Easter spending on the riseIf you're looking for signs that our chilly economic situation is beginning to thaw, you may want to check out the family Easter basket.

According to figures recently released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer will be spending more on everything to do with Easter this year. We're talking not just Easter candy, but clothing, greeting cards, decorations and flowers -- the whole shebang. The NRF's Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey concluded that people will be spending, on average, $118.60 this year, compared to $116.59 a year ago.
Overall, the NRF predicts we'll spend $13.03 billion this year on Easter, up from $12.73 billion in 2009.

If you're curious, breaking it down into major categories, the average American says they'll spend:
  • $17.29 on candy
  • $18.16 on gifts
  • $19.03 on clothing
  • $37.45 on food
  • $7.84 on flowers
  • $6.34 on decorations
  • $6.30 on greeting cards
Men generally spend a little more than women for the Easter holiday. But college students and people in the 18- to 24-year-old category spend the most: The research suggests that when they come home from college or their jobs during an Easter break, they feel compelled to bring home gifts.

So things are looking up, but maybe not as high as in 2008, when the recession had started but nobody had noticed yet. That year, Americans averaged $135 on their Easter purchases. While we're nowhere close to that number, still, up is up, and any good news is good news.

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