Parking spaces were at a minimum at 6 a.m. Friday as Black Friday holiday shoppers hit Bass Pro Shops in Aurelius. The morning after Thanksgiving is a big day for Christmas shoppers looking for bargains.

Glenn Gaston, Special to The Citizen

According to a new Siena College survey, Christmas cheer may be in the air, as excitement for the holiday season has increased among New Yorkers this year.

Eighty-five percent of people polled plan to celebrate Christmas and 'Merry Christmas' is still the top holiday greeting. One-third of New York residents still even say they believe in Santa Claus.

The ninth annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending, released by Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) on Monday, indicated that holiday celebrations will remain largely unchanged but estimate there will be an increase in holiday spending.

“With more than two-thirds at least somewhat excited about the holiday season, overall consumer sentiment up slightly from a year ago, and appreciably from 2014, spending may well exceed best-laid plans,” according to SCRI Director Don Levy, Ph. D.

Most people plan to keep their holiday budgets unchanged, however, the way they spend their money may be different. Online shopping is on the rise, as 60 percent of New Yorkers plan to do at least some online shopping this year and younger residents plan to do 75 percent or more of their shopping online. Half of New Yorkers plan to limit their gift budgets to under $500.

“By two-to-one New Yorkers say that, as much as they can, they will buy practical gifts more than splurging on special items. While we won’t be wrapping up coal, it is more likely we’ll see needs, rather than wants, under the tree,” Levy said.

Still, Levy estimates increases in holiday spending, “especially among affluent New Yorkers,” as 26 percent of those surveyed plan to spend over $1,000 on gifts.

This survey was conducted by SCRI Nov. 6-15 by random telephone calls made to 804 New York adults.

Staff Writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at 315-282-2244 or


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