What most of the country calls the holidays, Wall Street bankers know as bonus season.
In just the first nine months of 2013, banks put away more than $90 billion to be doled out at the end of the year as bonuses, according to analysts at Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm. That's on top of whatever they siphon from the final three months, meaning bonuses are likely to total well over $100 billion this year.
Given that the financial system is supposed to efficiently allocate investments so that the economy grows at its maximum rate, the limp recovery is a sign the sector is not performing well, calling the generosity of these bonuses into question.
An online populist advocacy group, The Other 98%, is instead suggesting bankers donate their bonuses to charity or other housing-related endeavors in an effort to combat the housing crisis caused by the financial collapse.
"This holiday season, we have some free PR advice for the banks: Help end the homelessness they created. It is quite literally the least they could to," said Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street analyst and Occupy Wall Street activist who serves as communications director for The Other 98%.
More than 44,000 people have so far signed a petition advising the banks to do as the group suggests.