Last-minute shoppers look for perfect gift

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Ashley Dyer, left, and Jessica Ladd discussed Vera Bradley bags Saturday at Renaissance in Cape Girardeau. Originally having agreed to not exchange gifts, Dyer changed her mind at the last minute to surprise her younger sister. (Kit Doyle)

Three days before Christmas, area stores still had plenty of one item: last-minute shoppers.

Some simply procrastinated. Others have been tied up at work. And for some, looking for Christmas gifts as the clock is ticking down is a tradition.

Emily Jones of Cape Girardeau was out shopping Saturday for two of those reasons -- she's been swamped at work and admits she's a little bit of a procrastinator.

Still, her timing has one advantage.

"Last-minute shopping is better because it's hard for me to keep a secret," she said.

By midmorning Saturday she'd purchased two items in downtown Cape Girardeau: a necklace at C.P. McGinty and a pair of jeans at The Woman's Store. Jones was not brave enough to count the number of people she had to shop for but was not anxious.

"I'm always searching for the perfect gift. You might call it perpetual window shopping. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting for everyone," she said.

Jones chose downtown Cape Gir?ardeau because "specialty shops and these sweet little stores like Renaissance make a difference. Their merchandise is not mass-produced, and you don't have to fight the crowd. The hardest part of today is not buying for myself," Jones said.

For John Pruitt of Cape Gir?ardeau, who teaches interior design at Southeast Missouri State University, last-minute shopping is a tradition. With only a few gifts purchased online so far, he hoped to knock out all his shopping Saturday. His store of choice was Cape Importers, which sells exotic art, sculpture, furniture, pottery and home decor items handcrafted in Indonesia.

"Most years I have a theme," he said. "I've done hats, books. ... This year, it's art."

Pruitt's gift list for a dozen people ranged from age 20 to 79. Having lived in St. Louis recently, he said that shopping at Cape Importers offered the kind of merchandise he was accustomed to.

Doug Dirnberger of Scott City and his 11-year-old daughter, Sydnie, were not last-minute shopping but came to see the merchandise from across the globe. "We were going to the movies, and we've wanted to stop in for a while," Dirnberger said.

Mia Myers of Cape Girardeau took three teenage girls to shop at Renaissance to get their friend a gift. She still had some last-minute shopping to do but was not concerned. Her children's gifts were already purchased, and the people left on her list were those she wouldn't see Christmas Day anyway.

"I don't usually leave it to the last minute, but we've been busy with doctor's appointments in St. Louis," she said.

At St. Louis' West County Mall on Saturday, Myers said, it took 30 minutes to find a parking spot. "It makes our mall look like a peaceful paradise," she said.

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