AUSTIN (KXAN) - For some shoppers, 'tis the season for procrastination.
As doors opened Friday morning at Target at Interstate Highway 35 and Parmer Lane in Austin, people made a mad dash into the aisles and the freshly-stocked merchandise.
"Right, before the crowd came," Bronwyn Brigham said, as she flipped through Christmas cards for a last-minute touch.
Two days left. Hot items gone. Panic in the air.
"Early, early, early," said Amanda Tschepl as she hurried her cart down a toy aisle. "I want to get out of town before lunch hits and people start leaving work early."
Workers at this store were ready for the rush, as business has been steady since Black Friday. Americans have flooded stores and websites to make the largest one-year increase since the recession began, despite high unemployment in the U.S. and historically low consumer confidence in recent months.
On Black Friday alone, the nation had record sales, as consumers spent $11.4 billion, a 6.6 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation .
Analysts say this wave of shopping could be because many people believe they will likely have a job next year, while others have pushed back making a purchase until now when many stores will have last-minute bargains.
"Have a list. Know what you're looking for. That's the biggest thing, because if you come in here and don't have any idea what you're looking for, that's half the battle," said Denise Baker, another shopper.
"The biggest tip I would have is to make sure you have backup plans," said Rick Ogle, Target manager. "The item you're going to shop for might not be available anymore, so if you're only settled on one thing, you might leave disappointed."
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.