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Shoppers brave last-minute Christmas rush

By JR Ortega
Dec. 23, 2011 at 6:23 a.m.
Updated Dec. 24, 2011 at 6:24 a.m.

Monica Barbontin and Paul Barbontin Jr. spent Friday morning at Target finishing their Christmas shopping list.

Holiday hours on Christmas Eve

Still not done with your Christmas shopping? You still have some time to finish that wish list. The following are store hours for big retail businesses in the area:

Target: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.Walmart: Open until 8 p.m. Hastings: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.Best Buy: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.Victoria Mall: 8 a.m to 6 p.m. Big Lots: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kohls: 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.Academy: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.Office Depot (both locations): 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Sam's Club: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stephanie Kaiser lugged the last of her gifts onto a black bench in the middle of the Victoria Mall and sighed.

"I have to get all this done by today," Kaiser said, in an out-of-breath tone.

Heavy traffic rumbled up North Navarro Street on Friday as people ventured into the mad last-minute shopping rush.

Kaiser, of Bloomington, works at Things Remembered and just recently got her pay check.

She was closing Friday night, so she used the morning to get as much shopping done as she could.

"It's always been like this," she said about her Christmas shopping routine.

On the other side of the mall, Sam Motiwala, co-owner of Regal Jewelers, took a break from the people lining up peering through the glass casing along the counter.

The last week before Christmas has always been the busiest time for the jewelry shop, which has been in Victoria for 15 years, Motiwala said.

Several men this month have purchased engagement rings, which is not a big surprise, he added.

"They usually propose Christmas Eve," he said. "It's nice making people smile."

Across the street at Target, people wheeled carts of toys and electronics with one hand and held a Starbucks Coffee cup in the other.

The day before Christmas Eve is the second busiest Day for the Victoria Target, said Manager Mike Yokum.

The busiest is Black Friday.

"We are prepared," Yokum said. "We treat the last few days before Christmas like Black Friday."

Yokum makes sure the store is fully staffed to handle the registers, restocking and customer service, he said.

Tina Martinez, of Victoria, has nine kids to shop for and begins her shopping in October.

She also saves money all year, but that still isn't enough.

She perused the aisles of the toy section in search for some more gifts.

"We started pretty early," she said about her last-minute shopping day.

Monica Barbontin squatted in the electronics aisle, looking for one of their last gifts on the list.

Barbontin, of Cuero, was just getting a couple of last-minute items, but nothing major, she said.

Even then, she could feel the spirit of Christmas right around the corner.

"We're definitely feeling the rush," she said.

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