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Holiday shopping could reach record sales this year

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:00 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For holiday shoppers yet to check anything off your list, you’re falling behind. Consumer surveys show about half of Americans started their Christmas shopping before November. The National Retail Federation says this year will see record retail sales.

Michelle, a shopper at Paramount Antique Mall, is almost finished buying for those on her Christmas list.

“I start early,” Michelle said. “My oldest sister, when she was alive, she started and was usually done by June or July, so I got her trait.”

Starting early is a wise choice this year.

“With everything going on, it may be hard to get things,” Michelle said.

Also making her way through vendors is Julie Craig. She said she enjoys the selection of “a lot of Christmas decorations and a lot of Hot Wheels, which are available at the antique mall, along with plenty of vintage toys.

Searching for those unique and meaningful gifts helps bring joy to her grandkids and family.

“I like to shop for my sisters,” Craig said. “They all like antiques and we all grew up with the same things, and that’s what we exchange for Christmas.”

The National Retail Federation says, this year, U.S. shoppers will spend an average of $648 on gifts, down slightly from the last few years.

“The holidays, we get so caught up in it, and it’s almost designed for us to spend money,” Consumer Credit Counseling Service Executive Director Jeff Witherspoon said.

A survey by creditcard.com also shows about half of Americans plan to keep their holiday budget consistent with last year. At the same time, about four in 10 Americans are willing to go into debt to finance this spending.

Witherspoon advises shoppers to be careful and prioritize where their money is going.

“Don’t get into trouble,” Witherspoon said. “They say the average person takes four months to pay off their bills after Christmas. You know, maybe this year you don’t do it.”

Witherspoon says what he most treasures is the priceless time together – more than the gifts. At the antique mall, shoppers say sometimes it’s worth spending a little more cash for the joy it brings.

“For some antique things, you might pay a little more,” Craig said. “But they’re hard-to-find things.”

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