Meridian, Miss. 'Tis the season for filled parking lots and crowded stores. Shoppers everywhere are hurrying to finish Christmas shopping for the later Christmas season, and Bonita Lakes Mall wasn't oblivious to the fact that Christmas is barely over a week away.
"I like when everything's in a rush. I had $400 when I came here, I spent it all at Neshoba and out here," shopper T.J. Killen says. "So we're broke now; I am. So I hope that my parents are buying me some more stuff for Christmas. Maybe they will."
The shorter season also strongly impacts those who work in retail. Lori Clayton, a sales associate at Belk, says she can sum up the time between now and Christmas day in one word.
"Craziness. Total craziness," Clayton says. "I think it's tougher on the scheduling to be careful on getting enough coverage so you don't have customers in real long lines."
But no matter how much time is left, shoppers like Donna Killen-Gonzales are determined to be ready by the 25th.
"I work Christmas Eve at Walmart, so yeah, Santa Clause is coming," she says. "If I've gotta do it Christmas Eve after I get off work, he's coming."
But if you're not convinced, cast all fears aside. Newscenter 11 scored an exclusive interview with the big man in red, who tells us he has 365 days to have all presents ready.
"That's what I prepare for," Clause says. "I work year-round. I don't just work during Christmas. I enjoy working with kids. I don't care how big they are, how old they are. Santa will always love his kids, okay?
The one thing all shoppers agreed on was that come Christmas Day, all their efforts will be worth it.