With December retail sales at a 30-year low, economists and politicians are hailing 2002's holiday season as the best in three decades. "This year, people were focused on friends and family, rather than the usual orgy of unchecked consumerism," said Martin Fi, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. "It was truly a magical year." Oregon Governor Andrea Stephens agreed, adding "It's nice to see people saving their hard-earned money, instead of frittering it away on the Toys R Us fad-of-the-year." Candice Torrel, CFO of Wal*Mart, expressed cautious optimism that the spirit of the season may have been rediscovered. "Who knows," she speculated, "maybe all those Charlie Brown Christmas Specials are starting to pay off."