Poll: Most Utahns plan to spend less on Christmas this year


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Hard economic times seem to be keeping many Utahns away from the malls this holiday season. In an exclusive Dan Jones poll for KSL and The Deseret News, we asked people what their plans were for spending money on themselves and their family this Christmas.

Poll: Most Utahns plan to spend less on Christmas this year

The younger families we spoke to say they're wary of the economy and plan to cut back this Christmas. Then we spoke to retired grandparents who don't depend on 401(k)s or stocks, who say they plan to spend more.

"My kids typically get an envelope from Dad, but it's the grandkids we have to spoil," Barry Bonham told us.

It's the same story for Gary Service. He says he's spending his money on the grandkids. "We're keeping the economy going," he said.

But Teresa Calkins told us, "We're going to try and watch what we're spending this year."

Poll: Most Utahns plan to spend less on Christmas this year

So are the majority of Utahns we spoke with in our exclusive Dan Jones Poll. In fact, 51 percent say they plan on spending less; 45 percent say about the same. Only a small percentage say they'll spend more.

Why the cutback? "Economy, my husband's employment; he's been unemployed for a while," Kathy Williams explained.

Samantha Xanthos told us, "Mostly were trying to save money, but also the economy really plays into that."

Poll: Most Utahns plan to spend less on Christmas this year

The majority of those polled said they're cutting back because they're saving more. Others simply have less money to spend.

But what will lure Williams to the stores, even if she plans on cutting back? "Great sales! If I can get something for a bargain, that makes me buy it, always!" she said.

Even though shoppers say the economy is one reason they're cutting back, hard times sure aren't dampening Utahns' spirit of charity. Our poll also shows 63 percent of Utahns plan to give about the same to charities as they did last year, 20 percent plan to give more than they did last year, and only 13 percent plan to give less.

Food bank lines are longer than they've been in years and the number of homeless teens has skyrocketed in the last few months. Governor Huntsman has issued a challenge. "Everyone can play a role in assisting and contributing something to the well-being of another human being," he said.

There are a lot of ways to help the less fortunate this time of year. One of the ways you can help is to donate food or money to one of the many charitable organizations like the Utah Food Bank. It means a lot to people like Michelle Dillman, who, like her husband, is out of work. "I think it's great and it's really needed. This is a real important time," she said.

E-mail: lprichard@ksl.com

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Lori Prichard

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