If you listen to eMarketer and other reports it would seem that Gen-Y is still spending in droves. A Maritz poll even found that Gen-Y saved Black Friday, showing that as a whole we spent more money that any other generation.
While there are quite many Gen-Y'ers who are spending their holiday with new big screen's, Wii Fits and some Paper Denims, some are taking the time to give back to their community, save some money on presents they can buy on any other day of the year or get in some quiet work hours for their startup.
I know, because I am doing all 3.
Tonight, I am hosting the 1st Rock For Hunger XMas Party for the Homeless in Downtown Orlando. We are serving our traditional Monday night meal and then showing Elf for all of our guests in the Middle of Lake Eola. We are very excited for it and hope that everyone who spends some time to share with others in need, will have a great experience as well.
My wife and I have also decided not to do presents. This may come as a shock, since anyone who knows me, knows that I like things, and getting new clothes, shoes and gadgets is usually at the top of my list. And really, that is just the thing. If Jen or I really want something, we grab it. On a Tuesday. We do not need to the holiday spirit to rack up credit card debt, we do that all year round. We really want the holidays to be about family and spending time with each other.
And then comes the time killer...the startup. While I could certainly take some time off and throw up the feet on the patio (its still in the 80's in Orlando) I would be doing myself and my company a discervice. In the last few weeks as companies have been getting in their new budgets, looking at goals and trends, our phones and emails have been off the hook with people taking their ad spend and looking at Social Media. And that stack of ideas and proposals will not get done with a Miller Lite in hand.
So, I wanted to see if there were any other Gen-Y'ers who were doing alternative things this holiday season and see their reason for it, be the economy, their job, their lifestyle, traveling, whatever it may be.
Here is some of what I found:
- Rock For Hunger supporter @peggg said that "I made gifts, volunteered, and made plans to have Christmas be focused on quality time with my mother"
- Lea Woodward of Location Independent said, "Hubs & I are not doing gifts, not eating trad Xmas dinner & will prob do some work too. It's not so Xmas-y here in Dubai"
- Holly Hoffman shouted back with "No travelling. No presents. Indian-style dinner. Working. ;)"
Now, this is no supreme research report, but rather asking some friends on Twitter if they had alternative holiday plans. I would gander to say that with the influx of emails I have for volunteering for the Rock For Hunger event tonight that many young professionals are looking to give back and help those in need this holiday season. There have been more layoffs, stock losses and startups going under in the last 6 months that it is hard not to know someone effected by the economic mess.
I remember a post from Ryan Healy a few months back on Gen-Y inheriting the Boomers debt. I think that there are players in Gen-Y who truly believe that we can make a difference. I do think that there are many more Gen-Y, however, that think that Cribs, Paris Hilton and the MTV-ness of celebrity are really important players in the way they view society and will spend every dollar they have and then some.
There is a preview I saw at the movies over the weekend for "Confessions of a Shopaholic." It's about a girl who thinks credit cards are magic and racks up a go-gillion dollars in debt and has to get a job to pay it off. Unfortunately, I think this is something that is very prevelant in Gen-Y'ers. Look at the success of My Super Sweet 16. Do you think that made any of the girls think about community service, national debt, poverty, green cars or any other relevant matter.
This is turning into more of a rant than anything. Get back on track.
With the abundance of Alternative Spring Breaks, I see trending towards Alternative Christmas's coming in the future. Locally, we have the Baby DJ Fund, that gives toys to underpriviliged kids in Orlando. They get most of the toys from fun happy hours and end of the year parties that require a toy for admission. This is a start.
If you are having an alternative XMas or Holiday Season, let me know. I want to see how young people are doing more than gift giving. And if you are only gift giving, well have fun and take lots of pictures.