Faced with a stagnant U.S. economy, many consumers are cutting back on Christmas purchases this year. They’re also skipping movie nights and fancy restaurants in favor of Netflix movie rentals and home-cooked meals. U.S. consumers now put more into savings and are focused on covering the biggest expenses — groceries and gas.
With an unemployment rate consistently hovering around 9%, Americans are more mindful than ever before of spending, saving, job security and their futures. With that in mind, I think it's important to remember those in need this holiday season. Many of our friends and neighbors are going without this year, and too many people will go to bed hungry and cold on Christmas.
Yesterday, I spread the word about a new campaign called #GiveBeef, which focuses on donating healthy, nutritious beef to local food pantries, soup kitchens and churches during the holiday season.
Today, I would like to dive into the topic a bit further. According to a recent report  in the Des Moines Register, “Consumers already are paying more at the meat counter, particularly for hamburger. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, in the 24 months from October 2009, retail prices rose 31% for ground beef, 17% for chuck roast, 14% for USDA Choice sirloin, 27% for sliced bacon, 16% for pork chops, and 14% for ham.”
Yet, as Americans, we are still fortunate to spend less than 10% of our disposable income on food, which is quite low compared with other countries. However, that doesn’t make paying the grocery bill any easier. Please, remember to give the gift of beef this holiday season to help alleviate hunger among our fellow Americans this holiday season.
To help inspire this effort, I'm giving away a couple of prizes tomorrow. Prizes will include: one signed copy of "Levi's Lost Calf"  and a $100 VISA Beef Bucks Gift card , courtesy of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Auxiliary!
To enter, share your favorite Christmas recipe on yesterday's blog and answer today's question: Do you think the economy will rebound in 2012?