The Christmas shopping season has officially begun. The rule today around the state today seemed to be shop early.

 Julie Cubbage is the Marketing Director at East Towne Mall in Madison. She says they gave out at least 500 gift bags to people lined up outside before the doors opened at five. Some anxious bargain hunters were there by 2:30 this morning.

 One mall in Kenosha County opened at midnight and similar scenes played out around the state. Cubbage says the stream of shoppers seems fairly constant, at least at her mall.

 Cubbage says toys, namely the latest incarnation of Elmo and electronics seem to be the hot items. That category would include items that are already sold out or nearly so. Things like Play Station 3 or Nintendo WE.

 Is today any prediction of how the season will go for retailers? Cubbage says Black Friday got off to a pretty good start but she says we'll have to see how the weather holds up through the rest of the holidays.

 Attention shoppers. The bargains have just begun.

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:01 MP3 )

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