BOSTON (CBS) – There are nine shopping days left before Christmas. Such a deal you can get if you wait! That’s what my mother used to tell me. And she may be right about Christmas shopping.

The deals out there are great right now. And if you shop online and think it’s too late, fear not. If you order today you can still get the item for Christmas. Almost 2,000 participating merchants will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

The stores are having big sales as well to get you to shop. They don’t want merchandise left for the January sales. So by procrastinating you may have done yourself a favor as far as saving money but I’m not sure about the stress level that occurs when you wait!

The stores will be open over the weekend with long hours and some, like the chain drug stores, will even be open Christmas morning. So if you really wait until the last minute you can still get something for everyone on your list. And if you run out of wrapping paper they will have it.

I know many of you have done your shopping and have everything wrapped and are feeling very smug, as you should. But there are still individuals out there that wait until this week to shop. Or in some cases, many of you may have followed my advice earlier this week and now have some money to go shopping.

Close to 25% of the holiday sales take place this week. The interesting fact I found is that the sales are almost evenly spread out over the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are folks who traditionally shop last minute. They claim the deals are good. Now traffic and parking are another story. I would suggest shopping in the small local shops rather than the malls.

If you are going out this weekend and many of you are, create a plan. Map out your trip. You want to be as efficient as you can. There will be many other shoppers out there competing for the same parking spaces.

Beware of the Santa Syndrome, which is a shoppers’ disease that happens most often around Christmas. We don’t know if what we got is enough. We have shopped and maybe even wrapped our presents and we begin to wonder if we got enough. You got your dad a sweater but maybe you should add a shirt to go with it. You got a bathrobe for your sister at a great sale price last month but maybe you should add slippers.

Try not to get caught up in the Santa Syndrome by making out a list and sticking to it. I know it’s not easy to do. But impulse shopping gets us all in trouble.


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