Shoppers spend big bucks preparing for Easter

URBANA--'Tis the season for some holiday shopping.

"It's definitely like a mini Christmas," said Sarah Lubelski. "It's like the next big holiday that people really buy for."

But these toys aren't being dropped off by Santa.

"It's really all about the Easter Bunny for us," said Jamie Donspach. "The kids wake up and have their baskets from the Easter Bunny, have candy, usually a special gift as well."

With Easter around the corner, customers are stocking up on their gifts and celebratory supplies, giving a boost to local businesses in the process.

"We put the Easter stuff out in early March," said Lubelski, a store clerk at Art Mart Toys in Urbana. "And it's been selling pretty much ever since we've had it out."

Everything from 25-cent trinkets to trendy toys that can rack up a bigger bill.

"Actually just today someone wanted to buy Magna-tiles for their little ones and they run about $50, $60," said Lubelski. "That's actually like a pretty big gift, I think, for Easter."

Last year, the National Retail Federation estimated that consumers across the country spent a little less than $16 billion Easter celebrations. This year's numbers are not out yet, but parents are already predicting how many dollars they'll shell out.

"I would say, probably 50 to 100. Per child," said Donspach.

But it's the family fun that makes it all worthwhile.

"I have those memories," said Donspach. "And so I just wanted to keep those traditions going and have those memories for my children as well."

And that's something you can't put a price on.

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