VIENNA - Shoppers were out at the Grand Central Mall Monday morning finishing their holiday shopping, picking up some odds and ends, while others were on a marathon shopping excursion to do all their shopping in one big trip.
Sylina Kittle of Little Hocking, Ohio, was out with one of her sons picking up some last-minute items. She is going to be spending Christmas with her four boys.
"We are finishing things up," she said. "There are a few things here and there that we need to pick up.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Jody Stewart and Rose Russell of the Parkersburg Woman’s Club wrap gifts of last-minute shoppers at the Grand Central Mall Monday.
"We are almost done."
They went to the mall early Monday during the special holiday hours that started at 8 a.m. to try to avoid the big crowds they were expecting.
"I can't stand it when it is a madhouse in here," Kittle said with a laugh.
Steven Deem of Clarksburg could not find what he needed for his mother back home so since he was in Belpre to spend the holiday with her, he went to the Grand Central Mall and found what he needed. He went out early in hopes of avoiding the expected crowds.
"I am now done," he said. "This finishes everything up."
Bob Stout of Parkersburg was out doing his last bit of shopping before heading home for the evening.
"This is a last-minute day," he said. "I always buy something on Christmas Eve."
"It is just the way it works out. I am just finishing up."
He found what he was looking for and was waiting outside the booth where the Parkersburg Woman's Club was doing gift wrapping to have his purchases wrapped.
Stout has family already here and the rest were expected to be in by Monday evening.
"I am looking forward to having dinner with the family and just spending time with them," he said.
Things were busy throughout the day at the Parkersburg Woman's Club wrapping station.
"Christmas Eve is usually our busiest day," said Jody Stewart, the publicity chairman of the Parkersburg Woman's Club. "We usually get crushed."
They started with six volunteers when they first opened Monday and more joined them throughout the day to the point they will have over a dozen volunteers helping to wrap gifts.
"We try to finish up around 2 p.m., but we always have folks at 2 p.m. begging us to wrap their gifts," Stewart said. "We will stay as long as we need to in order to get their Christmas gifts all wrapped up and ready for tonight."
Stewart said many people wait for the Christmas Eve sales before getting anything, while a lot of gentlemen always seem to wait until the last minute to begin their holiday shopping on Christmas Eve.
"It must be a tradition for them," she said. "They seem to enjoy it.
"We are always happy to help them out when they bring their stuff to us to wrap."
Parkersburg Woman's Club President Patty Miser said they usually have around 50 members who help with the gift-wrapping project throughout the holiday season. Money raised goes toward projects the club does throughout the year.
"We have been doing this for over 30 years," she said.
They have members who have made bows they use on wrapped gifts. Local Key Club members from local schools have come in to help them wrap gifts. Businesses have donated needed materials, like Coldwater Creek donating boxes for the volunteers to put the gifts in before wrapping them.
"A lot of men seem to enjoy what we do," Miser said of the gift wrapping. "They always seem to be our last-minute customers and they look for us every year.
"They are always the ones waiting for us to open."
Gene Smith of Parkersburg was one of the people waiting to have his wife's gifts wrapped by the Parkersburg Woman's Club.
He is aware of all of the things the club does throughout the community and has known many people involved in the club.
"I like to help them out," Smith said. "We always tried to support them in anyway we could."
Another benefit is all of his gift wrapping is done and that makes for a very merry Christmas for everyone.
"Everyone is happy, especially the wife, and that is the most important part right there," Smith said.