Procrastinators can feel jolly, too

Gift cards, such as these at a CVS/Pharmacy in New York, could be a lifesaver for the last-minute shopper.

For serious holiday shopping procrastinators, drugstores and convenience stores are offering last-minute deals. Even better for the desperate, many of them will still be open at, say, 3 a.m. Friday.

The last-minute rush tends to make these stores busier than they are the rest of the season.

"Like every Christmas season, our performance is driven by the final days, which makes this a big week," Walgreen Co. Chief Executive Officer Greg Wasson said on a conference call with investors Monday. "It could be more important this year as more consumers delayed the holiday shopping to the last minute."

Most Walgreens locations will be open until midnight Christmas Eve. Nearly 1,600 24-hour locations will be open all night. On Christmas Day, non-24-hour locations will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The drugstore has tech gifts such as a Kodak Digital Camera for $69.99 and Disney products, remote-controlled toys and games. And batteries. Don't forget the batteries.

7-Eleven, open 24 hours, has items such as prepaid cell phones, including a Verizon Smooth u350 phone for $19.99 that features a camera, Bluetooth and Verizon service, DVDs, wine, cookies and gift cards such as iTunes cards.

7-Eleven already said gift-card sales are up in the high double-digits, the most popular being the 7-Eleven card, a prepaid Visa card and iTunes gift cards.

For fans of online role-playing games, 7-Eleven also has increased its selection of multiplayer online-game gift cards, which let players buy play time or items in online games, including World of Warcraft and Mafia Wars.

At CVS, 1,250 stores will be open 24 hours and the rest will have extended hours, open until midnight on Christmas Eve. In addition, more than 5,400 stores will be open Christmas Day.

CVS is offering electronics on sale, including a Prism 7-inch high-definition LCD TV for $79.99 and a Craig mp3 player for $29.99. The drugstore chain also is offering perfume from Mariah Carey, Halle Berry and others for $19.99 and spa sets starting at $14.99.

For those who don't want to brave the stores, there's still time to order gift cards online and send them electronically, though even those have a cutoff.

Victoria's Secret says you can order a gift certificate online by 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, and it will be delivered via e-mail that day. At Macys.com, you can order and send its e-gift cards until 1 p.m. today.

For those who want to put off shopping even longer, J.C. Penney and Walmart Stores already have announced post-Christmas deals.

J.C. Penney will open at 5 a.m. Dec. 26, the earliest it has ever opened that day. More than 100 items will be on sale until 1 p.m. And the company will offer coupons such as $10 off a $50 purchase or $15 off a $75 purchase, good for use online and in store between Saturday and Monday.

The department-store operator, based in Plano, Texas, will have all-new merchandise in its teen department because teens typically head to the mall after Christmas to spend cash gifts and gift cards.

Walmart will offer deals each day from Dec. 26 to New Year's Day. It will give out a $50 Walmart gift card with an Xbox 360 purchase, offer an eMachine netbook for $228 and offer some home holiday items and toys at up to 50 percent off. It also will extend previously announced holiday deals including some Blu-ray movies for under $20.