Holiday Shopping Trends

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Some shoppers may be paying closer attention to price tags this holiday season. This year's gift giving trends may be slightly different than last.

Condy Carter spoils her grandkids year round, but she won't be going overboard on the gifts this Christmas.

“We’ll probably try to focus more on what Christmas is all about and not about the gifts. We'll probably cut back from what we've done in the past," said Carter.

Carter says high gas prices and two major hurricanes have made her take a closer look at how much she'll spend this holiday season.

“You only have so much money and you have to use it wisely and you don't want to go into credit card debt," said Carter.

The National Retail Federation predicts a five percent increase in sales this year. That's slightly down from last year. Still the federation predicts about $425 billion in total sales. But it expects fewer shoppers will be pulling out the plastic to pay for purchases.

“The predictions are that more cash and debit cards will be used simply because of the huge credit card debt," said Cheryl Bridges with Texas A&M's Center for Retailing Studies.

Gift cards are extremely popular. Researchers say more than 75 percent of consumers plan to purchase gift cards this holiday season. Shopping online is also gaining popularity as more and more consumers prefer the comfort of browsing for gifts from home.

But regardless of how the gifts are bought, many say it's how much is spent that has their undivided attention.

“It will probably be the same as every year even though gas prices have gone up and everything. I'll probably spend about $500," said holiday shopper Melanie Blum.

For the Carter family, it's not about the amount of the gift but the amount of love in the giving.

“True gifts are in relationships and family," said Carter.