COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — With Thanksgiving falling so late on the calendar, this is the shortest holiday shopping season since 2002—and that has stores opening earlier than ever.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the holiday shopping frenzy.

There are just 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now people are getting a head start.

The lists are made and how the rush is on to get those presents under the tree.

“I just wanted to get a head start on some of the things,” said shopper Debbie Ray.

And shoppers will be able to cash in on bargains early.

“Now the stores are opening a lot earlier so I think people are going to have to skip their turkey and come to the stores,” said shopper Adetola Olateju.

At the mall in Columbia, the holiday frenzy starts on Thanksgiving.

“We actually have about 30-40 stores that are opening at 8 p.m. tomorrow on Thanksgiving,” said Michelle Jose, the Mall in Columbia.

Luigi Starr Kramer works at Best Buy and says he’s ready for crowds.

“I love the rush of adrenaline and excitement and I like to see what people come for,” Kramer said.

But some shoppers say they are not buying into the Thanksgiving trend. Just 14% of Americans plan to shop on Thanksgiving, 42% will head out on Black Friday and 38% will steer clear of malls altogether.

Economic experts say it’s a good season to get a good deal.

“They’re looking for bargains and don’t be surprised as retailers find they’re going to have to discount much of their merchandise pretty early in the season,” said Anirban Basu.

With holiday sales accounting for up to 40% of annual sales, retailers are hoping Santa brings big numbers.

The average opening time for stores on Thanksgiving is about 7 p.m. Fifty-three percent of online retailers are expected to offer deals on the web on Thanksgiving, too.

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