Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, but that isn’t stopping local merchants from getting ready for the Christmas shopping rush that follows turkey day.
While published reports indicate the day after Halloween generated better than average sales throughout the United States, it is, traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the Christmas shopping season.
The feelings about the shopping season are mixed this year, however.
Linda Goodnight, owner of The Candle Shop located at 377 Highway 51, Batesville, said she is expecting a good Christmas this year.
"The numbers are up so far this season," she said. "I really think that is a trend that will continue once the major shopping starts off in the next few weeks."
Goodnight admits the holidays have come as a surprise this year.
"We aren’t finished decorating yet," she said. "But there are people who are already doing some of their shopping."
Goodnight said she also believes the cooler weather will prove to help increase sales this year.
"Last year it was a little warm for this time of year," she said. "I really think with the weather cooling off people are going to feel a lot more of the Christmas spirit.
"Last Christmas was better than the year before and I hope that happens to us again this year," Goodnight said. "It has been a good year all around. I know some people are saying it has been an off year, but I really don’t have any complaints."
Mark Smith of Plaza Jewelers located at 102 Highway 51, said he expects a later start to the Christmas rush this season.
"We are already getting a lot of lookers, but I am expecting that they will come back, it will just be later," he said. "Even though our shopping rush has been later the last few years, I am optimistic about what the season holds."
Smith said one reason he is expecting the later shoppers is because they want to put more thought into their gifts this year.
"People are really thinking hard this year," he said. "I think people are looking for that special gift that will have a lot of meaning to the person getting it."
And what about shopping at one of the biggest retailers in the area?
Well, Lisa Heafner, manager of the Factory Stores at Batesville said she doesn’t know exactly what to expect.
"Our traffic count is up from last year," she said. "I believe that our two temporary stores, Wilson’s Leather and KB Toy Express, are helping in that department."
Heafner said in an effort to help her tenants’ holiday business, the mall will begin observing longer operating hours.
"From Dec. 9- Dec. 23, we will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," she said. "We think that extra hour could be a big help to everyone out here."
Heafner added that while she is hopeful the mall’s business will increase, she understands there is only one way for that to happen.
"If any store in the area hopes to see an increase over last year, people are going to have to start shopping at home," she said. "That will make all of the difference in the world."