By Jason Allen

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Even with schools out, vacations underway, and travel starting, North Texans shopping for last minute gifts had less company than they expected.

It’s still busier than your average Monday, but in a season where shopping started earlier, there may not be as many people still out here this late.

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With the clock ticking towards Christmas, shoppers Monday braced for the hustle and bustle, the crowds, the chaos, and found… a rather easy afternoon at the outlets.

“I expected more than this, cause everybody’s off school, and it’s the last week. Today’s fine, not too many people, so we got everything quick.” Luis Blanco said. He admitted that he usually waits until the last minute.

But this year, he was in and out quick, and still finding final gifts he needed for his kids. “I was looking for a jacket, we got that. Like a t-shirt. Everything, we got everything,” Blanco said.

Government numbers released last week showed retail spending barely grew in November after strong growth in October.

That was when warnings about shortages and shipping slowdowns spread, and some shoppers started spending early.

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And while you may get a break from crowds, people did notice less selection this year.

“It’s been picked through already, the sizes and everything,” said shopper Juan Johnson.

Last minute deals could also be hard to come by.

“Especially with the pandemic and everything, prices go up. And then when its crunch time, prices go up even more,” Johnson said.

Store employees said they were welcoming the slowdown after a very busy weekend.

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Many stores are operating with fewer employees than in a typical holiday season, making holiday crowds more difficult to manage.