With Economy Down, Consumers Nest

Submit your best "cocooning" activity.

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Are you spending more time on your sofa? Settling in with a good movie? Retreating to coziness is the new "painting the town red" as consumers try to deal with depleted investments and rising prices.

The futurist and business consultant Faith Popcorn has upgraded the trend she has previously identified as "cocooning" to "uber-cocooning" to signify the increased emphasis on home. According to her survey, almost 3 in 4 consumers say they spend "a good deal of time at home." Popcorn says that's because they view "home as the safe haven from the increasingly threatening outside world."

We're buying less—more than 80 percent of survey respondents said they were inclined to purchase "less stuff" now, largely because of budget pressures and rising food and gas prices.

The shift also dovetails with what Popcorn terms "cashing out"—the urge to simplify by cutting down on shopping and travel. She views the changes somewhat optimistically and says that while cutting back is painful, "we may emerge the better for it."

As someone with natural nesting inclinations, I tend to agree. But uber-cocooning need not be boring or solitary. It can involve hosting a game night for friends, inventing a new recipe, relaxing into at-home spa treatments, or countless other activities either planned weeks in advance or invented at the spur of the moment.

What are your best ideas for a night at home? Submit them below, and one person will be randomly selected to receive Jennifer Barrett's The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough. The only rules: It can't cost more than $20, and it has to take place primarily at home.