This Christmas, shopping season is shaping up to be the worst in decades. There are only ten shopping days left and luxury sales are down more than 34 percent compared to this time last year. Stores are offering big discounts to get customers in the doors, and now some people are cashing in next year's tax returns to take advantage of the bargains.
Local H and R Block employees say they find dozens of people waiting in line to apply for loans before they even open the doors.
Shelby Brewster is applying for a loan and says, "For Christmas shopping, we need to make sure my kids have a good Christmas."
Erma Engle, the manager of a Hazard H & R Block says, "Everybody's needing money for their children. All of them don't have any money right now. People have been laid off, and we just never have the money for extras when it comes to Christmas."
The emerald advance line of credit takes money from their upcoming tax return and Engle says more and more people are applying.
"We're doing over 100 a day, a couple of days per week." says Engle.
Many people applying for the loan say Christmas would be a lot different without the extra money.
Brewster says, "I already told my girls it might be different this year because of the way things are. And they're okay with that. Not with will be better okay!"
"The more money you can get, the more you spend on them. that may be a bad thing, but for them it's good! It's all about the kids anyway," says Rhonda Campbell who is applying for a loan this for Christmas.
Store owners say they see a change in shoppers this Christmas. Instead of a big bags, customers are more selective and sticking to their shopping list.
Owner of The Decorating Center, Judy Campbell says, "Our shopping trends have been a little more picky, people have just been a little more conservative."
The last day to apply for the H and R Block loan in Hazard is Wednesday the 17th.
Store owners say they are counting on big sales on these last days before Christmas to bring in last minute shoppers.