Last-minute shoppers crowd stores

While children count down the minutes until Santa visits their homes with a sack full of Christmas presents wrapped in festive paper and ribbon, many adults were busy Thursday scouring stores for perfect gifts with just two days to go.

"I don't think anyone realized how close Christmas was," Maurice's manager Nancy Bohrer said.

The store has been busy this week, and Bohrer said she was relieved business finally picked up.

Bruce Bondy was scurrying around downtown Thursday to pick up gifts for his children, with whom he is celebrating a belated Christmas because they'll be with their mother for the holiday.

"I put a lot of it off," he said. "I scouted it out, though, so I'm just getting it all done at once."

Janet Pedersen was taking her time shopping at Centennial Mall, saying that she vowed not to rush the week of Christmas.

"I decided earlier in the week I was done and whatever I got after that is just extra," she said. "Whatever I get from now on has got to be all right."

Nancy Kramer was also taking her time and just enjoying the Christmas spirit around her at the mall.

She already shipped her gifts home to New Jersey, where she used to live.

She used to be a last-minute shopper but now she can't be. All the same, she said she'll be out today just to enjoy the atmosphere and decorations.

"I usually come shopping on Christmas Eve anyway, just because I like to," Kramer said.

Carol Wilson, owner of Neolithics Gifts and a member of the Downtown Business Association, hopes she sees a lot of people out today. She said she'll be open, but will close a bit early.

"It's been busy all week long," she said. "It comes in waves. But I'm sure as soon as my help leaves, I'll get slammed."

Wilson said she's excited about the holiday sales, but doesn't have much to look forward to once Christmas passes.

"The month of December is the make-it-or-break-it month," she said. "Then, everything goes stale in January."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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