Snowflakes softly wafting through the air, the Parade of Lights, midnight mass – all of these things embody the joys of the Christmas/holiday season. But, let’s be honest, it’s the piles of presents that cause children-of-all-ages’ eyes to light up.

With Black Friday approaching, the Denver Business Journal asked its readers to gauge their plans for holiday gift spending – will you be increasing or decreasing your overall holiday gift spending this year?  As of right now, at noon, over 54% of respondents plan to spend less this year than last, according to the survey sponsored by Spencer, Fane & Grimshaw.

This must be disappointing to the businesses who claimed to need five times the number of seasonal employees as last year, as cited by analysts Challenger, Gray, and Christmas.  The Peak reported back in September:

“…the yearly totals of planned hires in September 2012 (585,685) is already above the total in 2011 (537,572).  But, this only can be attributed to the September 2012 planned hires outlier of 425,000 new jobs.  If the last four months of 2012 planned new hires are flat with 2011, for the year, we would be down almost 140,000 jobs for the year.”

With the flurry of news following the election of planned layoffs and then, the Hostess debacle, families are still feeling the economic pinch.  But, the private sector is doing fine, right Mr. President?