When Christmas is delayed: With money tight, many expect better deals later

By Christina Rexrode

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

Danielle McCurley of Lacey, Wash., also is planning to postpone Christmas a couple days. She wants to wait until her financial aid check for her school tuition arrives so she can spend the extra money on gifts.

In normal years, McCurley would have finished her Christmas shopping weeks ago. But this year is different: After losing her job as a home health aide, McCurley, 32, returned to school to study social work this fall. Adding to that, her husband, Mario, was out of work for a year and a half, though he recently found a job as a security guard.

McCurley, who has three children ages 4, 5 and 11, thinks her youngest two won't really notice. Her oldest will, but she already bought his present: a secondhand netbook that she got for a third of the original price at $100. And she figures her mom, her three brothers and her husband won't really mind the late presents.

"They're adults," McCurley says. "I don't think they'll be too upset."

Meanwhile, Russell, the North Carolinian mom, isn't sure how her sons, ages 8 and 10, will react when they learn Christmas will come late for them.

Postponing the celebration is the only way Russell, a customer service worker, can manage to afford Christmas this year because she had to take two weeks off without pay recently when her youngest had his tonsils removed. She figures if she waits until after Christmas to go shopping, she'll be able to scrounge up money to buy each boy a video game, a board game and one piece of clothing.

"It might be a little upsetting to start with," says Russell, 41. "I'll tell them, 'I'm sorry Santa didn't come by today. Maybe he'll come by next week.'"

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