Ho, ho, ho! Sears and Kmart start a Christmas Club

I have to applaud Kmart, and its parent company, Sears. They're sympathetic to recession-challenged customers.

Kmart started promoting its layaway program in a big way last year right about the time the economy tanked, and now Kmart and Sears are both promoting a new Christmas club.

You probably know what a Christmas club is. Any credit union has them. You open an account and put money in it all year, and near the end of the year, they'll send you a check with a little interest on top. The main attraction isn't the interest so much, but the fact that you've been saving up for Christmas and don't have to wonder where to get the money to buy your family and friends gifts.

Well, Kmart and Sears are doing the same thing. Of course, the money you put into this Christmas club has to be spent at Sears or one of its companies, which means you can also use it at Kmart, Lands' End and The Great Indoors. And if that doesn't appeal to you, then obviously, don't do it, or find a neighborhood credit union and start a Christmas club fund through there.

The basic details are as follows: activate an account between now and October 31, and start putting money into it. If you do, you'll earn 3% on your money -- up to a maximum of $100 -- up to whatever you put in there until November 14.