5 Best Spots for Truly Last-Minute Shopping

PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- There are two human responses that make a person click on a link about holiday shopping on Christmas Eve or later: desperation and schadenfreude.

Christmas decorations were being sold in department stores and home-and-garden chains in September. By October, candy canes had appeared in supermarkets and retailers held their first sales. In November, shoppers were in Target ( TGT), Wal-Mart ( WMT) and other stores as early as Thanksgiving night taking advantage of holiday sales. If shoppers bypassed Cyber Monday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day and waited until today or later to shop, it's not the wisest move, but they're not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation's survey of holiday shoppers conducted this season, only 11.3% of people shopping for Christmas presents planned to have any shopping left to do by Dec. 13. While there are folks who hold off on gift exchanges until just after Christmas, New Year's or the Feast of the Epiphany -- the traditional end of the 12 days of Christmas on the Christian calendar -- there are some who've just been preoccupied for the past few months and had the holidays sneak up on them.

Don't worry, it happens.

While the sales may not be so hot, shipping isn't an option and many stores are already closed, there are still a few ways for procrastinators to finish up their holiday shopping today or even tomorrow. We took one last look around the pre-holiday landscape and found five options for the most desperate holiday shoppers. For the rest of you, just consider them five strong examples of why you were wise to finish early:

Cash-hungry retail chains

If the big box stores were cool with hosting Black Friday sales in July and tempting shoppers into missing Thanksgiving dessert, there was no way they were going to miss out on those last-minute holiday purchases. The kind elves at the blog Offers.com put together a list of all the stores open on Christmas Eve, and it's not exactly short.

Best Buy ( BBY) and Costco ( COST) get points just for opening the doors, but if you're working today you may want to consider a long lunch break or a hasty exit to avoid their 5 p.m. closing time. Sears ( SHLD), Nordstrom ( JWN), JCPenney ( JCP) and Kohl's ( KSS) give commuters a fighting chance by staying open until 6 p.m., while Nordstrom Rack and some Wal-Mart locations will be open until 8. Target woos latecomers by keeping doors open until 9 p.m., but Toys R Us, Kmart and Barnes & Noble ( BKN) make the desperation feel mutual by keeping the lights on until 10 p.m.

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