It didn’t seem that way over Thanksgiving weekend at stores and restaurants in the area. Nationally, sales on Black Friday were up 6.6 percent over last year, according to ShopperTrak.
Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday consumer spending set records, people may not necessarily spend more money on holiday presents this year overall. Consumers may have just taken advantage of the best deals they thought they could get, some economic analysts surmise.
In fact, some local residents are trying to spend as little as possible.
Fairfax County resident Alicia Tyler told Patch, "We're trying to go present-less this year to save money. I'm sure that we'll end up giving gifts to a few folks, but we're not expecting much and we're really not planning on spending too much more than we have to."
Tyler’s thoughts were echoed by Robert Bradley, who said, "I don't plan on spending much at all. It's hard to justify spending money on gifts when you have bills to pay with that same money. It's like, Christmas is about giving, but it seems like it's more about just expecting gifts."
And some who are spending are putting more thought and effort into their choices this year.
"The only gifts I'm giving are gift certificates to local stores and more people should be like minded,” said Howard Connolly of Alexandria. “It's easy to find something for everyone you know, and from what I've seen so far, I know I'm going to end up saving quite a bit by limiting myself to $25 each. I also don't have children to buy for, but I imagine there are local toy stores that would love some extra business this year.”
But it is the holidays—and the spirit of giving is hard to crush, even in the hardest of economic winters.
"I'm lucky that I have some extra money around this time of year. I can really splurge on my loved ones. Out of any time of year, this is the only time you can justify spending a little more than you ought to. For extra Christmas joy,” Gene Whittwood, of Alexandria, said.