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Christmas shopping, the day after

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Dec. 26, 2010 at 6:26 a.m.

The Old Navy store in Victoria Mall was teaming with activity the day after Christmas, as clearance and post Christmas sales were on display everywhere.

DID YOU KNOW?Top 20 gift cards of 2010

  1. Walmart

  2. Amazon.com

  3. Target

  4. Visa

  5. Home Depot

  6. Lowe's

  7. Costco

  8. Best Buy

  9. Starbucks

  10. Walgreens

Source: Giftcardrescue.com

There are no shortage of traditions around Christmastime. And for three generations of one Victoria family, day-after-Christmas shopping is the favorite one of all.

Part of an annual tradition started several years ago, Janet and Mike Sylvester, their daughters, Mandy Rodriguez and Amy Imes, Rodriguez's daughter, Alivia Rodriguez, and Janet Sylvester's sister, Julie Miller, were standing in line at Target at 6 a.m. Sunday, to take advantage of the store's after-Christmas sales.

"We were in line an hour before the store opened," Miller, 48, said laughing.

For the past five years, Miller has spent her Christmas holidays in Texas with her sister's family. And each year, the morning after Christmas, the family sets out for a day of economic stimulation, and a day of togetherness.

"This has become our new tradition," Janet Sylvester said. "We don't do Black Friday, but we do this every year."

"Yeah, we try to see how long we can spend together before wanting to kill each other," Imes, 28, said, giggling.

At 1 p.m., the fanatical Christmas shopping family had already visited Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, PetsMart, and about eight stores in the Victoria Mall.

"You have to know what you want beforehand," Rodriguez said. "We're shopping a lot, but we're all bargain shopping."

"They're like, die hard," Alivia Rodriguez, 8, said, clutching a bag stuffed with Justin Bieber merchandise.

Collectively, the family spent nearly $1,000 in an afternoon, including several pit stops at Sonic, McDonald's and IHOP.

But, it seems the Sylvester family wasn't alone in their after-Christmas shopping endeavors.

Best Buy Customer Solutions Manager Adrian Lopez said his store always experiences heavy traffic the day after Christmas.

"We always expect a lot of returns and exchanges the day after Christmas, but we have a lot of additional purchases rather than returns," Lopez said. "People come in to buy the accessories attached to a product they got, and a lot of people are coming in with a gift card. I would say every two out of three transactions is someone redeeming a gift card."

At the popular apparel store Old Navy, Store Manager Jessica Matuizek, said the foot traffic at her store was equally successful.

"We normally have about $1,000 in returns on an average day, but we've had a lot of transactions today, we haven't even reached that number yet," Matuizek said. "Mostly, our returns are becoming exchanges."

Only about 25 percent of Old Navy's total transactions were gift cards, but overall purchases were up, Matuizek said.

A similar report came from apparel store American Eagle.

"We've only had a few returns, it's mainly exchanges," Store Manager Danielle Martinez, said.

After an exhausting day at the mall, the Sylvester family loaded their assortment of shopping bags in the back of their car and headed home.

"When the money is gone, we're done," Miller said.

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