STEUBENVILLE - Tim McFarland and his daughter Leah had already spent three hours Saturday at the Fort Steuben Mall looking for the perfect gift for his wife.
"And I am sure I will be back here Sunday and Monday and maybe Tuesday. I always shop up until the last minute or until the money is gone," the Mingo Junction resident laughed.
"I brought my daughter to help me pick out a nice present for my wife. Leah always helps me find the right gift. Its not too busy in the mall today so we are just going to different store looking at what is available," McFarland added.
Alivia Smith of Weirton sat with her grandmother Vicki Stephen Saturday afternoon at the Fort Steuben Mall after a last minute shopping trip. Stephen said her granddaughter wanted pretzels and cheese from the mall for lunch. So after the pair finished their shopping trip they relaxed on a bench at Center Court. -- Dave Gossett
Chris Crouch of Wintersville was carrying several bags while his wife Jennifer and their daughter Makayla continued the peek into stores and do some window shopping in the mall.
"We're just doing some last minute shopping after we looked over our list. We are mainly looking for gifts for immediate family today. And we are finding something for everyone today. Plus there are some very nice sales going on today. Yeah, we will probably be back at least one more time before Christmas," declared Crouch.
"We have only been here for about 20 minutes so far and have already purchased gifts at two different shops. I am probably finished in another hour hour but I think my husband has a lot more shopping to do before Christmas," noted Jennifer Crouch.
The steady Saturday rain may have kept some shoppers from venturing out into the spring like weather Saturday but the small businesses said they were seeing a steady line of customers shopping for presents Saturday.
The elves at the Santa Claus North Pole Station at the mall's Center Court said they were surprised more children weren't stopping by to see the jolly old man Saturday.
"It has been really busy up until today. But we are expecting the crowds to pick up again Sunday and Monday. And Christmas Eve is usually a good day for the kids," explained one of the elves.
Vicki Stephen of New Cumberland came to the mall Saturday, "to find a last minute present for my brother as part of our family gift exchange. I brought my granddaughter Alivia Smith of Weirton to help me. We found a Steeler's jacket I think my brother will like."
"I usually have all my gifts purchased long ago. But I had this one gift to get so we came shopping today. And now I am finished," Stephen said.
"And now we are having lunch. I wanted to go to Eat N' Park but Alivia really wanted the pretzels and cheese they sell here at the mall. So that is our lunch today," Stephen related.
Shaylynn Dornbush of Hopedale spent an hour at the mall, "and found everything I need."
"I am finished with my Christmas shopping. We are done. There were some great sales in the stores and I have everything I was looking for," Dornbush declared.
Melissa Cook of Mingo Junction and her husband did some last minute shopping Saturday before heading to lunch.
"I almost always wait until the last minute to shop because I am a school teacher and don't have a lot of time. But our last day before the Christmas break was Friday so I am out here looking for things for the kids and some good deals. And I will probably be back here again on Christmas Eve looking for that really last minute gift. We pretty much do everything at the last minute. I like that rush," Cook explained.
Dee Boni of Steubenville was busy Saturday looking for a purse and clothing for family members.
"We have been finding shopping success for the past hour. We will probably be here another hour and the kids are starting to get tired. But we should be done with our shopping after today. At least I hope so," said Boni as she looked over at her son Matthew and daughter Francesca and their friend Ashley Lamatrice who were relaxing on a nearby bench.
Andy Strohmeyer of Mingo Junction was walking with his son Andrew through the mall Saturday.
"We're looking for some family gifts and he wants to get a present for his mom. So we will be here till Andrew finds the perfect present for his mom," Strohmeyer remarked.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)