“If history holds true, Christmas Eve will be extremely busy,” said Jeff Weiss, owner of Learning Express in Woodstock.
Some customers might be in a panic Christmas Eve, but some are looking for last-minute deals.
“We get a lot of deal hunters and a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to get something!’” Woodstock Big Lots Manager Gloria McIntyre said.
And while Christmas Day sneaks up on some people, Chamberhouse owner Cleveland Chambers said some customers enjoy shopping on Christmas Eve.
“We have a few people who are traditionalists, and they just don’t shop until Christmas Eve. They like the hustle and bustle. And we wrap the gifts, get them ready. All the customer has to do is select it,” he said.
Small items will likely be big sellers in the days right before Christmas.
“We get some people who come in and realize the gift piles are a little uneven, so they need to get some of that at the last minute. Also a lot of stocking stuffers or gifts for relatives who decided to come visit at the last minute. We get some folks coming in for travel toys, too,” Weiss said.
McIntyre said customers buy items like toothbrushes and socks, in addition to things like games and puzzles, for stocking stuffers at Big Lots. Chambers recommended Vera Bradley gifts and jewelry for last-minute purchases and local food items as hostess gifts.
The holiday season has been a busy time for retailers so far this year. Weiss said this year’s hot toy item, a dice game called Tenzi, has become his store’s best-selling game ever.
Chambers said starting the season off with American Express’s Small Business Saturday started the holiday season with good momentum that has lasted throughout December.
“We really and truly have been blessed with customers,” he said.