Holiday Rush Is On

Travelers, shoppers getting ready for Christmas

At airports and stores, the race is on to get ready for Christmas.

Airports are filling up with passengers, many packing lots of extra bags.

"Out of these four or five bags, probably one is full of gifts and then more gifts spread all across the rest of them," said Allen Pack, of McKinney.

He left Friday for Juneau, Alaska, with his wife to be with family for the holidays.

"I think it's stressful," Vilma Pack said. "You never know if you're going to make it, or if it's going to be delayed or be on time between changing flights. We have to travel all day long to get there."

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport expects more than 165,000 passengers on each of the three Fridays in the holiday travel season alone, with about 3 million over the entire three-week period.

"We are going to see some larger-than-normal crowds on the Fridays," airport spokesman David Magana said. "Those are our biggest crowds as it's shaping up right now, so today and next Friday and the Friday before New Year's look like our biggest crowds."

Shoppers are packing malls, rushing now to finish everything on their list.

"[I] still got to get Christmas cards together and the outside lights on and the rest of the shopping done, so I don't know," said Sharon Walker, of Coppell, who was finishing up her shopping at Grapevine Mills. "We'll see if we make it. It's always a rush to the end."

Stores expect to be packed this weekend because of what's called "Super Saturday," the last full Saturday before Christmas Eve, when families gather and gift-giving begins.

"If you do retail, usually you get off on this," said Leslie Knickman, Forever 21 store manager. "It's lot of fun. It's exciting. You're part of everyone's experience for the holidays."

Shoppers are still looking for last-minute bargains.

"We've been shopping for quite a while, and we've been trying to get all the presents for all the kids," said Martha Fraire, of Lewisville. "We have large families, so we're trying to get all the specials right now, because we always say that we're going to get them, but we never do at the last minute, so might as well go ahead and do it right now."

Local retailers expect to end the season strong.

"Based on what we've seen all year, we've been running ahead of last year," said Peggy Weaver, Grapevine Mills general manager. "The holiday season really started with a bang on Thanksgiving night, Black Friday, whatever you want to call it, and since then, it's been up-trending. We think it will break records from years past."

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