BOSTON (CBS) – My mother-in-law was a firm believer in the longer you waited to go Christmas shopping the sweeter the deals became. Sometimes waiting until Christmas Eve!

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But there are so many good deals right now for the merchants having been having sales since October.

And if you shop online and think it’s too late, fear not. If you order by next Thursday December 18th, you can still get the item for Christmas. Many merchants are offering free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

The stores are having big sales right now 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!

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The stores will be open the next two weekends with long hours and 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.

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 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 the last week before Christmas. 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. Everyone has a story about mall parking lots!

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Beware of the Santa Syndrome, which is a shoppers’ disease that happens most often around Christmas. We don’t know if what we bought is enough. So we go out and buy more! Don’t do it!