Christmas Coming Early in Region 8

October 4, 2007 - Posted at 9:04 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...ok, maybe not outside...but at least inside some stores here in Region 8.  Even though the holiday is still 81 days away, retailers and merchants are working to cash in on every second.

"Our sales have been tremendous already, it's kind of hard to get used to it when it's hot outside," said Hobby Lobby manager Larry Alley.

Jonesboro's Hobby Lobby store starts receiving Christmas merchandise in June and the store puts it out as fast as they get it...which is perfect for early bird shoppers like Judy Daniel.

"As a matter of fact I bought Christmas gifts in January last year and have got them in the closet. I start early!" laughed Daniel.

One of the hot new items this year is the upside down Christmas tree, which comes with its own stand.  A hot item for trendy families, but traditional folks are asking, where do you put the angel?

"I don't know how it's going to go over this year," said Alley, "I've had a lot of people who were real interested in it and I've had a lot of people who are traditionalist who didn't think they wanted to go that direction."

And even though the temperature outside is enough to melt doesn't mean it's too hot for a good sale.

"I love to decorate and I make a lot of my own stuff. We went to North Carolina this last weekend on vacation and I saw an arrangement that I liked that was outrageous. So I thought, I'll come to Hobby Lobby and make that myself for a lot less," said Daniel.

"It takes them a long time to do all of the craft items, building some of the craft things and wreaths and stuff like that they do for craft shows so a lot of the ornaments go on arrangements and stuff like that, which is why we get a lot of volume in that area," said Alley.

Many folks will wait until "Black Friday" or the day after Thanksgiving to get a start on their Christmas shopping, but that's not the most profitable day of the year for most stores.      Usually, it's the Saturday before Christmas.