Some national retailers are painting a grim picture of how much shoppers are planning to spend this Christmas. According to The New York Times, a Gallup poll released on Thursday reinforced retailers' forecasts of relatively flat overall holiday sales, or those that are just barely better than last year. The average amount that Americans expect to spend on Christmas gifts, according to a survey conducted Nov. 7 to 10, is about $704, down from $786 in an October poll, and $66 on average below the $770 they planned to spend at this time last year.