Last-minute shoppers hit the stores for Christmas purchases

Jim Day
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Laura Fanning maneuvers her parcel laden shopping cart through the Charlottetown Mall as she does some last minute Christmas shopping. The Breadalbane resident and mother of four children, said she usually leaves her shoping until the last minute and does not mind the crowded stores. 

It’s roughly 10 a.m. Monday at the Charlottetown Mall.

With the Christmas countdown clock quickly ticking down, a calm Pat Aylward takes it all in stride with only half of his shopping complete.

“Day-and-a-half yet,’’ says Aylward, 54, of Union Corner after picking up an item for his wife at Lady Slipper.

“So lots of time left for shopping. This is way too early to be considered last minute. There will be men out here way after me.’’

Aylward fits in to the large group of gift seekers that hit the stores on the cusp of Christmas. He is, by nature, a procrastinator.

Still, while he may wait until the last minute, he is not frantic.

“I have a game plan usually,’’ he says. “I have an idea of what I am looking for and figure it out from there.’’

Aylward also only has one person on his shopping list for Christmas: his wife. His strategy for coming up with good gift ideas for his spouse is simple enough.

“Probably listening and going by hints,’’ he says. “I think those are man’s two best tools. They’re not really cryptic. No, they’re not riddles, thankfully.’’

Charlene Miller of Stratford was also in the Charlottetown Mall Monday but she was only one-quarter of the way done with her total Christmas shopping as noon approached.

The majority of her gift buying for 10 people, including her husband and their four children, as well as nephews and nieces, would have to be done on the last two days before Christmas

Gift certificates carefully selected for each individual’s purchasing preferences, she believes, is a safe bet in ensuring her presents are well received.

“A gift certificate can go twice as far after Christmas as before Christmas and they can pick out their own stuff and I still come away looking like a hero.’’

Miller, who is concentrating her shopping downtown in an effort to support local businesses, says the poor weather over the past week or so has delayed much of her shopping plans.

“So I’ve left it until the last minute. This is the first time for me leaving it like this.’’

Lori Cheverie, manager of the Bookmark in the Charlottetown Mall, says the recent storms have blown away valuable business.

She said customers are deterred by the need to climb over snowbanks to get into stores downtown. Driving to the big box stores may seem like less hassle, she adds.

“Leading up to the last week we were pretty much on par with last year,’’ says Cheverie.

“Now with the storm days we have sort of fallen a little bit behind, not quite being able to make up for the snow days and the clean up days.’’

In her 24 years at the store, Cheverie says she has never seen Christmas shopping so heavily hampered by poor weather.

“I don’t want to come off as a negative Nellie,’’ she adds with a smile.

All that snow accumulating on the ground and blowing about has been good news for the travel business, says Andrea Carr-McNeill of The Travel Store.

December, she notes, has been a strong month for selling trips.

“Typically we’d see the big influx in January with people kind of getting through Christmas, kids back in school, that kind of thing,’’ she says.

“But this year with the snow — I mean that’s the big thing — people are just like, ‘We are going to do it (travel).’ So we’ve seen a lot more walk-in traffic in December this year, which is fantastic.’’

Organizations: Union Corner

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