents are worried about affording the presents their children have come to expect, and many are concerned about making ends meet throughout the winter without having to worry about gifts. 

            A surge in the number of people applying to be recipients of charitable organizations, such as Toys for Tots, which donate presents to children in families in need is evidence of parents’ growing concerns this holiday season.

            Financial relief does not seem likely in 2009 either.  Many considerate employers are keeping employees through the holidays, but numerous layoffs can be expected in the New Year.  With many people uncertain about their future employment, families are preparing for the worst—starting with this holiday season.  Though much hope has been placed in president elect Obama to revive the economy, the nation’s market still remains in a very precarious state.  Americans unable to discern whether or not the proposed bail out plans and stimulus packages will truly better the economy are increasingly anxious about their individual financial situations.

            With the economic state as it is, there is also uncertainty about whether or not many stores and businesses will survive the holiday season, which is typically supposed to be a time of prosperity for businesses.  In the Walpole area alone, three new shopping centers have already sprung up or are beginning construction soon.  Patriot Place, expansion of the Walpole Mall, and a new mall in Dedham at the site of the Dedham Cinema were all business ventures that were iffy when they were proposed, but their ecomomic futures are surely in a worse state now.

            Despite these fears, however, many Americans are nonetheless spending money as though there were not a recession occurring.  Black Friday, which was expected to be an indication of the severity of the economic crisis, actually saw shoppers flocking to stores in similar numbers and spending as much money as previous years.

           Only an end to the economic recession will reveal how this holiday season has affected us, but one may expect to see many more Scrooges this year tightening their purse strings.