Among the top-selling Christmas gifts for 2013 are:
Beats by Dr. Dre headphones — retail price about $200, depending on what model you’re in the market for.
Paperwhite Kindle 3G — $120.
Furby Boom — $60.
Playstation 4 or Xbox One — about $600, depending on the bundle and games.
So, if you had all four in your shopping cart to make one or four children happy this holiday season, you’d spend about $980, before sales tax. And with that one shopping trip, you’d spend almost $200 more than the national average an American family plans to spend on Christmas presents each year.
That’s right: The average is about $801.
So put the headphones and the animated computerized doll back. After all, you have to save a little for the office Christmas gift exchange and a fruit basket for your favorite aunt. And then there’s stocking stuffers and gifts for the cousins and the nieces and nephews and your parents.
A study conducted by the American Research Group last month found that the average a family plans to spend is down 6 percent from last year’s total of $854. For the past decade, the research group has conducted this study, with the results between $800 to $1,000 except in the four years when families were hit hardest by the recession — 2008, $431; 2009, $417; 2010, $658; and 2011, $646.
Even then, $801 doesn’t seem like very much. But maybe that’s because I have three kids, and a similar study found that an average parent plans to spend $237 per child. OK, that’s a little more my language, or at least not quite as shocking.
But maybe I’m just not a smart shopper. The National Retail Federation said between online and in-store shopping, there was only 2.9 percent growth over last season. But the trade group still says that by the end of the season, there will be a 3.9 percent growth for the entire holiday shopping season.
Could be because people have budgets and are sticking to them.
An Ipsos poll during the Black Friday weekend found that 82 percent respondents stayed on budget or spent less this year, with more than half, or 58 percent, spending less than $200.
“They have gone online and done their product research, compared the prices; they know what store is carrying what item and at what price,” Sharon Banfield, executive director of media relations for shopping comparison site Pricegrabber, told Reuters. “People are still shopping, but they’re not splurging.”
When I saw that average figure, I have to say that I was a little shocked. But we wanted to know how our readers felt about that total. So we took it to the poll, the online poll we put up each week to ask our readers how they feel about the top-of-mind issues.
Last week, voters logged on to www.timeswv.com and responded to this question: “According to studies, the average American family plans to spend $801 on Christmas presents this year. How do you compare?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Are you kidding? I’ll spend way more — 23.73 percent.
• I’ll spend about the same — 26.27 percent.
• I’ll spend much less — 50 percent.
I’m an overspender, or at least I plan to overspend. I say we ask this question again in January, when the season is over.
But this week, let’s talk about Christmas again and those who feel like a war is being waged on it. Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
Among the top-selling Christmas gifts for 2013 are:
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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