AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Thursday is the first of December and the holiday shopping season is officially underway. However Americans are faced with high inflation and interest rates. How will this affect their spending habits?

The cost of living is up across the board with inflation, higher heating costs and record-breaking interest rates. Despite this, the national retail federation is predicting robust holiday retail sales, expecting a growth of 6% to 8% over last year. This is much higher than the average increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years.

And it appears these predictions are on point. Business owners and shoppers we spoke to say Christmas is back. The owner of Auntie Cathie’s kitchen said this past Thanksgiving was the busiest they’ve ever had. And the orders for Christmas treats having been coming in steadily.

“We had people calling for Christmas orders two weeks before Thanksgiving, so I think we are going to have another holiday-round two will be just as busy if not more than last year,” said Cathie Cappa, owner Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen.

Shopper like Sharon Lawler said they are not letting inflation become the Grinch to their Christmas gift-giving.

“I’m still buying. Still buying and getting the things I want. Yeah I am just being smart about it,” said Sharon Lawler from Enfield.

“We are very pleased so far. It’s been stronger than we’ve even hoped it could be this year and ahh business is brisk,” said Kate Gourde, shopkeeper Cooper’s Gifts

If the national retail federation’s prediction holds true, Americans will be shelling out between 940 and 960 billion dollars this year.