WATCH: Thousands of shoppers hit the streets of Victoria on Christmas Eve to stock up on last-minute essentials before the big day. Ceilidh Millar reports.
From the packed parking lots outside to the shoulder-to-shoulder shopping inside – it was crunch time for those leaving their holiday shopping to the last minute.
Some of the busiest places in Victoria on Christmas Eve are grocery and liquor stores.
“There’s no baskets available or anything so it’s really busy,” said one shopper.
At Country Grocer in Esquimalt, the aisles were packed with customers stocking up on holiday essentials.
“We are buying last minute things to go to my family Christmas Eve dinner,” explained another shopper. “It’s [a] big production with our Chilean family and our Canadian family.”
One by one, customers were checking items off their lists.
“They are on my phone,” said one man. “I’ve been given instructions and am following them to a T.”
According to Interac, grocery stores are the top merchants during the holidays.
In 2015, more than $200-million was spent at grocery stores across the country.
People were also loading up at liquor stores on Monday before stores close on Christmas Day.
“We are a wine family so I have to buy lots of bottles,” said one customer with a laugh.
There was a steady flow of customers at Spinnakers Spirit Merchants who were buying their favourite brews of the season.
“We’ll see waves of customers because we’re fortunate to be beside a grocery store so they’ll pop in here,” said general manager Caitlynn Crawford.
Crawford said they expect to have nearly 1,000 customers through the store before closing.
“All of a sudden we’ll have like 20 to 30 people in the store at one time so it’s just crazy,” Crawford explained.
Whether its a bottle of wine or a turkey – it’s all part of families on the Island coming together to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.