At precisely 8.30 on Boxing Day morning, the commercial side of Christmas pushed aside whatever spiritual side there ever was.
At that exact moment, the roller doors of the Nike store in the Canberra Outlet Centre were rolled up and a queue stretching back perhaps 200 metres started filing in.
Twenty minutes later, bargain hunters were still going in. Staff said it would never stop through the day.
The Adidas store a few metres down was an ocean of empty space.
First in line at the Nike store was Liam Duggan who had been there since 7.45 that morning.
"I just want to look at shoes," he said. "I like trying them on."
That was a common response to the suggestion that shopping had moved online and bricks and mortar were finished.
One of the reasons for the Nike rush was the relative rarity of Nike sales. The company doesn't do them as frequently as rivals, according to people in the store.
Over in Civic at the Canberra Centre, crowds had gathered from 7am when major department stores Myer and David Jones opened their doors.
By 9am when all remaining stores started the day's trade, the shopping centre was heaving with customers.
Some stores had lines well and truly out the door just to get in and snag a bargain, while in some cases, lines stretched even longer for people waiting to pay for their discounted goods.
Among the shoppers at Canberra Centre was Amaroo resident Cristina Foxhill, along with her 12-year-old son Cristian.
Ms Foxhill said the Boxing Day sales were more than just about finding a sale after Christmas.
"Cristian was born on Boxing Day, so this is his birthday shopping," she said.
"Everyone knows to give him money for Christmas so we can come shopping the next day."
Clutching multiple bags of shopping early in the morning, Ms Foxhill said there was still many shops to head to before the day was out.
"We usually start at Myer or David Jones because they open up at 7am and then we wait for everything else to open," she said.
Amy Fabbo was also in line early from 8am to buy activewear on sale.
"We got here early to beat the lines. It starts off somewhat busy and then it triples throughout the day," she said.
"I worked in retail in the past and I'm usually working on Boxing Day, so it's a rare thing and a luxury to have the day off today."
University of Canberra student, Emily Wheatley, is just starting out on a career after studying environmental science. She was looking for smart work clothes with her mother, Alison, at the Canberra Outlet Centre.
She was after shoes and more formal wear than student garb.
"And maybe a couple of treats," she added.
The sales offered lower prices and online buying didn't work for clothes.
Her mother, Alison Wheatley, said she did a lot of her shopping online "but I come here to top up".
"I dragged her out of bed," said Mrs Wheatley of her daughter. "She said, 'I'm tired'. But we needed to get into the car, get a good parking space, get in and get out."
She reckoned leaving the sales until 10am was leaving it too late.
Some shoppers just liked the buzz of shopping and taking the goods away on purchase. Kaitlin McCreadie said she wanted new joggers and reckoned the post-Christmas sale would save her $50 or $60.
"I go online shopping for brands that don't have a store because I like having them immediately."
The National Retailers Association expects $2.5b will be spent in the Boxing Day sales this year, up almost 3 per cent compared to the previous year.
In the ACT alone, $57 million is expected to be spent, up 3.7 per cent.
While many would be out the sales for clothes and electrical items, the association's executive director Russell Zimmerman said shoppers also looked to use gift vouchers they received at Christmas.
"These categories have performed strongly in Boxing Day sales in recent years, and we expect that trend to continue as shoppers get out today," Mr Zimmerman said.