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Saving for Christmas


Back in the day, banks offered Christmas savings accounts, which allowed folks to regularly set aside some funds that would become available in time for Christmas purchases. The scheme is similar to certain types of education savings or retirement savings accounts that encourage saving for a particular purpose and impose penalties when one deviates from the goal (like withdrawing money early). These Christmas accounts have disappeared, as they were costly to banks and credit cards have clearly become popular substitutes.

FRED has some data on these Christmas savings accounts. The data points are a bit scattered throughout the years, though, much like ornaments on a tree. Along with the bright colors, this makes for quite a display! But each year has data points for June and December (at least), so we can see how the account holdings increase linearly throughout the year and reset at Christmas.

How this graph was created: Search for “Christmas savings,” select the series, and click “Add to Graph.” Then go to “Edit Graph”/”Format” to use FRED’s new palette, which lets you customize graphs with all your favorite festive colors.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: TIIPCCSSA


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