Keeley Fennell, left, and Kali Wainwright peruse Albany Mall doing some last minute shopping. While Wainwright enjoys waiting until the last minute to shop for Christmas, Fennell came to the mall from Cordele looking for variety. “Albany’s got better shopping, more variety,” She said. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — Whether trying to finish up, looking for that perfect something special or just getting started, Christmas shoppers were out in droves Friday with the holiday less than a week away.
“I’m just trying to finish up my wife’s Christmas stuff,” said Tim Hayes as he strolled through Albany Mall Friday morning. “I’m mostly ahead of the game with everything, but I’m usually a little last minute when it comes to my wife’s stuff because I use my Christmas bonus money.”
In addition to having to wait for his Christmas bonus to arrive, Hayes said shopping closer to Christmas usually means he gets good deals which helps him stay on budget.
“The deals have actually been a bit better this year than last year,” Hayes said. “I’ve been able to wrap hers up at a fraction of what I thought it would be.”
Finding a good deal is also one to the reasons Leesburg resident Angie Kendrick keeps shopping for gifts right up until Christmas Day.
“I started getting things in October but I’m still trying to get last minute things for the kids,” Kendrick said. “The sales are are always better right before Christmas too.”
Kendrick said even though she’s only got a few days left before the holiday arrives she knows exactly what she needs to get and for whom. She doesn’t always stick to her shopping list, she admits.
“I knew exactly what I needed but I did get stuff that’s not on my list,” said Kendrick. “I basically keep on and keep on and keep on, when it comes to shopping. My mom’s coming in from Florida tomorrow so I’ll be out shopping with her; probably right until Christmas.”
Shopping right up to the holiday is not, however, something Kendrick’s friend, Vickie Jennelle, wants to be doing.
“I’ve got one thing left and that’s it,” said Janelle. “After that, I’m done.”
For Kali Wainwright, last minute is the only way to go, be it when she was studying for tests in school or doing her Christmas shopping.
“I’ve always been last minute, that’s when I do things best,” Wainwright said. “I’m an on the edge person, so it just has to be last minute.”
No only does she wait until the last minute to shop, Wainwright said she waits until she’s out in the stores before deciding what to buy.
“I know who I need to get things for, but not what I’m going to get them,” said Wainwright. “It’ll end up what it is, I suppose. I’m last minute but it works. Plus, the closer to Christmas, I think, you get a better deal.”
Where Wainwright and Kendrick seem to thrive with last minute shopping, others try to get the bulk of their gift buying done before the season gets too hectic and only get out to pick up a few things here and there to finish up their shopping.
“I don’t usually wait until the last minute,” said Yetta Hudson of Pelham. “We started shopping at Thanksgiving. Now I’m just picking up last minute things. My daughter has a basketball game tonight so we had to come on early this morning.”
Hudson said using the last few days before the holiday made buying things easier, as she could get in and out of stores quickly.
“I know what I’m looking for,” Hudson said. “Now I’m just picking out colors and things.”
Cheyenne Colvin of Albany went a step further, saying she avoided last minute Christmas shopping on purpose, getting out with her mom and brother on Black Friday to take care of her friends and loved ones.
“I got out on Black Friday and I was done,” Colvin said. “I don’t like my mom to go out shopping like that by herself, so I went with her and took care of it.”
In fact, if it wasn’t for wanting to help her friend, Claire, with some holiday shopping, she wouldn’t have been doing any shopping this week.
Claire, who declined to give her last name, also had her Christmas shopping done early but had to make a return trip to the Albany Mall to buy gifts for a less fortunate family in Albany. Having just picked up some things from Bath and Body works, Claire explained her last minute holiday shopping.
“My mom loves Christmas and she loves giving,” Claire began. “She wanted to do something for another family. So we went through First United Methodist Church and they gave us a family to help by buying them Christmas gifts. We got a family of girls so I got them lotions and socks and stuff.”
Claire went on to explain that she was able to handle her normal gift buying for friends and family fairly early since she didn’t have that many people to buy for this year. She said that all her family members decided they weren’t going to buy each other gifts because they wanted to buy things for the less fortunate family.
Even her family members who live out of town, decided to just send money to Claire and her folks so they could use that to buy gifts.
“Our family just decided to pitch in and help others,” Claire said.