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Shoppers make the last mad dash


ELLIS -- In the final countdown to Christmas, local shoppers used quickly disappearing moments to make their last minute purchases.

At Cottage Lane Pumpkin Patch & Candles in Ellis, the mood was more social than consumer-driven. The cold barn, filled with a potpourri of candle scents was the backdrop for old friends preparing for the upcoming holidays.

Last-minute shoppers have been filtering into the barn the last few days, owner Donna Soneson said. Saturday morning, Kim Jakubowski, formerly of Ellis now living in Montana, and Stephanie Zweifel, Ellis, stopped by to see what new items the rustic barn had on display.

After sampling several unique scents in the chilly morning air, Jakubowski picked out several candles to take home with her.

"Those are last minute Christmas gifts for me," she said, laughing.

For many Americans a frenzied shopper's panic might have been setting in Saturday.

A Consumer Reports survey said about only about 33 percent of Americans had finished their holiday shopping with about 14 percent just beginning to buy gifts.

That panic seemed far from the walls of Impressions Everlasting, Hays, where shoppers took their time inspecting the new items on the shelves.

Alex Leslie, Morland, though, focused in on some specialized merchandise. His quest for rubber grapes would complete a weekend of gift-making.

"I need grapes to hang around wine bottle lamps," he said. "You drill a hole in the bottle and stuff in some Christmas lights and hang a bunch of grapes on the side.

"It makes a nice little night light. I'm doing a bunch of them so everybody in the family will have one."