If you are heading out today to find a gift for that last person, or if you are brave enough to start your Christmas shopping today, expect long lines and great deals.
On the final weekend before Christmas Day, traffic inside and outside Greenwood Park Mall was jammed, with long, circular searches for a parking spot and lines at checkout registers growing by the minute. Area malls and shopping centers are open today for last-minute shoppers then will close until Friday.
The rush is on.
Story continues below gallery
Margie Emily came to Edinburgh Premium Outlets on Monday to finish her Christmas shopping with her best friend, Toni Montgomery of Seymour. Emily lives in Florida but comes back to the area for the holiday.
“We just got back from Florida, and I could only haul so much up here,” Emily said.
Since she could fit about 70 percent of her presents in a suitcase, Emily finished her shopping this week with Montgomery. Because she has five grandchildren, she had the challenge of buying five of each item, Emily said. She and Montgomery spent about five hours at Edinburgh Premium Outlets and planned to stop at other stores later that day.
Edinburgh Premium Outlets will close early at 6 p.m. today. The volume of shoppers is expected to be steady throughout the day but nothing overwhelming like Black Friday or weekends during the holiday season, mall officials said.
If you think this week was hectic at the malls, get ready.
The busiest day of the week at Edinburgh Premium Outlets will actually be Friday, said Nathan Elrod, director of marketing and business development. Stores will open at 7 a.m. Friday, and the crowd could eclipse the Black Friday throng, Elrod said.
Indianapolis retiree Chuck Frank was the designated bag-holder while his wife, Catherine, searched for last-minute gift items in the Christopher & Banks store at the Greenwood Park Mall during the weekend.
The couple had completed most of their shopping prior to the weekend but decided to get a few more things for their grandchildren. The family struggles to find clothes for one granddaughter who is extra small in size, and finding them is even harder at this time of year, Chuck Frank said.
Frank hoped the day’s trip to the mall would last no more than two hours but said he and his wife enjoy walking through the stores even when they are as busy as they were Saturday. After completing their shopping, the couple hoped to cap the visit at Starbucks with a chai latte, he said.
No time for tea or coffee for Connersville resident Kathy Hobson, who was rushing out of Payless Shoes and on her way to Hollister to find more gifts for her two teenage children.
Hobson said shopping on the weekend before Christmas was fairly typical for her, noting that she lives in something of a shopping mall no-man’s land between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Her kids were in Dick’s Sporting Goods nearby so she could keep their Christmas gifts a mystery until the family opens presents on Christmas Eve.
“I like making my kids happy, but I don’t enjoy spending all of this money,” Hobson said.
Mike Underwood of Greenwood was at the mall this weekend, even though his shopping was complete. He buys for the grandsons, while his wife, Beth, buys for the females in the family.
Beth Underwood was finishing her shopping, which included buying for her son and daughter-in-law, who recently returned home from a work assignment outside the country.
Mike Underwood was in good spirits as he watched the crowd of people stream in and out of the big department store, explaining he was looking forward to spending Christmas with his family but also was glad to nearly be done with shopping for the season.
Trisha Wolfe of Indianapolis was entertaining three small children who were sitting in a pair of baby strollers outside the Crazy 8 store. Her wife, Rochelle, was inside looking for clothes for the couple’s children.
The couple were hoping to take the kids to see Santa later in the day, but the first priority was finding some additional gifts for Christmas. Trisha Wolfe said work schedules had made it difficult for the two to do much shopping together so far this year.
They made their first purchases on Thanksgiving Day.
“I think most people now are shopping for different stuff than some of those big sale items. That day everybody is excited to get a big deal, and this weekend everybody is excited to be done with their shopping,” Rochelle Wolfe said. “We just want to find everything today so we don’t have to come back tomorrow.”
If you’re planning to stop at a few more stores before Christmas, try going this evening. Although most stores will close early, many residents are spending time with family members or at a local church service instead of at the stores. Edinburgh Premium Outlets should be busiest on Friday, due to a combination of people returning or exchanging gifts and taking advantage of sales in stores, said Nathan Elrod of Edinburgh Premium Outlets.