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Posted on Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

Last-minute shoppers count the hours before stores close

By Lisa Carolin

Kerrytown-shopping 3.jpg

Shoppers check out the goods in the Kerrytown Market & Shops in Ann Arbor this morning.

Lisa Carolin | For

Sunday is Christmas and despite that widespread knowledge, many people are sure to be shopping right up until the last minute. Malls and shopping centers are crowded, traffic is heavy, and parking lots are packed. Nevertheless, thousands of local folks are still doing their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve Day, some grudgingly and some with gusto.

"I am a perpetual last-minute shopper," said Dexter Township resident Cheryl Ruble. "I think it is symptomatic of my general tendency to procrastinate and rarely be on time for anything. That motivating adrenaline rush doesn't kick in until time has nearly run out, and it doesn't help that I always seek the 'perfect gift' for everyone on my list."

Ann Arbor resident Sarah Block is an admitted procrastinator, but she has a good excuse this year: "I waited until the last minute this year because I won't be celebrating Christmas with most of the people I'm buying gifts for until New Year's weekend," she said. "I figured that I'd probably find better deals closer to Christmas, and since I didn't have anything particular in mind for the people I'm shopping for, I wasn't worried about anything being sold out."

Block said that she encountered a lot of traffic in the area of Briarwood Mall and north of the mall on State Street. Traffic and parking challenges extended west to Chelsea, where 16-year-old Andrew Schwartz of Dexter was doing his last minute shopping for his mom.

"School keeps me busy and I can't drive yet, so that's why I waited," explained Schwartz. "When I shop for Christmas presents for my mom, I go with my dad, and when I shop for Christmas presents for my dad, I go with my mom. I have a history of waiting until the last minute."

So does Steve Tennyson of Scio Township. In previous years, he's bought gifts for his wife at the last minute. This year, he's rushing around to toy stores around Ann Arbor getting gifts for his three-and-a-half-year-old son.

"At Thanksgiving we thought we had forever to shop, and the next thing you know it's almost Christmas," said Tennyson. "Traffic is a nightmare, parking is a nightmare, but listening to Christmas music while shopping in a crowded store seems like Christmas to me."

Ann Arbor resident Teresa Behrens also enjoys the mood of last-minute shopping at Staples at Westgate Shopping Center in Ann Arbor.

"Part of the fun of Christmas is the mad rush at the end," she said.

Not so for Steve Kruzel of Hamburg Township. He and his two grown daughters solved their Christmas shopping challenges several years ago.

"We decided that Christmas is too important, and for the three of us, Christmas shopping and gifts have detracted from the spirit of Christmas," said Kruzel. "Now we go to church Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day, we get together and go to a movie."

Kruzel adds that when he used to buy gifts for his daughters he was a procrastinator.

"I never did like shopping," he admitted.


Robert Granville

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

Kruzel has got it right. Not so much the church part... but by checking out of "commercial christmas" and focusing on people instead of things he's done himself and his family a huge favor.