Prosperity in small business is often hard to come by, especially in a small town. But the holiday season is redemption for slow months during the rest of the year.

“December is always our busiest time of the year, and even certain times of the day this time of year can be busier,” said Karen Collisson, owner of Rainbow Bibles and Gifts. “We make plans ahead of time and try to have a variety of things available. We do a lot of special orders around this time of year if people have something special in mind.”

For a small business, the holiday season is not only a big marketing time, but can mean some security.

“You have to have a good Christmas,” Collisson said. “You have to pay the rent and pay your employees. If people shop locally, we’re able to (give back to the local economy), and that’s important for any small business.”

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 25.9 percent of nondepartment sales in 450 regional malls were during November and December. Another 14.8 percent marked sales in September and October.

Mary Yates, owner of Serendipity gift shop in Huntsville’s West Hill Mall, said her store is also seeing a swell of holiday business.

“We have been in business about a year, and this is our first holiday season, so it’s hard to tell (in the long run),” Yates said. “But, yes, we are seeing more people right now. We tend to have a little bit of everything, and people come in for, maybe, jewelry the most.”

Statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department and the ICSC indicate sales for general merchandise such as apparel, furniture and furnishings have slipped during holiday seasons in the last 10 years, primarily because cell phones, game stations and similar trends are on the rise.

Collisson said her store usually fares well no matter what during Christmastime, as her inventory is based in Christian merchandise.

“Everything we have is Christ-centered or inspirational in nature,” she said. “For example, all our ornaments are based on Christmas, not just the holidays. People can find things here that are a little more meaningful.”