In the nick of time

The wind chill may have been below zero, but that didn’t stop determined shoppers who were spending their Christmas Eve trying to find last-minute gifts for family and friends.

Throughout the Crossroads Mall, shoppers could be seen carrying bags and boxes as they walked around and peeked into stores to see if they could spot one more item for someone they knew.

Deb Rauhauser, of Moorland, even had a list with her to make sure she didn’t forget anyone.

She doesn’t normally shop last minute, but, she said, “I’ve been so busy trying to fight the crowds.”

She added, “It’s very stressful because I still have to go home and wrap all of these.”

Another dilemma Rauhauser faced was not knowing what to buy for those on her list.

“I’m doing shopping for family members, but I don’t know what all of them want,” she said. “I decided to go with gift cards, because then they could pick something they want.

“Hopefully I’m not here until 4 o’clock.”

Jim Carver, of Rockwell City, was at the mall shopping for a last-minute gift for his granddaughter, Abby.

“We spent last night wrapping madly and then we realized we were short one gift,” Carver said.

Although he was shopping last-minute, Carver didn’t mind.

“It’s actually pleasant today,” he said. “Though we would like to have it done quicker if we could.”

Some shoppers, including Terry Biggs, of Fort Dodge, routinely shop at the last minute.

“It drags on until the very last day,” he said. “But it’s mostly small things like stocking stuffers.”

Corie Harvey, of Fort Dodge, was shopping for her mother.

“I do this every year,” Harvey said, referring to 11th-hour shopping. “I love it.”

She said she didn’t mind going out on Christmas Eve to shop.

“It always works out for me every year,” she said.

She wasn’t shopping for anything in particular, she said, “just whatever catches my eye.”

Nate Stuhr, of Manson, said his work hours mean the only time he can shop is on Christmas Eve.

“I normally don’t get any time off until the day before Christmas,” he said.

Stuhr said in his experience, Christmas Eve shopping isn’t as busy as people might believe.

“I was here (at the mall) with my wife on Friday and it was crazy,” he said. “Today’s not so bad.”

He said last-minute shopping has its advantages.

“There’s plenty of time to figure out what to get everybody,” Stuhr said.

Business owners experienced increased sales from those shoppers who waited to complete their lists.

Nathan Dencklau, manager of Riddle’s Jewelry, said he had seen a large number of male customers on Christmas Eve. Most of them were interested in diamonds.

“They’re coming out in droves,” he said. “The last two days before Christmas are some of the busiest of the year for us.”