Lingering holiday balances are just one example of how economic uncertainty is hovering over the country this holiday season. Those still carrying debt are among the 61.7% of consumers who told the National Retail Federation that economic conditions would be making their holiday shopping a little less merry this year. Of that group, 81% will be spending less, 40.6% will be using coupons more often and 31.5% will forgo buying new holiday decorations this season. Let that dark, dead section of lights on your porch or in your apartment this year stand as a symbol of your shame.

--Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.

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