Undeterred by America's war and national talk of a recessionary economy, the first wave of shoppers hit Carson City's streets Friday for Day One of the holiday shopping season.
Shopper Lisa Roberts braved a packed parking lot at the South Carson City Wal-Mart and made her way in to take advantage of the store's sale on bicycles. By 11 a.m. she was happily wheeling a red BMX out to her car. The Christmas Day recipient: her 6-year-old son.
"There's a lot of sales this year," she said. "Last year somebody got a little bit excited and ran into my leg. At least it didn't happen again this year."
Roberts, a Dayton resident, said she has no plans to curtail spending this year, and anticipates her son's Christmas will again be bountiful.
"I plan to do a lot of shopping at Toys R' Us" in Reno, she said. "We went through the entire store and he pointed things out. I have a list in my head."
The toys that stand out to Roberts will keep her son busy as she tries to get work done around the house.
"I'm getting in the mood early this year," she said.
At the Carson Mall, the pace was slower, but merchants at the annual craft fair were reporting favorable crowds.
Camille Souders, who presides over a table of stained-glass crafts, said crowds started to roll in about noon after shoppers hit the box stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Super Kmart. Even on the fair's first day, she said the number of customers has been fair compared to previous outings, considering the circumstances of a slowing economy.
"This is a three-day show and I will be here through Christmas," she said. "Of course they are going to go to Wal-Mart first, but they will come.
"So far it has been pretty good."
Carson City's Joy Porteur made it a point to come to the craft fair to get away from the department-store crowds and generic merchandise.
"I like unique things," She said, looking over Santas and Christmas-themed gifts made by Lucia Nash. "I have so much stuff, but this is the type of thing you want to give people at Christmas."
It has been the same story at Lofty Expressions, a gift store in Telegraph Square.
Shoppers walking into the store were greeted by the smell of Christmas-time cinnamon, and hundreds of knickknacks to decorate the tree.
"We're all banking on a wonderful Christmas," said owner Doreen Mack, who is also president of the Downtown Merchants Association.
"I travel around the country looking for unique items."
Mack expects ornaments to be among the best sellers. A recent store expansion and a feature story on Channel 4's Hot Spots has brought new traffic.
"People come in to see what we have to offer. It's about making it a vital business community."