Is Family Bonding This Year's Gift of Choice?

December 2 2009, 11:06 AM

$50 This year marks the second holiday season of an economic downturn in which many families are struggling to pay down debt and remain worried about their jobs---if they are employed. As such, the days of showering loved ones with decadent gifts are out and family bonding is in, writes The Denver Post, in a trend that might just survive after the economy turns around. Eighty percent of Americans will use cash to pay for the holidays this year, and cash usually translates into less spending. Indeed, it seems, the era of credit cards is coming to a close. Climbing interest rates, lowered spending limits, and canceled accounts mean fewer people are apt to rely on credit this year, The Wall Street Journal points out. If you decide to give someone cash for the holidays---or a gift card---chances are they'll use it to pay for gas, groceries, or some other mundane household expense, according to a Western Union-sponsored poll cited by the Denver Business Journal. Moreover, about half of respondents say they know someone who wants cash to help them with expenses.