From grocery stores to malls to the post office, shoppers are busy taking care of last-minute business.
National shopping figures show the holidays sneak up people more than they would like to admit.
Eighty-one percent all of holiday retail sales take place in December. Those numbers grow as Christmas draws near, with nearly half of shoppers waiting until two weeks before Christmas.
As shoppers put the finishing touches on their Christmas giving, stores sent in reinforcements of cashiers and stockers. Store managers screamed as new lanes opened, hoping to shorten the long lines.
Rick Smith of Fuquay-Varina has Christmas and birthday presents to buy for his 2-year-old. He surveyed what was left of the picked-over merchandise at a Cary department store.
"I got an early start this morning, so I feel like I'm ahead of the game a little bit," he says. "But still, I'll be ready to leave the store."
Store managers are expecting even longer lines over the Christmas weekend. Holiday Mail:The rush is on at the U. S. Postal Service -- in front ofandbehind the counter.
While people are still mailing at the last minute, sorters are working to the last moment to get everything out by Christmas.
The main post office in Fayetteville broke a record Monday night, processing nearly 1 million pieces of mail. Dan Davidson, the plant manager at the post office, says that e-mail has not made a dent in the volume of mail being sent.