CHAMPAIGN – Some people had to drag themselves to work Friday.
Some stayed home and ate turkey leftovers.
And the rest, apparently, went shopping.
And they didn't sleep in. There was a mob of shoppers waiting outside Kohl's Department Store in Champaign when it opened at 5 a.m. Friday.
An hour later, a big crowd piled through the doors of the nearby Target store.
By midmorning, both stores were still crowded, their managers said.
"It's a very good turnout," said Kohl's Manager Shelly Tittle.
Target, which had advertised a two-day holiday sale for Friday and today, even offered tuck-in calls Thursday night and wake-up calls Friday morning for shoppers who requested them.
But some folks didn't need waking up. They skipped sleeping to stand outside in the cold.
Nora Dukowitz, marketing manager at Champaign's Market Place Mall, said a crowd was already lined up outside the mall at 2 a.m. Friday.
Were the bargains supposed to be that good?
"We did a door-buster this morning," she explained. "We handed out 500 Market Place Mall gift bags to the first 500 people, and they all had $10 mall gift cards in them, and one had a $1,000 gift card."
Dukowitz said the mall staff let people in at 4 a.m. to warm up in the food court until the stores opened up at 6 a.m.
She doesn't know how many people were there at the opening, but she does know there were still people in line when they ran out of gift bags.
Stroller rentals also ran out early, Dukowitz said.
"That means all the moms are out there now," she added happily.
A national survey says these shoppers are scrounging for bargains.
The Consumer Confidence Board announced this past week that American households are expected to spend a bit less on holiday gifts this year than last year – on average $466 per family, compared to last year's $476.
"Consumers appear to have less Christmas spirit heading into Thanksgiving this year than last year," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
Franco warned that stores will need to offer discounts and promotions to get shoppers through their doors.
The National Retail Federation was a bit more optimistic.
The organization is projecting a 6 percent increase in holiday sales this year over last year, bringing in about $439.5 billion for the season.
Last year, shoppers spent $22.8 billion the weekend after Thanksgiving alone, the federation said.
The bargains that stores are offering need to be genuine, the organization warned. Lukewarm promotions wouldn't get shoppers out of bed early Friday.
Big R of Danville opened an hour early by offering shoppers a chance to win a free TV, and had people waiting outside the doors, said Assistant Manager Nick Hill.
"We've been pretty busy all day," he added.
One locally-owned Champaign store went its own way, however, and just opened at its regular time Friday.
"Our experience is the early hours really work for the big guys who are selling toys and the trendy things. We are more basic," said Ira Wachtel, an owner of Champaign Surplus.
Wachtel said the cold weather was working in his store's favor, though. He expects to sell a lot of warm socks, hats, gloves and sweaters, and what he's seen in holiday shopping sales so far is making him optimistic.
"November was when it started, and when it hit, the increase was measurable," he said.