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Last-minute holiday shoppers treated to sunny skies in Durango

Last-minute shoppers enjoyed sunny skies in Durango on Christmas Eve day. “Actually, I shop quite a bit on Christmas Eve because you can catch some really good sales,” said Jim Lyman of Durango. (Garret Jaros/Durango Herald)
Some claim procrastination and others strategic planning for shopping the last day before Christmas

The weather outside was not frightful – in fact it was most delightful – for last-minute shoppers who unzipped or ditched their winter coats Christmas Eve day in downtown Durango to make that final holiday-gift buying dash.

“I’m glad I’m not alone on this,” said Beale Tejada, who then laughed as he looked along the sidewalks bustling with people balancing bags. “It’s really busy, actually. And it’s really handy that everything is open the day before Christmas right here in the main downtown Durango area.”

Tejada had several big bags held by dainty looped handles. He’s from Durango but lives in Denver and drove down to be with family – all of whom he was shopping for with only a day to spare. It’s his usual day to shop for Christmas.

“I knew what I wanted to get,” he said. “I’m just getting shoes for everybody.”

Across the street at Brown’s Sport Shoe, employee Cadence Klatt was busy wrapping gifts for customers.

“I’m the only one here who can actually wrap, so I do it a lot,” she said and laughed. “We get a lot of shoppers the day before Christmas. And a lot of them are getting socks. It’s like the main thing. People really want socks for stocking stuffers, which I think is really funny. We are running low.”

Klatt doesn’t mind working Christmas Eve day – “I honestly like people’s attitudes because everyone is excited for Christmas and everyone has the Christmas spirit in them so everyone is very happy and sweet.”

Kara Jahnke of Durango said she hopes to receive a nursing school planner – and socks – for Christmas.

“Socks suck when you’re a kid, but when you’re an adult they’re great,” she said. “They’re expensive.”

Last-minute Christmas shopping is not the norm for Jahnke, but last minute guests had her hustling to her car with two gift bags – the kind with decorative tissue spilling out.

“I usually try not go shopping or anywhere on Christmas Eve or Christmas,” she said. “I was actually shopping for my dad for my friends because he wanted to give them a present. And we are having my friend’s mom with us for Christmas dinner and I just found out this morning, so I wanted to get her something.”

Her marching orders included picking up a poinsettia, but because her friends have a cat she switched the script a little.

“I got a Christmas tree candle, which is kind of like a plant,” Jahnke said. “And a cactus ornament. So it’s kind of like a plant, but cat-proof. I had to get creative. I didn’t want to kill their cat.”

Jenny Andrew was shopping mostly for the “kiddos” she said as she perused flip-flops – which were dangerously close to the sock department. She owned up to the reason for her last minute shopping.

“Procrastination, I guess,” she said, and then laughed. “Mainly, I’m just looking around. I’m going to be selective about what I buy because we all have to much stuff, even the kids. But I’ll see if anything strikes my fancy.”

Stereotyping the last-minute shopper – short of most being middle-aged – proved difficult for retailers when asked if there was a certain gender that wins the procrastination prize. The exception was Ashley Gonnella, who pulled no punches from her perch behind the counter of Pine Needle Dry Goods.

“I think you can answer that for yourself,” Gonnella said and smiled. “Definitely more men. The men are a little more panicked. It’s usually pretty easy to sell them something.”

gjaros@durangoherald.com