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Gallup Poll: 57 percent of Americans do not Enjoy Christmas Shopping

Aired December 15, 2000 - 1:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. retailers are hoping for a surge in holiday shopping this weekend. Every year at this time, shoppers fill up the stores looking for last-minute gifts; but that doesn't mean they always enjoy the experience.

The Gallup organization has been looking at consumer attitudes toward holiday shopping; and Gallup Poll editor-in-chief Frank Newport joins us now from Princeton with more about that.

Hello, Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Hello, Lou; indeed, you're right.

If you're out shopping this weekend, as I know you will be, and see some glum, stressed faces at the mall, don't be surprised. Our data show that, interestingly, Americans aren't all happy about the gift-giving aspect of the holiday Christmas season.

First of all, we'll just show you a basic question, which simply says: "Do you enjoy Christmas shopping or not?"

And here's the results: 57 percent of Americans said no, they do not. It's supposed to be a joyous time, where you're giving things to other people and all of that -- but look at that: six out of 10 Americans say bah-humbug when it comes to shopping.

This may not shock those who have stereotypes of the genders in their minds here, but men are the ones who particularly don't enjoy shopping -- 2/3 of men said they don't like. Even women, though, break even in terms of liking or not liking what they do at this time of year.

There's no question about it, we said: "Is Christmas too commercialized?" A huge number, traditionally, always say yes to that question. Another way of getting at it: "What about the emphasis on gifts at Christmas that we have in the United States at this time? Well, 84 percent of Americans say there's too much emphasis on that, and just a very small percent either say not enough or about the right amount.

Now here's a very interesting trend for you. We asked about six years ago, how would you handle it if there were no gifts whatsoever at Christmas -- what would you think about that? And back then just 28 percent said they would enjoy it more, but look what's happened. When we just re-asked that question, it splits even. In other words, many Americans now said they would like it just as well if there were no gifts at Christmas -- actually like it more, as say that they would like it less if there were no gifts at Christmas.

Christmas, after all, is a religious time of year; celebrating for Christians, the birth of Christ. Is there too much, too little emphasis on that aspect of it? Well, overwhelmingly, here, 75 percent of Americans, not surprisingly, say there's too little emphasis on what Christmas should be all about, so they tell us -- and that is the religious aspects of it.

All in all, Americans may be shopping, as we pointed out, but not necessarily happy about what's going on.

Lou, Natalie, back to you in Atlanta.

WATERS: OK, Frank, meet you at the mall looking glum.

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