PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The clock is ticking, and your holiday shopping list isn't complete.
Don't fret — you aren't alone.
The National Retail Federation found that only about half of shoppers had finished shopping as of Dec. 10. That means tens of millions will be ticking those final items off their lists in the coming days.
But procrastination doesn't have to mean desperation. Here are a few tips to help survive last-minute shopping:
—SEIZE THE DAY: Retailers know the rush is coming, and they are doing everything they can to attract last-minute shoppers. This includes extended shopping hours, expedited shipping and exclusive promotions.
That opens up lots of strategies for shopping that will keep you out of the crazy lines in stores at noon on Christmas Eve.
One tactic is to become a night owl. Many retailers are open longer in the week before Christmas. For example, Wal-Mart says its stores are open 24 hours a day up until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and it is offering shipping options up until Dec. 23. Toys R Us stores are open around the clock from the morning of Dec. 23 through 9 p.m. Christmas Eve; it also is extending its hours in the days preceding.
And many retailers, such as Best Buy, allow shoppers to find an item online and pick it up at a store. Even 7-Eleven is targeting shoppers, offering gift cards, toys and stocking stuffers in its stores.
The bottom line: Take advantage of those last-minute discounts and other deals.
— DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market researcher NPD Group, says many people do not yet know what they want to give, or get.
"These consumers are the ones who put themselves in a stressful situation," he said. "The one saving grace is online (shopping) is a chance for a lot of people to do their homework."
He said shoppers can narrow down their options ahead of time by looking online.
You can also check Amazon.com to see if the person has a wish list you didn't know about, or study Facebook or Pinterest pages for ideas.
Such prep work can save a lot of headaches and potentially limit last-minute impulse purchases that can prove costly.
— WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: Seriously, this is a common-sense step many shoppers skip.
"Wear comfortable shoes for goodness sake," Cohen said. "It (shopping) is exercise and it's not very comfortable."
Don't waste time cruising to find the closest spot to the store either, he said. Those comfortable shoes will make it easier to just park and walk.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A gadfly attorney and an Arizona county sheriff want to halt President Barack Obama's immigration order in the first courtroom battle over an initiative designed to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation.
On Monday, lawyer Larry Klayman will try to convince a judge nominated by Obama that the immigration system isn't really broken — contrary to what the president says.
Klayman and his client, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, say the president violated the Constitution by doing an end-run around Congress and say drastic changes in immigration programs should be stopped.
"President Obama and others recite that the immigration system of the United States is broken," Klayman wrote in a court filing. "It is unmistakable that the only thing that is broken about the nation's immigration laws is that the defendants are determined to break those laws."
The case is being handled by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, former general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and an Obama nominee.
Klayman is a conservative who has previously targeted the president, alleging that Obama falsely claimed U.S. citizenship. In October, Klayman petitioned the Homeland Security Department to start deportation proceedings against Obama.
Under the immigration program, the Homeland Security Department would prioritize the removal of immigrants who present threats to national security, public safety or border security. DHS officials could deport someone if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office director determined that removing the person would serve an important federal interest.
In the lawsuit, Klayman and Arpaio portray the administration's policy change as a way for more people to enter the country illegally and commit crimes, adding to the burden of law enforcement.
"This theory is speculative and unsubstantiated," the Justice Department argued in its own court filing. Obama's program places greater emphasis on removing criminal aliens and recent border crossers, the government countered.
Among the evidence in the case is a set of Arpaio press releases and letters to Homeland Security officials that say more than 35 percent of immigrants living in Maricopa County illegally who wound up in Arpaio's jails in 2014 were repeat offenders, signifying in the sheriff's view that DHS has done a poor job of deporting criminals.
Jennifer D. Elzea, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says that as a matter of policy, ICE does not comment on pending litigation.
ICE, a DHS agency, can and does release immigrants who have been arrested on criminal charges, including those who have yet to be convicted, for a variety of reasons. In some instances, immigrants are released from immigration jails because they are from countries that won't provide travel documents or otherwise are not likely to be deported within a reasonable time.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama is "recklessly" spreading rumors of a Pyongyang-orchestrated cyberattack of Sony Pictures, North Korea says, as it warns of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism."
Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea's massive propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington. But a long statement from the powerful National Defense Commission late Sunday also underscores Pyongyang's sensitivity at a movie whose plot focuses on the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, who is the beneficiary of a decades-long cult of personality built around his family dynasty.
The U.S. blames North Korea for the cyberattack that escalated to threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters and caused Sony to cancel "The Interview's" release.
Obama, who promised to respond "proportionately" to the attack, told CNN's "State of the Union" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Washington is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism
The National Defense Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army is ready to use all types of warfare against the U.S.
"Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the 'symmetric counteraction' declared by Obama," said the commission's Policy Department in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea has said it knows how to prove it had nothing to do with the hacking and proposed a joint investigation with the U.S.
North Korea and the U.S., which fought each other in the 1950-53 Korean War, remain technically in a state of war because the conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to deter aggression from North Korea.
The rivals are locked in an international standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses. In the spring of last year, tension dramatically rose after North Korea issued a string of fiery threats to launch nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul.