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Gift ideas for the last-minute shopper

Downtown Morris shop owners offer gift advice for those with little time

Published: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Jessica Bourque – jbourque@shawmedia.com)
Kim Tutory of Streator bought last-minute gifts for friends and family at Ruby Begonia's on Friday. Tutory is one of many shoppers who still has Christmas shopping left to do this weekend.
Caption
(Jessica Bourque – jbourque@shawmedia.com)
Jane Kerr, owner of Apple Butter & Shugies in downtown Morris, wraps a present for a customer Friday. This weekend is one of the busiest as shoppers rush to local stores for last-minute gifts.

MORRIS – There’s just four days until Christmas and for those who have yet to check off their best friend who has everything or their father with too many neckties from their shopping lists, local business owners have offered up some advice.

“I’m a procrastinator,” last-minute shopper Kristen McDonough said Friday. “Usually, my last-minute gifts are things I couldn’t buy on Amazon. The stuff I can’t buy online always gets pushed to the end.”

On Friday, McDonough drove from Plano to finish shopping in downtown Morris for her father and girlfriends. She found a few gifts, including a giant, decorative mustache and other items, at Apple Butter & Shugies on Liberty Street.

“When you look at our store, there’s nothing you really need, but a lot of things you really want,” said Jane Kerr, owner of Apple Butter & Shugies. “At this point, when people are struggling and scrambling for gifts, they see something and say, ‘OK, that looks good.’ ”

Kerr said her store carries a lot of items that make good gifts for girlfriends, fathers, teachers and neighbors who can be difficult to shop for.

“This week, people start coming in to buy teacher gifts before winter break,” Kerr said. “And then all of the girlfriends are getting together this week for their parties so they will shop for something small, usually $10 or less.”

Kerr recommends novelty T-shirts and other “mancave items” for those shopping for dad, and Mitchell soaps and lotions for mom.

Cathy Fleetwood, owner of The Front Porch in downtown Morris, said she often recommends candles and ornaments as last-minute gifts.

“Candles and wine make good hostess gifts if you’re going to a holiday party,” Fleetwood said.

The Front Porch also carries Tervis insulated tumblers, which come with lifetime guarantees and make great gifts, Fleetwood said.

Whitney Bryden of Me Tu Boutique and Jan Hibler of Ruby Begonia’s, both in downtown Morris, recommended scarves and jewelry as last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers.

“Everyone likes scarves,” Hibler said as she gift-wrapped a customer’s scarf. “They’re universal.”

Bryden said since her store is tailored to women ages 18 to 40, many of the last-minute shoppers she sees are husbands and fathers.

“We have a lot of jewelry and accessories. You can’t go wrong with those,” Bryden said. “And leggings. Leggings are huge right now. We’re selling a lot of those.”

Many local businesses said they offer sales to clear out their end-of-year inventory and lure in the last-minute shoppers.

“We probably have about 15 items in our store right now that are buy one get one free,” Kerr said.

Anna Aimaro, owner of Betty’s in downtown Morris, said she tries to offer gifts for every price range.

“We have bracelets that I recommend because they range between $10 and $30 and the company donates 25 percent of all the profit to charity,” Aimaro said.

For dads and brothers, Aimaro said she recommends records and vintage music posters from the ’60s and ’70s.

“We have a lot of Beatles and John Lennon posters,” Aimaro said.

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