Hoping to find the perfect gift that will bring smiles to the faces of her children on Christmas morning, Croan was not unlike dozens of other parents who flocked to the toy department in search of last-minute items before rushing home to begin the dreaded task of wrapping the gifts.
"I'm just kind of doing stocking stuffers today," Croan said.
But other shoppers around her, like Cloverdale resident Shantelle Moore, were just beginning their holiday shopping Tuesday afternoon.
"I hate it," Moore gave as her reasoning for waiting so long to hit the stores. "I am what you would call a last-minute shopper."
The BannerGraphic found her scanning the shelves at Wal-Mart in search of items for her son and daughter.
"I have six kids -- three of them at home -- and I'm just ready for it to be over," she said with a laugh.
Standing next to her, Moore's sister Elizabeth Farris, Cloverdale, was resting in the fact that she completed her shopping list weeks ago.
"I started in October and finished in November," Farris said with a smile. "I'm just here to buy paper plates."
Farris said she has three children, ages 7, 10 and 12. One of the top items on their wish list this year was the Sony Play Station II or PS2.
"They killed their first one," she said jokingly.
One aisle over, Cloverdale resident David Nelson didn't seem too worried as he shopped for items for his nieces and nephews. But unlike Moore, Nelson said he had good reason for waiting until the last minute.
"I like to avoid all the crowds after Thanksgiving," he said. "And I avoid the crowds the day before Christmas too."
Nationally speaking, Nelson and Moore are like one-third of Americans recently polled by Consumer Reports who say they plan to finish their holiday shopping on or after Dec. 23. Of those, one in nine, or 11 percent, say they plan to wait as late as Christmas Eve to finish their shopping, the magazine reported.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 28 percent of shoppers polled were like Farris who said she had already completed her shopping list for the year.
So what are the popular items this year?
The sure bet on any kid's list this year -- if you can find it -- is the T.M.X. Elmo. The fuzzy red character from Sesame Street is the descendant of the famed Tickle Me Elmo that was released several years ago. He walks, talks and giggles and is as cute as can be.
Also ranking high on Christmas lists this year is anything to do with Dora the Explorer, a Spanish-speaking cartoon girl who is the lead character of a popular children's television show.
The Diego talking Rescue Center and talking kitchen center are just two of many Dora items popular on store shelves this year.
For the older kids, electronics are all the rage.
Many of the school-age children with Letters to Santa, set to appear in the BannerGraphic this Friday, asked for new computers and cell phones.
Also popular among the older kids are video games and systems. Nintendo's Wii along with its new and improved version of Game Boy and Microsoft's X-Box 360 rank high on wish lists this year.
Other highly-requested electronics include Apple's iPod, which has given birth to the iDog and iCat, which makes one wonder if there will be any fights between the two.
On a more traditional note, many kids told Santa they wanted puppies, dolls, guitars, love, snow sleds and four-wheel vehicles.
One girl even asked for a makeover for her bedroom, asking Santa Claus to give her lime-green walls with sparkles, blue ceiling with clouds painted on it and beads to hang in front of her doorway.
Another curiosity this year are moon shoes. Owners of the shoes say they have "bouncy" soles that give the wearer a feeling of floating in the air or, as the name suggests, walking on the surface of the moon.
Many online consumer magazines offer top 10 lists to help guide shoppers in knowing what to buy.
Disney's Family Fun.com website lists Top 10 Toys for 2006 as: Biggest Littlest Pet Shop, Diego's Talking Rescue Center, Deal or No Deal Electronic Game, Spy Video Car, Baby Alive, Lil' Luvables Fluffy Factory, Bead Blast, Speed Stacks StackPack, Star Wars Transformers: Millennium Falcon and Bratz Cyber Style Laptop.
The About.com top 10 list includes: FLY Pentop Computer from Leap Frog, Weebles Weebly Wobbly Treehouse from Playskool, Dora's Talking Kitchen from Fisher Price, Tyco's R/C Shell Shocker, Hullabaloo from Cranium, Apples to Apples from Out of the Box Publishing, Dora the Explorer, Lego Star Wars, 20Q from Radica and Air Hogs Dominator from Spin Master.
Hot toys according to Consumer Reports include Lazer Tag Team Ops by Hasbro, New Super Mario Bros for Nintendo DS and DS Lite game systems, and Moon Sand Castle Set by Spin Master.
Receiving the magazine's "no thanks" rating were Cranium Giggle Gear: Mega Mask Kit, Lego Sponge Bob and Plankton's Adventure, Lego Mindstorms NXT and HyerScan Game System with X-Men by Mattel.