Brisk Wind Greets Holiday Shoppers

Jessica Sykes dragged somebody's Christmas present down a department store aisle. The bag was heavy. And she was tired. Blame that on five hours of non-stop holiday shopping that started at 6 am. "I'm an idiot," Sykes laughed. "I said I wasn't going to be one of these people. But I am this year."

Sykes had plenty of companionship on her day after Thanksgiving tour of South Mississippi stores.

Sissy Flowers was in her shopping group. "We've got a van load out there. You ought to see it," she said, referring to the gifts they already purchased. "We can't even get the door shut."

We followed Sissy Flowers' group to the van. Sure enough, the back of the van was packed with bags. "This is some," Sykes boasted. "This ain't all."

Check out lines around the coast were pretty busy. People like Annette Chandler had Christmas lists that had to be filled. "Yes we've done a lot today," the Biloxi woman said as she crossed another item off her list. "My daughter's at another store down the street. And I'm waiting on my boys to get here any minute. Kind of hitting everywhere."

The crowds really didn't surprise store managers. Randy Young expected this holiday season to be a merry one. "Everybody is just so optimistic about the economy and about their jobs," the Academy Sports store director said. "They're spending more."

National economists are expecting holiday sales to jump nearly six percent compared to last year.