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Will Grinch Steal Christmas

POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - 10:10am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:25pm

Survey: Most plan to spend less this holiday...

As stores put out their holiday decorations to help set the mood, will shoppers take out their wallets to start spending money?

Initial figures say it's unlikely.

"This year a National Retail Federation survey found that the economy will impact about two-thirds of americans during the holiday season," said Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation.

One year after many were surprised by the crashing economy, tighter budgets have become commonplace.

The study shows U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $682. This holiday, that’s down from $705. Last year.

More than half say sales and low prices are their priority, but you may not find the big bargains of last year.

Retailers have cut back on inventory.

In September, traffic at the nation's ports was down to levels not seen since 2003.

Many will spend less on gifts for friends and co-workers, and more say, this year, they'll be shopping at thrift stores.

"Five years ago, you wouldn't really have heard of many people going to a goodwill or a salvation army to buy gifts, but times are tough, and that's what people are doing," Davis said.

Most people say they will do whatever they can.

"She still buys, but it's not going to be what it normally is," said consumer Thomas Densmore.

And many are starting that shopping now, knowing the hottest items may not stick around in a year when inventory and budgets are smaller.

But most say, the need for some holiday happiness is bigger than ever.

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