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Procrastinators and bargain hunters

With the holidays just around the corner, some Falcon residents may find themselves in a panic when they realize their holiday shopping is not done.There are many reasons people wait until the last minute to complete their shopping, said Daniel Butler, vice president of the National Retail Federation. Butler said while some people simply procrastinate, others wait for deals that spring up closer to the holidays. And some are shopping for themselves, realizing at the last minute they need to purchase gifts for others. There are those, too, who enjoy shopping at the last minute.”Most people mean well, but the holidays sneak up on them,” said Butler, who has been in the retail industry for 26 years.However, others are raring to go even before the Thanksgiving turkey settles. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, is still the most competitive shopping day, Butler said. Some shoppers brave the crowds in the name of tradition, he added. Women are especially drawn to Black Friday – it’s a day for group shopping and lunching with friends – while the other gender focuses on football.As the holiday approaches, those males might find themselves in a fourth down situation with seconds left on the clock.Typically, men are more likely to shop at the last minute, Butler said. “You often see a panicked look from about 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve because people realize Christmas is tomorrow,” he said. “What happens is they buy almost anything they find that is pre-wrapped.”And others are overwhelmed by the “sheer amount of choices,” Butler said.One of the popular choices for last-minute shoppers is the gift card. It’s not as last minute as the cash-in-a-card present, but it’s still convenient and today more acceptable, Butler said.Luckily for Falcon last-minute shoppers, there are plenty of stores that offer unique gifts and helpful services for last minute shoppers.Prairie Jewel is one.Don Cronkhite, owner, said Christmas is always a busy time of year for the jewelry business, and last minute shoppers frequent his business.”Yes, that does happen in the jewelry business. Mostly men procrastinate, though,” he said. “Women usually come in and find something they like, and their husbands come in later to buy it for them.”Most last minute shoppers are in good spirits, Cronkhite said. “I’m happy to see last minute shoppers. It’s always nice to get a customer.”Cronkhite creates his own jewelry, from the wax model to the finished product.”After 30 years of doing this, I try to do different things with jewelry,” he said.Diamond and gold jewelry, gemstones and Colorado western style jewelry are among the items found at Prairie Jewel. Some of his more popular items are hand-cut diamond snowflake earrings and pendants. “No two are alike, just like real snowflakes,” Cronkhite said.Dave (who opted not to reveal his last name), Falcon Flowers owner, not only sells floral arrangements, but also a wide variety of gift items. He said his most popular gift item is the Willow Tree Angels. He also features a new line of Wind & Willow cheese balls and dips, as well as hand-poured candles, Christmas novelties, holiday arrangements and wreaths.”For items that need to be delivered, I would recommend coming in the week before Christmas because the selection declines as it gets closer to the holidays,” he said.Larry Sady, Big R store manager, said when he sees last-minute shoppers walk through the doors they “seem to be fairly happy, but … rushed.”I think we all procrastinate to a certain extent.”Big R offers a wide selection of western wear, automotive items, tack and saddle, sporting goods, toys and a new line of western furniture.Customers are always welcome at Big R, Sady said, no matter how late they are shopping for the holidays. “We leave the doors open … and stay open until the business gets slack. We like to help every customer.”Sun Seekers owner Julie Momberg offers more than pampering services like manicures, pedicures, massage and tanning. Momberg also sells great stocking stuffer items, including lotions, nail polishes, oils, nail files and moisturizers. Gift certificates are available for products or services.”When you’re running around doing last minute shopping, pamper yourself as well,” she said.Alanna Robertson, Tropic Tan manager, said they see procrastinators, too.”We do get last minute shoppers,” she said. “Usually, it’s the mothers who buy tanning packages for their teenager daughters.”Robertson offers the Mystic Tan system, a 60-second spray that applies a glow lasting up to eight days. Robertson said Mystic Tan is popular during the holiday party season. She also sells gift certificates for patrons.Elements of Design, owned by Gwen Mai, has an array of home decor items that adorn the store. A selection of holiday party and hostess gifts are sold throughout her store as well, including wine bottle covers and decorations, pottery tea light holders and candles. Customers also will find unique Christmas ornaments and seasonal holiday gifts, such as an ornament chime tree and miniature 16-inch spiral tree with lights.”We have some really nice things, and our prices aren’t expensive,” Mai said.Tammy Weeda, Richardson’s Western Supply salesperson, said she has seen customers walk into the store as late as closing time on Christmas Eve. “It comes too fast for some people,” she said. “And some customers just want to wait for the sales.”Weeda said she is always happy to see last minute shoppers, and there are plenty of gifts to choose from. Richardson’s, a family owned business, sells Painted Pony figurines, toy Breyer horses, home furnishings, western style picture frames, tack, saddle and rodeo gear. Weeda said Richardson’s has just introduced a new line of trailers for ATV’s.At Pack, Ship & More, the last-minute customer can shop for a gift and send it – one-stop shopping. It’s the busiest time of the year for owner Moira Theriault.”We have a few diverse services,” she said. Besides gift items and packaging and mailing, the store provides laser engraving, spiral binding and copier services.The gifts, Theriault said, are not likely found in regular department stores.Among the unique gifts are greeting cards and framed prints by local artists, Christmas wreaths and swags by local craftsman, scented oils and wax bars, reed diffusers, crackling wick candles, coffee mugs, ornaments, wood sailboats with linen sails and stuffed animals.Pack, Ship & More is a Webkinz distributor. Webkinz offers a line of stuffed animals that kids can “adopt.” After the adoption is final and the stuffed animal is home, his “owner” can visit the Web site, and with a code, can access activities, shop for the “pet” and interact with other Webkinz owners.Of course, packing and shipping is a huge part of their holiday business.”There’s always a big rush during the holidays,” Theriault said. Beginning the first of December, the U.S. Postal Service sends a semi truck every day to pick up excess holiday packages, she said.And last-minute is nothing. “We’ve even had people come in January to ship Christmas gifts.”When the fruitful day of shopping is done or not, visit Espresso at Stratfords. “We have great coffee for people who want to come in to relax after a successful day of shopping,” said owner Richard Stratford. And while sipping a hot cup of java, check out the jewelry, fragrant decorator soaps, coffee cups and etched cups and goblets for more last minute gift ideas.Now that the crunch is on to find the perfect gift, local businesses encourage shoppers to visit their stores.”Local businesses so appreciate local shoppers,” Mai said. “It’s nice to support retailers in the area.”More ideas: Gift certificates for massages, hair cuts/styles and manicures and special hair products at The Mane Salon. Visit the new Unicorn Salon for gift certificates as well. Garden supplies for your earthy friends are available at Don’s Garden Shop and Colorado Tree Nursery. Be sure to check out all the NFH advertisers.For the animals and you: Don’t forget the retailers featured in the Dec. 1 edition’s pet gift guide: Farmer Jim’s and Bartlett Hay.And Walgreen’s and Safeway is another option for the last, last-minute shoppers.Don’t forget Falcon restaurants and fast-food options for gift certificates and home-cooked alternatives (too busy shopping to cook): Frankie’s, Domino’s, Jill’s Country Café, Mancino’s, KFC, Wendy’s, Sonic Burger, Pizza Hut, and Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

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