Many retailers — and much of the national economy — depend on the sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas to keep them in the black. What is the mood among shoppers this season, as compared to a year ago or two years ago? Statistics show the economy is again growing, so by definition it is no longer in recession. But are shoppers ready to spend? Are they more confident about their economic futures? Or will they remain wary, perhaps for years to come? And if they are less likely to rack up the debt, is that a good thing?