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The War Over Christmas Starts Now

Dana Blankenhorn

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Black Friday gets its name because it is, supposedly, the day when most stores go into the black for the year. But whether the year is good or bad depends heavily on what happens between now and Christmas.
The War Over Christmas is fought in the parking lots, in the aisles and, increasingly, in your pajamas. Where, what and how we buy constantly changes, and what we decide to do at this time of year calls the tune.
Investors have already placed their bets, and we'll be watching the sales tape closely to see which horses come in and which fail to justify our financial love.
Over the last six months most big retailers have been on the up, with gains for some of the biggest averaging about 10%. But a few clothing chains have been especially hot -- Urban Outfitters URBN , Lululemon LULU and the Gap GPS all need to have big seasons in order to justify investor confidence.
Laggards like Bebe Stores BEBE , Express EXPR and The Childrens Place PLCE are hoping an upside surprise can make up for the year's market losses.
Then there's Apple AAPL . Despite its plunge since October, Apple is up 37% for the year so far. That's a gain of nearly $200 billion in market cap, much of it riding on crowded Apple stores all over the country, tons of clicking at the Apple site on Cyber Monday, and the ability of its Chinese elves to deliver the goods.
As the curtain rises on the retailing Super Bowl we see our players poised and announcers (like yours truly) asking a whole bunch of questions.
Here are the top five questions entering the holiday:

The best thing about these Christmas shopping stories is that, unlike our political campaigns, they never last long.
This opera is over when the fat man flies.
At the time of publication, the author had a position in AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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