All posts tagged: life skills

Navigating a “Blue Christmas”

How Rising Prices Impact Teen Holiday Spending

Author: Kelsey Matzinger
Junior Achievement USA
Published: November 15, 2023

It’s that time of year again, where the holiday season is upon us. However, for many teenagers, it seems that a “Blue Christmas” might be in store. According to our recent survey conducted by the research firm Big Village, over half of teens report that rising prices have had a significant impact on the number and types of gifts they’ve received during the holidays in recent years.

As the cost of living continues to rise, it’s no surprise that teens, just like their adult counterparts, are feeling the economic pinch. But what does this mean for their holiday spending and what steps can we take to support them during these trying times?

Teens’ Holiday Spending and Concerns

Inflation Concerns

It’s not just the impact of rising prices on their gift-giving that concerns teens. Nearly three-in-four, a whopping 71 percent of them, expressed worries about the effects of inflation on this year’s holiday shopping season. This is a considerable shift in perspective, as inflation typically remains a topic reserved for the financial discussions of adults.

How Teens Fund Their Holiday Shopping

Holiday Spending Money Sources

Teens rely on various sources to fund their holiday shopping. According to the survey, 71 percent of teens say they get holiday spending money from their parents or caregivers. It’s a common and expected source of funds for many teenagers.

What’s intriguing is that 19 percent of teens look beyond their families for holiday cash and opt for a different route—gig jobs or side hustles. These can include anything from delivering groceries to tutoring, illustrating a growing trend among teens to take matters into their own hands.

The Gig Economy and Age Restrictions

However, there’s a catch. Many gig jobs often come with age restrictions that prevent minors from participating. This presents a unique challenge for teens who seek financial independence through these opportunities. While work experience is undoubtedly valuable, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to be aware of these restrictions and encourage teens to explore age-appropriate work if needed.

Shopping Trends: In-Store vs. Online

In-Store Shopping

Despite the growth of e-commerce and online shopping, in-store shopping still holds significant appeal for teens. This year, 76 percent of teens plan to shop “in-store” for their holiday gifts. This number marks a slight decrease from 2021 when 81 percent preferred brick-and-mortar stores. The physical shopping experience remains a significant part of the holiday tradition for many teenagers.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has its place in the hearts of teens as well. This year, 67 percent of teens plan to shop online for their holiday purchases. This is a slight drop from the 70 percent who chose online shopping in 2021. The availability and convenience of online shopping options make it an attractive choice for many.

“These survey findings suggest that teenagers are dealing with the practical consequences of increased costs,” said Jack Kosakowski, CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “At Junior Achievement, we urge parents and caregivers to seize this moment by discussing essential topics such as holiday budgeting, savvy shopping, and inventive gift-giving strategies in the face of elevated prices. Also, while we emphasize the value of work experience, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to be cognizant of age restrictions associated with gig jobs and, when necessary, guide their teenagers toward age-appropriate work opportunities.”

How Junior Achievement Can Help

At Junior Achievement, we believe in equipping teens with essential life skills, particularly in the face of economic challenges. Teens today are experiencing the economic realities of higher prices, and we’re here to provide support and resources to help them navigate these challenges.

Our organization offers a valuable resource for money management skills—JA Connect. This free online resource is designed to help teens explore careers, entrepreneurship, and, most importantly, how to manage money. The “My Money” section of JA Connect guides teens through the process of developing a budget and planning their financial future.

In conclusion, the “Blue Christmas” phenomenon is one that we can work together to mitigate. By providing teens with financial education, guidance, and support, we can help them overcome the challenges posed by rising prices and continue to make their holiday dreams come true.

Let’s ensure that the “Blue Christmas” turns into a season of financial empowerment, learning, and positive growth for our teens.

Navigating a “Blue Christmas”
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Junior Achievement Partners with Synovus Bank to Deliver Financial Literacy Lessons

Support will also include work and career readiness and entrepreneurship lessons

City of Coconut Creek, Florida (October 19, 2022) — Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) is one of five local JA operations across the country participating in a partnership with Synovus Bank. Synovus recently contributed $250,000 to Junior Achievement USA through its Here Matters Community Fund to deliver lessons on financial literacy, essential life skills, work and career readiness and entrepreneurship to thousands of students in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The lessons will educate and empower children throughout their journeys toward a bright and successful future. The Synovus contribution was the bank’s first donation to a nonprofit since establishing the community fund.

Through this partnership, Junior Achievement of South Florida, alongside local Synovus Bank representatives, will determine which learning experiences best meet the needs of the Broward and south Palm Beach communities.

“Our research shows students are eager to learn about money, business ownership, and work and careers, but they often don’t know where to go for help,” said Laurie Sallarulo, President & CEO of Junior Achievement of South Florida. “With the commitment of Synovus, we will be able to help thousands of young people gain knowledge in these critical life skills.”

JA learning experiences depend on volunteers from partners like Synovus to help bring lessons to life for the students it serves. As part of Synovus’ community outreach program called Here Matters, Synovus team members will help teach JA programs in local schools.

“At Synovus, our purpose is to enable people to reach their full potential,” said Sean Simpson, Synovus’ FL Division CEO. “JA inspires young people to take charge of their financial futures, and we’re proud to partner with the nonprofit to strengthen communities and positively impact future generations.”


About Junior Achievement of South Florida

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) empowers our youth with the knowledge, ability and confidence to navigate their futures, drive our economy, and lead our community. JA provides real-world training in financial literacy including budgeting, spending, investing and the use of credit; offers cutting-edge skill-building opportunities that enable young people to explore meaningful, productive careers; teaches students how to start businesses; and introduces entrepreneurial values that strengthen workplaces. Last year, with the help of 7,100 trained corporate and community volunteers, JA delivered 20+ programs to over 69,000 students in classrooms throughout Broward and south Palm Beach counties and at JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion, a first-class facility housing JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. For more information about Junior Achievement of South Florida, visit Follow JA on social media @jasouthflorida.

About Synovus Bank

Synovus Bank, a Georgia-chartered, FDIC-insured bank, provides commercial and retail banking and a full suite of specialized products and services, including private banking, treasury management, wealth management, mortgage services, premium finance, asset-based lending, structured lending, and international banking through branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Synovus is a Great Place to Work-Certified Company and is on the web at, and on Twitter,Facebook,LinkedIn, andInstagram.

For More Information, Contact:

Christopher Miller, Senior Marketing and Media Production Manager
Junior Achievement of South Florida
(954) 979-7110

Junior Achievement Partners with Synovus Bank to Deliver Financial Literacy Lessons
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