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BLOOMINGTON - Monday proved the perfect time for some to prepare for Christmas 2006 while others wrapped up their gift buying for this holiday season.

Bloomington residents Rose Klebosits, Krista Rawlings and Karen Creasey didn't have to battle long lines and crowds to find post-holiday specials.

Klebosits and her two daughters scoured aisles at Gordmans at the Shoppes at College Hills for the best deals on holiday decorations. Each carried a small notebook of names and gift ideas for next year, scratching names off the list as they moved from store to store.

"This is the time to buy them," Rawlings said. "We're looking for the deals. This is a first-annual tradition."

Ryan Dehart of Bloomington, meanwhile, used the day to finish his Christmas shopping. Dehart celebrated the holiday Sunday with his wife and son, and is going to a larger family gathering next weekend.

"I just want to get my dad a (Chicago) White Sox video," he said, while searching through Best Buy in Bloomington. "I figured no one's going to be shopping at 9 o'clock in the morning and I had to get a couple things. I won't be out later today."

Stores weren't crowded when the doors opened at 6 a.m. Lines began to back up later in the morning, though.

"I didn't get up early enough. I was going to get out at 6 (a.m.) because you get the best deals," said Heather Scott, proudly wearing a shirt saying "I got an A+ in shopping."

Each year, shoppers storm retailers the day after Christmas to exchange unwanted gifts, redeem gift cards and take advantage of post-holiday discounts.

Dec. 26 typically ranks among the top five shopping days of the year in terms of money spent.

Klebosits, Rawlings and Creasey were pumped, laughing up and down the aisles at Gordmans. Kris Meyer, though, didn't look happy as he waited in line at Best Buy.

Meyer had separated himself from his wife and mother-in-law to buy a camera bag - with his wife's permission, of course. Meyer, visiting from Davenport, Iowa, received a digital camera for Christmas but needed a case and didn't want to shop at a mall with his wife and mother-in-law.

"They've been out since 6 this morning. They live for it, sales and all that stuff. I try not to (shop)," he said.

Still, Meyer's spirits were high.

"The Bears won yesterday, so it makes it a little easier to go out today," Meyer said.


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