The holidays are right around the corner. With five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, businesses are undoubtedly feeling the pressure to get customers through their doors. 

But, small businesses are not very optimistic about this year’s holiday season sales and many will be clutching their purses more tightly this season, according to the 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Holiday Monitor survey that was released earlier this month. 

American Express surveyed 501 companies with fewer than 100 employees and found that only 22 percent of the companies surveyed expected strong holiday sales this year--a 14-percentage point drop from last year. Only 30 percent of retailers surveyed said that they expect strong sales this season, compared to 41 percent in 2012. 

Additionally, fewer small business owners said that they plan on giving their clients/customers gifts this year--only 41 percent said that they plan to do so, down from 51 percent in 2012. The good news for small businesses, however, is that of those companies with plans to give gifts, 54 percent said that they will buy the gifts from other small businesses. 

The survey also found that the percentage of small businesses with plans to throw holiday parties this year is 32 percent, down from 40 percent last year. The percentage of small businesses handing out end-of-year bonuses this year (27 percent) also fell since the 2012 survey (35 percent).

But to end things on a more positive note when small business owners were asked how they would describe his or her gift-giving behavior this year, 56 percent compared themselves to Santa while just 33 percent said Scrooge. 

So that’s something, right?