It hasn't always been the case that the news media obsessively covered the Christmas shopping season. I'm thinking maybe for the past 15-20 years or so. But in all that time, I don't think I ever heard someone say "Wow! We're selling crap like there's no tomorrow and we expect a record year!". Not once. Instead, every report is all doom and gloom with retailers seeing anything from "disappointing results" to "the worst Christmas retail season ever".
Now why do you think that might be?