The economy that stole Christmas

The jury is still out on whether the spirit of giving will be dampened in Trail.

Although a failing economy may be turning on the Grinch this Christmas across Canada, the jury is still out on whether the spirit of giving will be dampened in Trail.

A recent Harris/Decima survey for World Vision reported just 38 per cent of Canadian adults polled were more likely to give charitable gifts as holiday presents. In Trail, recent years of the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign have shown otherwise.

One week before Trail Salvation Army begins its annual kettle campaign — a big fundraiser for the national organization — Major Wilf Harbin of the branch said as the Canadian economy has worsened, Trail has remained an island of giving.

Over $27,000 was raised in Trail last year — just above its season average of $25,000 — but the ailing economy, the results of several pre-Christmas polls and uncertainty as the campaign in Trail prepares to kick off Nov. 24 have Maj. Harbin hanging his kettles with care.

“That’s the whole crux right now, the economy is not doing well,” he said.

Another report he received this week is touting that Canadians will spend much less this Christmas than they did last year.

“The last few years have been really good to us … even though the economy was doing poor last year,” he said. “But the economy does well in Trail. We do have (Teck) that keeps us going and that insulates us from much of the turmoil.”

Four kettles manned by nearly 100 volunteers (not all at once) will be at Wal Mart, the Waneta Plaza, the liquor store near Safeway and on Pine Avenue in front of Shoppers Drug Mart starting Thursday, Nov. 24.

As bleak as the picture may seem in Canada, it pales in comparison to the US. where charitable gifts as holiday presents are significantly less (13 per cent).

Canadians still maintain they would prefer to receive a gift that would help someone else (74 per cent in 2011 versus 73 per cent in 2010), but the number who actually received a charitable gift has declined by five per cent (23 per cent in 2011 versus 28 per cent in 2010).

As well, Canadian adults report a three per cent decline (55 per cent in 2011) in having given a charitable gift to someone else.