Stores have gifts to grab

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 24, 1999

Down for the count doesn’t mean out of luck for Lawrence County’s last-minute shoppers.

Friday, December 24, 1999

Down for the count doesn’t mean out of luck for Lawrence County’s last-minute shoppers.

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Area store managers say plenty of items are still stacked on the shelves for last-minute buyers and rushed-looking elves who are still stirring on Christmas Eve.

"We still have plenty of bath and body items for the ladies, which make good last-minute gifts," Ironton Ames manager Paul Goebel said. "There are several gift sets to choose from, and we have a lot of cologne and perfume sets that could be picked up at the last minute, too."

In the spirit of the holiday countdown rush, Ames will leave its doors open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, giving mice, shoppers and all the other creatures plenty of time to stir up some holiday cheer on the night before Christmas.

The shopping hours should make it easy for a forgotten item to be purchased in time for Christmas morning, Goebel said.

Selection is not a problem, even at this late date, he added.

"Sound and video items always make good last-minute gifts that can be picked up in a hurry," he said. "We are always well-stocked in our sound and video department, so there are several items to choose from."

Wrapping up the gift of warmth won’t cause headaches, either, he said.

"We also have plenty of sweaters, hats and gloves," Goebel said. "These are things that can be picked up easily at the last minute for someone you might have forgotten to buy for and we carry so many of these items that there are a lot left to choose from."

For slightly bigger last-minute purchases, the store still has plenty of larger items, such as appliances, left on the shelves, he said.

"We always have a nice selection of small appliances all yearround, and there are plenty of those items left for Christmas buyers," he said.

Even the most difficult of all the men on a Christmas list can be satisfied with one of the last minute pick-ups from Ames’s shelves, Goebel assured hurried shoppers.

"We have many of the standard items for men that would make good last-minute gifts," he said. "We’ve got a lot of the thermal items, fleece sweatshirts, socks and cologne sets."

Toys, too, can still fill an empty stocking - provided the item isn’t on this year’s hot toy list, Goebel said.

"We’ve got a lot of toys left in stock, but none of the hot toys are left," he said. "If it was a hot toy this year, then it’s gone. But we do have several of the more standard toys left on the shelves."

At Wal-Mart, the key to last-minute shopping is usually finding a unique or unusual gift, said co-manager Mike Chapman.

"The smaller, luxury items are a good last-minute gift," Chapman said. "It’s what you buy for people you don’t know what to buy for or have waited until the last minute to buy for, and it’s usually something they will like and use but wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves."

For example, a Dr. Scholl’s Palm Gift Massager, which rings in at just under $10, is a unique and useful way to say Merry Christmas. And, because it is small and lightweight, it’s a grab-and-go item for the last-minute shopper that is sure to be a hit with the receiver, he said.

Other similar items, such as the Body Basics Acoustic Relaxation Machine Sound Spa, which produces a variety of sound simulations from ocean waves to gently falling rain, seems to be popular for last-minute shoppers with a price under $20.

And, the gift of music is always a good choice, with unique items like the Country Cuddles gift sets, which include a plush holiday bear and CDs from various country artists like Reba McIntyre and Clint Black for under $13.

If a more traditional gift is the item a last-minute buyer is looking for, gift sets are tried and true, Chapman added.

"We also have several different gift sets of lotion and bath gels that are very popular for the ladies and would make good last-minute gifts," he said. "We do have men’s sets available, too."

Video gift sets are in big supply and can be plucked easily from the shelves, dropped into one of many Christmas gift-bags and rushed under the tree, he added.

Titles like "Miracle on 34th Street," "Jingle All the Way," and "A Christmas Carol," make nice, fast, holiday gifts and there are still plenty left to grab for under $20, he said.

When in doubt for a last-minute item, the best idea is to grab a gift set and keep the receipt handy, Chapman advised.

"The day after Christmas will be a huge return day, and without a receipt, it will be really difficult for the clerks to assist the person returning the item," he said. "It’s always a good idea to keep the receipt in case something needs returned."