For some businesses in Columbia County, it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
At Ace Hardware in Evans, many of the Christmas decorations have been on display since the first of November.
"We normally try to do it about two weeks before Thanksgiving, but this year we kind of started a little bit earlier because everyone else in the area started putting stuff out, so we just went ahead and followed with the trend," said co-manager Blake Winfrey.
The store, located at 4532 Washington Road, sells a variety of hardware supplies along with clothing and boots.
Though many financial advisers are predicting a slow holiday shopping season because of the national economic downturn, Winfrey said people already have started their Christmas shopping and have purchased decorations for their homes.
And for many families, no Christmas would be complete without toys for the youngsters.
At Learning Express Toys, owner Trey Allen said he has added a storage unit and a temporary storage container full of extra inventory to the back of his business located next to Academy Sports in Evans.
Learning Express Toys specializes in educational-based toys, Allen said, but also carries traditional products for children.
He said he started preparing for the holiday season in June and has increased his store's inventory by 40 percent.
Because of the nature of his business, Allen said he's not too worried about the economic effect on Christmas sales.
"People will generally take care of their children for Christmas," he said.
He said customers started Christmas shopping at his store in early November and predicts the Plasma Car, a ride-on vehicle for kids, along with personalized products and musical-related items will be popular gifts this year.
"I have hopes that I (will) exceed last year's sales," he said.
Other stores have taken a different approach to the holiday season.
Darryl Peck, owner of PeachMac across from Club Car on Washington Road, said Christmas decorations won't be up in his new store probably until after Thanksgiving.
"We like keeping Christmas the neat and tidy thing that it is," he said.
But PeachMac, which opened in Evans about a month ago, is conducting a pre-holiday event Friday through Sunday.
Though he's not sure what type of sales to expect this holiday season because of the economy, Peck said Christmas remains one of the busiest buying seasons at the store, which also has an Athens location.
"People are still going to have Christmas," he said. "There's no question about it."
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