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Shoppers enjoy deals, camaraderie

November 26, 2016 GMT

It’s a judgment call, really.

When Cristina Davidson and daughter Trinity Cuellar went shopping at Jefferson Pointe on Friday, was it an early morning ... or a late night?

The duo were toting shopping bags from Bath & Body Works and Starbucks close to lunchtime on Friday.

But they hadn’t been to sleep since Wednesday night.

After eating Thanksgiving dinner, catching holiday sales at Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and strolling through Jefferson Pointe to enjoy the lights and window displays, they stayed up all night watching the three “Santa Clause” movies starring Tim Allen before heading back out to do more shopping on Friday.

“We call our minivan Santa’s sleigh,” said Davidson, who started the tradition four years ago with her sister-in-law.

This was 13-year-old Trinity’s first year.

“It’s fun!” Trinity added.

Lexi and Logan Crockett, siblings visiting from Dayton, Ohio, made tracks to Old Navy and Michael’s on Friday.

Thursday evening’s shopping itinerary included Menard’s and Kohl’s.

Michelle Crockett, their cousin, said the wait to check out was at least 45 minutes at Kohl’s on Thursday. The 13-year-old was carrying a Michael’s bag of yarn, which she plans to use to crochet a scarf destined to be a Christmas gift.

Lexi Crockett, 14, said a few special items caught her eye.

“I mainly just buy my own Christmas gifts for my mom to give me,” she said.

Logan Crockett, 24, shopped at Target and Wal-Mart with relatives on Thanksgiving.

“I sort of just came to hang out at this point,” he said as he sat on a Jefferson Pointe bench beside his sister. “I pretty much got all I need last night.”

Dorolyn Haney, who lives in Huntington, made a day of shopping with her daughter, Dalynn Haney. Their stops included Eddie Bauer, Ulta, Bath & Body Works, Christopher & Banks and a lunch stop at Coney Island.

“It’s more running around and having fun is what we do,” Dorolyn Haney said.

The 75-year-old widow buys gifts just for her daughter and a couple of friends.

The retiree doesn’t need a list to keep track of what to buy.

Delaine Reis falls on the other end of the giving spectrum.

The Wisconsin resident shops for 20 to 30 people, including seven grandchildren. On Friday, the 60-year-old was carrying a large bag full of goodies from Charming Charlie, which sells jewelry and accessories.

After starting her day at 7 a.m., she was nearing the end of her list at midday.

“I love Black Friday. A lot of people don’t, but I do,” Reis said.

“Just the hustle and bustle. It gets me in the mood for Christmas. Also the sales ... you get such nice sales.”

Jillian Buzzard spent her day off from Crop Production Services shopping at Jefferson Pointe.

The Huntington resident decided to join the second wave of shoppers Friday, starting at 10:30 a.m. She ventured into Von Maur, Victoria’s Secret, Ulta and Bath & Body Works.

Buzzard likes to hit the stores without a list. She prefers to see what items remind her of the five people she plans to buy for.

After hitting several stores, the 23-year-old was uncertain whether she was close to being finished.

“I hope so. I doubt it,” she said.

“It’s never really done. If I could get all my shopping done in one day, that would be awesome.”

Black Friday used to launch the holiday season, but retailers have started opening their doors on Thanksgiving in hopes of grabbing customers first.

Stores including Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penney and more were open Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition as they try to fight off online competition.

After what appeared to be a strong turnout for Thanksgiving sales, some early morning national reports indicate that traffic to malls was slower on Black Friday than even last year as retailers are spreading out the deals throughout the week.

“It was a really good start. But I have never seen Black Friday morning so calm,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm, who visited malls on New York’s Long Island on Friday. He still believes the weekend’s sales will likely be up over last year because shoppers did lots of buying, including pricy flat-screen TVs.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which started its Black Friday sales on Thursday at 6 p.m., said shoppers were embracing technology products.

Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, said in addition to Black Friday favorites like televisions and toys, many consumers were looking for drones, virtual reality products and hoverboards.

About 137 million people plan to or are considering doing their shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation. That includes online and store shopping. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the busiest shopping day of the year.

The NRF, the nation’s largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent for November and December, better than the 3 percent growth seen for those months last year. That excludes car sales, gas and restaurant receipts. But it includes online spending and other non-store sales such as catalog spending.

sslater@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story