I believe that we are very consumer-oriented, which is a hard habit to break. From an early age, commercials teach us "you want this" and "you need that."
The "immediate financial challenges" have made some of us, yours truly included, cut back on our spending for the SAKE of the future. I am relieved to be working at Taco Bell--it's a paycheck!--and have not spent money on anything that was not an absolute necessity for several months.
I hope that this recession teaches us to re-examine what is truly important in life. Maybe we can learn to ask ourselves: "Do I really need that new outfit or should I lay that money aside in case I have an emergency and need to cover the rent next month?" (Especially if you know you'll only wear it once.)
I know that not spending at all doesn't help the economy either. I grew up hearing stories about the Great Depression from grandparents. Maybe I'm too cautious as a result.
I think being "clearly focused on our future" entails some healthy caution but still re-vitalizing the economy by spending judiciously. Perhaps ONE present for each loved one this holiday season....