December 21st is considered to be the busiest shopping day of the year, according to Moneris, one of Canada’s largest debit and credit processors.  It says the volume of sales will surpass even Black Friday.

It's hard to believe that but don't think big screen TV's.  We're talking smaller items such as groceries and liquor, racking up a record number of transactions.

The sign at the entrance to Bath and Body Works at the Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa asks “What does Christmas smell like?”  Well today, it smells like money.  That's because, according to Moneris, the company that processes most of Canada's debit and credit card transactions, December 21 is the busiest shopping day of the year.

Jeff Guthrie is the Chief Marketing and Sales Executive with Moneris, “It’s very busy as people tick off those last minute items,” he says, “at the same time, people are buying the essentials for their festive feasts so grocery shopping and liquor, as people head into holiday season.”

Nathan Clouthier is doing some last minute shopping and has clearly noticed the crowd.

“I'd say your limit on debit and credit will be reached today because of all the last minute pick-ups.”

He's not the only one likely reaching that limit today. 

Elina Thelen says, “I love Christmas shopping but it's stressful. You always want to get the right thing.”

So it's 2 p.m. and according to Moneris, it is the busiest hour on the busiest shopping day of 2018, with some 600 transactions per second across Canada.

And that makes for a whole lot of chocolate sales at Purdy’s Chocolatier in Bayshore.

“We like the busyness,” says Kerry Coughlan, “We always welcome crazy, and with the Canada Post thing and everything, we've had a big influx in store but we've got lots of snacks so we're prepared.”

For retailers, the labor strife at Canada Post and the early winter has been their Christmas present.

Denis Pelletier is the General Manager of Bayshore Shopping Centre, “Now people say why take a chance, so that's had an impact (on the number of shoppers) so we're seeing people coming back to the mall.  We like to call it “off-line shopping.”

For some shoppers, the busier the better.

“It kind of builds up the excitement when there's lots of people,” says Bill Gilchrist.

But even Santa Claus needs a break on busy sometimes.

“Oh yes,” Santa Claus says, “We haven't had a break in a little while yet,” as yet another child is placed on his lap for a photo.

So, once Christmas is done, there's always Boxing Day. And while that used to be the biggest shopping day of the year, it's now fallen to third.