It's literally down to the wire for last minute Christmas shopping, but procastinators should have lots of company.
The National Retail Federation has reported that as of mid-December only 11.3 percent of Americans said they had completed their shopping lists. The rest have been hitting stores hard for the last two weeks, and some are still finishing up today.
Aware of that fact, some area stores will stay open later than usual Christmas Eve to accommodate those looking for an eleventh-hour gift.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Three-year-old Logan Taylor of Marietta shows mom, Brandy Taylor, what he wants for Christmas as the two finished some last minute shopping at the Marietta Kmart Sunday afternoon.
The Cook's Shop on Front Street is a favorite stop for late shoppers.
"A lot of people come in at the last minute with that glazed look in their eyes, so we're staying open until 3 p.m. today," said Ken Kupsche co-owner of the shop with wife, Dagmar.
He said the store is big for stocking-stuffers, but the shop also has plenty of larger kitchen cookware gift items.
Where last minute shoppers say they're headed (8,333 surveyed-some multiple answers):
Department stores-44. 5%
Clothing and accessory stores-23.2%
Online Christmas Day-8.2%
Top five items on shopping lists:
Clothing or clothing accessories.
Books, CDs, DVDs, or video games.
Consumer electronics or computer-related items.
Source: National Retail Federation-commissioned survey by BIGinsight
Jennifer Dahler of Marietta joined some of the late shoppers at the Cook's Shop Sunday afternoon.
"I'm usually doing better than this," she said. "But I've been working a lot lately, so now I'm trying to wrap up a few last minute things."
Kupsche said shoppers were out in force over the weekend.
"Saturday was really busy-we were packed with customers for most of the day," he said.
Thomson's Landscaping on Pike Street was also seeing a lot of last minute buyers Sunday.
"We opened at 11 a.m., and there were people already waiting at the door," said sales associate Jan Rowley.
She said people will come in to buy ornaments and other Christmas items today, including cut or balled Christmas trees that can be planted after the holiday.
"We're open until 5 p.m. Monday and will be selling trees until the last minute," Rowley said. "Some people buy their trees late because they don't want the needles falling off the tree before the holidays are over."
Marietta Food 4 Less manager Brad Forshey said the supermarket will be open until 7 p.m. today for late shoppers.
"They'll pile in here today and Monday," he said on Sunday. "A lot of people stop to get groceries for their Christmas meals after they're done shopping for gifts."
Forshey said fruit baskets and candy are favorite last minute gift items at Food 4 Less every year.
He noted shoppers have Christmas Eve as an extra weekend day this year because Christmas falls on Tuesday.
Kathy Runion of Waverly, W.Va., and her mother, Sandy Tornes of Waterford, were polishing off their Christmas shopping with a last trip to buy some holiday food.
"We're mostly done-just getting the groceries today," Runion said. "I like to get the meats, bread, and vegetables last because we want them to be fresh on Christmas."
Tornes said it was good to have her gifts wrapped and ready for Christmas day.
"All we have to do now on Christmas is exchange the gifts, then eat, eat eat," she laughed.
Marietta's Kmart store on Pike Street won't close until 10 p.m. today, said store manager Randy Hupp.
"We're open the latest of any of the larger retail stores," he said. "Shoppers will be coming in to buy whatever they can find. We still have a lot of small appliances. But toys are beginning to thin down."
Hupp said he's expecting a lot of business today.
"Last minute buyers will probably be buying items like clothing, cosmetics and jewelry right up to closing time," he said.
Brenda Erb of Lowell was just beginning her holiday shopping at Kmart Sunday afternoon. But she had a good excuse.
A cancer survivor in remission, she had to go through some medical tests lately and didn't have time to shop.
"I just thank God for blessing my life," she said. "And my greatest gifts this year are my children and grandchildren who will be coming home for Christmas."
Olive Mendenhall of Marietta said she's normally done with shopping at this time.
"I'm usually done early," she said. "Today I'm getting groceries for the kids. They all love ham, so I'm getting one for each of them this year."
Justin Arthur of Marietta was just catching up on Christmas shopping Sunday.
"Typically I don't wait this long," he said. "But I've been out of town. Normally I would be done by now."
He said the stores haven't been too crowded this weekend.
"Surprisingly the shopping has gone pretty smooth," Arthur said. "But I'm hoping this will be my final shopping trip today."