VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The day after Christmas is traditionally when people start taking back those gifts that were the wrong color, the wrong size or just wrong. But most of the people visiting stores in Town Center Sunday were there to buy more stuff.

“I’m doing shopping that I’m not supposed to be doing,” said Melissa Marable with a laugh. She was able to find several bargains for her daughter at Old Navy.

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Jessica Baker is just getting started on her shopping. She and her husband just moved to the area with the Navy.

“We haven’t done any of our Christmas shopping yet,” said Baker. “All of our guests are coming down this week instead of last week, So the timing (with after-Christmas sales) works out really well.”

Becky Yackley was headed into Nordstrom Rack with her mother, Ann Spruill – going in empty-handed and scouting for deals. “We do this every year. Yeah, this is a tradition.”

A few parking lots away, Lauren Mangum was looking for cut-rate Christmas items at Bed Bath and Beyond.

“We had a couple of returns, but they’re at the mall, and I’m not going there today. It’s just too busy.”

Nicole Arbogast stopped at Target, but she’s going to continue shopping for better shopping.

A study by the National Retail Federation says on average Americans are going to spend about $1,000 on Christmas this year.

The most recent local numbers from September, from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, say spending by people in our region is up 19% this year compared with last.

Spending less is always in fashion, but this holiday season higher prices have led to tighter belts.  

“Times are a little bit tight not having as much money in the bank account, because things cost a bit more,” Yackley said. “We do a traditional Christmas dinner and that definitely cost more than what we paid last year. “

Linda Oley was making a return at Kohl’s, and she says she is spending more this year.

And then there’s the option that’s pretty much return-proof, where you don’t have to worry about size, color or taste.

“That’s the benefit of gift cards,” Spruill said.