The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 26, 2013

Local shoppers talk spending on Christmas presents


TARBORO — It’s the day after Christmas … Santa has made his visits and all the presents have been unwrapped. The wallets and bank accounts of Americans are a little bit emptier. Some are facing the realization they spent ‘way too much money, while others stuck to their budgets.

Shoppers were expected to spend 3.9 percent more this year than they did last Christmas shopping season, for a total of $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

“I spent more this year. I had more people on my list this year,” said Norman Holder of Tarboro.

Holder said he doesn’t have a budget; he just spends money on presents until he gets “tired of spending.”

Paula Martin and Corby Bunting, both of Tarboro, made a budget and stuck to it this year.

“I probably spent about the same (this year). I’m also on a very tight budget,” Martin said. “It’s more about trying to find something that will mean something to the person I’m giving the gift to rather than the money spent.”

“I’m probably spending a little bit less this year. I don’t spend real extravagantly at Christmas anyway,” Bunting said. “I have a certain amount that I try to spend on each person and I’m usually able to stay within that … To me, the season is not about the money and not about the gifts. It’s more about time spent with family.”

Gerrelene Walker of Tarboro said she doesn’t make a Christmas budget, but doesn’t spend a lot on presents either.

“I just spend what I have,” Walker said. “I don’t have too many people to spend for. They tell me what they want and I try to fulfill it … What I get my children are things that are practical or for work. I just don’t get things that are unnecessary.”

Walker has two adult children – a son and a daughter.

Lisa Winstead of Tarboro said she spent more on Christmas shopping this year than last, and she might have spent more if it had not been for an app called “Santa’s list.”

“It’s a digital reminder of how much I already spent,” Winstead said. “It really kept me grounded.”

Winstead has two sons and two daughters, ages 18, 14, 11 and 9, and the older her children get, the more she spends on their Christmas gifts. She said she tries to spend the same amount of money on each child.

“I went over budget,” Winstead said. “I have less items than last year, but I spent more money for each child because of the costs associated with the items.”

Dave and Suzanne Sharpe of Crisp shopped for Christmas gifts this year mainly for their three children – Elizabeth, 20, Patrick, 18, and Stephen 16.

“I think we have spent a little bit more this year,” Dave Sharpe said. “High school and college kids, it takes a little bit more technology to make happy. We did get a kitten, too.”

The kitten, Zoe, was a gift for Elizabeth. If it’s the “right present” for a person, Dave said he and his wife try to get it.

Wanda Dabney of South Carolina said if she and her husband Ralph see something they think their grandchildren would like, they try to get it. She is visiting her daughter Taryl Holden of Macclesfield. Dabney has eight grandchildren.

“My husband and I don’t get much for each other, we spend it on the kids,” Dabney said. “I spent a little more (this year). They’re getting older and I spent a little more on each one of them.”