Christmas Present

Briefly, deliriously, it seemed like old times, as a surprisingly hearty ka-ching kicked off the holiday shopping season. But unlike those of Christmases past, this boom was driven by deep discounts and a spate of patriotic buying--just two signs of how the shadow of Sept. 11 and a bad economy are altering this year's Yuletide.

--By Sora Song and Deirdre van Dyk

SPIRITUALITY Houses of worship have already seen attendance rise as much as 10%, but God is also in Aisle 2: Bibles have been moving off shelves in record numbers, and at Neiman Marcus, top-selling necklaces include a cross pendant,...

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