11/24/2013 12:39 EST | Updated 01/24/2014 05:59 EST

Downtown businesses try to curb cross-border Christmas shopping

A recent study showed the Christmas shopping season is beginning earlier in Canada and people are spending more money, though not always at their local stores. 

To many retailers in Montreal, yesterday’s Santa Claus Parade signals the start of the holiday shopping season — a time of the year some say is getting longer and longer.

Two-thirds of Montrealers say they will make holiday purchases in the U.S., cashing in on Black Friday deals online and in stores.

Nearly 90 per cent of cross-border shoppers say they do it because the prices are lower.

Many Canadian retailers are now jumping on the bandwagon, offering early blowout sales to keep those dollars in the country.  

Montreal's downtown association, Destination Centre-Ville, is trying to draw shoppers to the city's core by offering entertainment alongside the shopping.

"We make sure there are activities in downtown, to go to the museums, the concerts and so on. So it's not just the shopping, it's an experience,” says André Poulin director of Destination Centre-Ville.

However, Poulin says one of the biggest motivating factors for holiday shoppers is beyond anyone's control. 

"What we need is snow. The best thing to improve the holiday retail business is snow," says Poulin.