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Extravagant jewelry: no way. Latest must-have gadget: not sure. A gift that will help others: definitely. According to two separate surveys released in November, Santa’s wish list is looking different this year.

Almost 6 out of 10 adults (57 percent) plan on spending less on presents this year, researchers at Harris Interactive found when conducting a study of just over 1,000 adults commissioned by World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization.

And instead of that new watch or iPod, 76 percent of those surveyed said they would rather receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else—with 95 percent stating that the focus this year should be on helping children in need. Most people—74 percent—also indicated that they plan on increasing their charitable contributions once the economy is back on track.

The World Vision study coincides with the results of an extensive survey of more than 8,000 adults conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and research powerhouse BIGresearch. As reported by Reuters, researchers found that fewer shoppers planned on making extravagant purchases this year. Instead, 54.3 percent said they were going to buy gift cards, up from 53.5 percent the previous year.

The NRF study also discovered that more shoppers than last year—9.1 percent more—plan on using cash instead of credit. Credit card usage is also expected to decline, with 10 percent fewer shoppers than last year using plastic to pay for holiday purchases.

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By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles

is a credentialed minister and freelance editor living in Sacramento, Calif.
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