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Requests from Santa unchanged in bad economy

Excerpt

The following is from the December 21, 2010, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. SMU Marketing Professor Daniel Howard provided expertise for this story.

December 21, 2010

By Arielle Kass
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Six-year-old Ben Cass lucked out. Santa's been watching him, and he likes what he sees.

"He said I was on the good list," Ben said earlier this month after leaving Santa's lap at Town Center at Cobb.

Ben was pretty confident that Santa would manage to find the Nerf guns and pillow pet that he had requested. After all, the Wii games and Legos he wanted last year came without any trouble.

But Ben's father, Steve Cass, said that in the third Christmas of a down economy it has been harder for Santa to get everything Ben and his sister, 3-year-old Lexi, want. . .

Christy Powell, a teacher, said this year has been more difficult because of continued cuts in the schools.

"Who knows? This year we'll have to see what Santa brings," she said. "The Wii games are a little more practical. Some are pre-owned; some, Santa gets new."

Parents such as Powell are becoming more creative in the recession, said Daniel Howard, a professor of marketing at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In addition to finding some items used, they are saving money by downscaling the stores they frequent or waiting for sales.

Howard said while parents are spending more this year than last — indeed, a strong start to the holiday shopping season led the National Retail Federation to revise its spending estimates upward; it now expects holiday spending to rise by 3.3 percent over last year — the unemployment rate remains high and people are still feeling the effects of the recession on their wallets.

Still, parents often try to please their children by getting them what they ask for, said Howard.

Read the full story.

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