It's starting to look a lot like cash, er, Christmas...

So who's planning on just spending cash this Christmas and cutting up their credit cards or putting them in a drawer? Raise your hand.

Anyone?

Well, according to a recent MSNBC.com story, that's what a lot of people are doing this holiday season.

While the story is well-written and a generally good read, I'm not sure their subhead "Fed up, some consumers are paying with cash instead of plastic" is breaking news any longer. But there were some nuggets of interesting takeaway information, namely:

  • According to Consumer Reports, 13.5 million people -- 6% of consumers -- are still carrying debt from last year's Christmas shopping season.

  • And that number, I suspect, would be even higher if it weren't for this salient fact: Outstanding debt has fallen for 13 straight months, according to the Federal Reserve. The nation's consumers owed $975.2 billion in credit card debt in September 2008; now we collectively owe $888.1 billion. Whatever you think of that number, it is an improvement.