In 2011, an Associated Press story brought “Layaway Santas” to our attention, and ever since then the phenomenon has been growing. Our struggling economy has made it increasingly difficult for thousands of families across the country to afford holiday gifts. This has caused the growth in popularity of layaway services, which allow customers to pay off holiday shopping balances bit by bit over several weeks. The store holds onto the merchandise until the balance is paid in full. If the balance is not paid, the gifts go back on the shelves instead of in the hands of excited children.
Although layaway is useful for paying off holiday expenses in a structured and budget-friendly way, the final payments are usually the most difficult for families to afford. Most of these final payments are due Friday, December 13th or sometime around this date. This is when most of the Layaway Santas pay their visits, looking for balances which aren’t paid off yet. Some pay off balances under a certain dollar amount, for example $100, in order to help as many people as they can. The layaway clerks call up the customers to say that their balance is paid off and they can come pick up their gifts. The donations and the Santas remain completely anonymous.
This recent phenomenon shows that even when times are tough, people are still able to show amazing generosity and selflessness. If you are looking to do some giving this holiday season, make sure to visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance to find trusted national and local charities and donors.