There are people who start their Christmas shopping in November and have had their gifts wrapped and under the tree for weeks.
And then there’s Jess Routh.
The Ottawa resident, who started his Christmas shopping Monday, braved the crowds at the Rideau Centre again yesterday afternoon for Round 2.
“I’m a procrastinator by nature,” said the professional body piercer.
Even though he left it to the last minute, he managed to wrap up his shopping, crossing eight people off his list in just over an hour. The day before, he bought presents for six people in 45 minutes.
His secret? Have an idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t be too specific.
“I go in with a general concept,” he said.
Andrea White had been so busy with work as a teacher at Samuel Genest High School she had not been able to do any shopping until the students were let out for Christmas break.
“I pretty much left everything until the last minute,” she said yesterday, walking out of the Bay store downtown with an armload of bags.
White said she usually buys most of her gifts in a “one-day blitz.” She started early yesterday morning and finished her shopping before 2 p.m.
“It’s worth getting out of bed early just to be able to avoid the crowd,” she said.
The crowds are absolutely frustrating around this time of year, Routh agreed. “You have two kinds of people — the people who are in full gear and pushing and shoving, and the people in neutral, who have no clue what they’re doing.”
Friends Chelsea Honeyman and Jill McMillan witnessed frenzied shoppers descend on freshly unpacked Olympic paraphernalia yesterday.
“People were swarming around the bins,” Honeyman said.
Loaded down with packages, Honeyman called their trip downtown “a full-on last-minute shopping extravaganza.”
Although she went on “a hectic recon mission” Sunday, the crowds were far worse yesterday, she said.
At the Lost Marbles novelty and collectibles shop on William Street, manager Kader Blaine said store traffic has been steadily increasing since November.
“December has been pretty busy,” he said.