Maher Jaboro of A&L Wine Castle says his sales “easily double” at year-end. “Christmas is bigger in liquor,” he says. “Thanksgiving is bigger in wine.”

“We typically expect the day before Thanksgiving to be the biggest day of the year for wine sales,” agrees Matt Morgan of Morgan & York–though the Saturday before Christmas is coming on strong in the last couple of years. Christmas is still “definitely bigger for liquor,” Morgan says. “It really takes off. For a lot of our customers, especially customers who are shopping for men, liquor seems to be a popular holiday gift, especially brown spirits–whiskey and scotch.”

Parties and gift-giving, of course, are what make Christmas bigger than Thanksgiving, but the economic downturn has affected them, too. “It does show,” says Jaboro. “Last year, we were down from the year previous. There were a lot of company parties we used to do. If they do parties now, they don’t do alcohol.”