Restaurants open on Christmas
* Bluff View Art District, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 265-5033
* Beast and Barrel, 16 Frazier Ave., 4-11 p.m. 805-4599.
* Big River Grille, 222 Broad St. location only, 4-10 p.m. 267-2739.
* Buffet King, 5230 Highway 153, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 877-8816.
* Chef Lin, 5084 South Terrace, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. 510-1998.
* China Rose, 9203 Lee Highway, Ooltewah, 2-9 p.m. 238-1268.
* City Cafe Diner, 901 Carter St., 634-9191; and 7641 Lee Highway, 485-8222, both 24 hours.
* Fox & Hound, 2040 Hamilton Place Blvd., 5 p.m.-3 a.m. 490-1200.
* Hair of the Dog Pub, 334 Market St., 6 p.m.-3 a.m. 265-4615.
* Honest Pint, 35 Patten Parkway, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. 468-4192.
* Huddle House, all locations, 24 hours.
* IHOP, 5814 Brainerd Road, 490-0559; and 5113 Highway 153, 877-4732; both open at 11 a.m., then 24 hours a day.
* New China Buffet and Grill, 3450 Cummings Highway, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 821-6988.
* Porter’s Steakhouse, 827 Broad St. (inside the Read House), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 643-1240.
* Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 2321 Lifestyle Way, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (dinner menu served all day), 602-5900.
* Sweet Basil Thai, 5845 Brainerd Road, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 485-8836.
* The Big Chill, 103 Cherokee Blvd., 4 p.m.-3 a.m. 267-2445.
* Waffle House, all locations, 24 hours.
Stores open today
Wal-Mart — open until 8 p.m. tonight
Target — open until 11 p.m. tonight
Best Buy — open until 6 p.m. today
Kohl’s — open until 6 p.m. today
Toys ‘R’ Us — open until 9 p.m. tonight
Walgreens — 24-hour stores open all day today (also open all day on Christmas)
CVS — 24-hour stores open all day today (also open all day on Christmas)
Hamilton Place Mall — open until 7 p.m. tonight
Northgate Mall — open until 6 p.m. tonight
Dollar General — open until 8 p.m. tonight
This is really it. Today is crunch time for last-minute Christmas shoppers, as many major retailers, which rely on the Christmas holiday for up to 20 percent of their annual sales income, finally wind down the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas holiday rush and keep their doors open a little later than in years past.
This year, the Christmas holiday season is expected to reach $630.5 billion in total sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
Kohl's stores will close their doors at 6 p.m. today — and for the first time since Dec. 17, after operating for 170 hours nonstop.
While retail can get a little crazy this time of year, "it's OK," said Judy Durbin, customer service supervisor at the Hixson Kohl's. "It's not our first rodeo, so we're good."
She expects her store to be full today.
"A mad rush is typical," Durbin said. "A lot of our gentlemen shoppers are coming in."
Also, fellow retail employees — inundated themselves over the holiday season — usually make last-ditch trips today, she said.
And Kohl's isn't the only major big box thinking of shoppers today. Many big retailers are keeping later hours today, versus years past. Wal-Mart stores will stay open until 8 p.m.
Target stores will stay open until 11 p.m.
Toys R Us stores will close at 9 p.m. today, after being open for 87 hours straight, going back to 6 a.m. on Dec. 21.
Shoppers have shown they're willing to venture out on Christmas Eve to make last-minute buys — in fact, according to the customer analytics company LoyaltyOne, nearly one in five Christmas celebrants, or roughly 18 percent, said in a survey they would actually shop on Christmas Day if it were an option.
LoyaltyOne blogger Bryan Pearson wrote in a Dec. 21 entry that "it is only a matter of time before merchants set their cross-hairs on the Big Holiday."
Dennis Armbruster, consulting managing partner of LoyaltyOne, predicts some retailers will start opening their doors on Christmas within three years.
"Shoppers are demanding retailers maintain service levels," he said, "they're making it clear to retailers they're not prepared to cut them any slack when it comes to their expectations."
For Durbin, the holiday marathon will end when Kohl's closes its doors this evening. And the store will only close its doors after every last customer is helped.
"We stay until the last person's gone," she said.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6480
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