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updated: 12/20/2011 6:50 PM

Don't panic: Gift options abound for last-minute shoppers

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  • One suggestion for avoiding the crush of last-minute shoppers is to visit a 24-hour store, like Meijer or Wal-Mart, in the middle of the night.

      One suggestion for avoiding the crush of last-minute shoppers is to visit a 24-hour store, like Meijer or Wal-Mart, in the middle of the night.
    Joe Lewnard/Daily Herald 2004

  • Need a gift for a child or teen? Call ahead to Learning Express in Algonquin or Geneva, and they'll have the gift wrapped and brought out to your car.

       Need a gift for a child or teen? Call ahead to Learning Express in Algonquin or Geneva, and they'll have the gift wrapped and brought out to your car.
    CHRISTOPHER HANKINS | Staff Photographer

  • Stores are decked out for the holidays, but last-minute shoppers may be anything but cheerful.

      Stores are decked out for the holidays, but last-minute shoppers may be anything but cheerful.
    Joe Lewnard/Daily Herald 2004

  • If you're really stumped for ideas, you can always take the easy way out and purchase gift cards.

      If you're really stumped for ideas, you can always take the easy way out and purchase gift cards.
    Associated Press

 
 

Don't panic yet.

You still have four more days to get your shopping done.

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There are plenty of people -- including one who lives in my house -- who've done it all in just four hours, so don't fret.

But, you do need to get a move on.

Luckily, there are plenty of gifts to be had up and down the Randall Road corridor.

And employees at many of the stores along the Randall Road corridor are more than willing to help you last-minute shoppers out, so that you can cross everyone off your shopping list by Christmas Eve.

So, grab your patience and your list, map your route and get ready to go.

Drive-up service

If you're in the market for gifts for children through teens, the folks at Learning Express in Geneva Commons and Algonquin Commons will do all they can to make your last-minute shopping goals achievable.

"There are still a lot of great toys out there," said Sarah Flanagan, who owns the two stores with her husband, John. "It's not a 'woe is me, I'm never going to find it' situation."

If you have something in mind, or even if you have nothing in mind, you can call the store ahead of time to figure out what you're going to get, she said.

The store employees have ideas for everyone on your list, including babies, craft lovers, game lovers, imaginative player lovers, 'tweens and more.

And if you decide what you want, you even can pay for it over the phone, Flanagan said.

The store then will wrap it up for you, and you can just go in and pick it up at either location, saving you even more time as your scurry to finish everything before Christmas.

And since the parking lots and roads are so congested in these last few days before Christmas, they're even willing to help you out with more customer service, Flanagan said.

"A lot of time this week parking is tough and it's tough to get in and out of the stores," she said.

So, she offered, if your gift is ready and paid for, you can even just pull up to the curb and they can run it out to you.

Gift cards

Sandy Collins of Elgin, who was out shopping Sunday afternoon at Algonquin Commons, says despite her best intentions, she always ends up shopping at the last minute.

"It's crazy. There are so many people, and so many cars, and you can barely move. It really can make you crazy. I suggest you just bring your patience. And that you get gift cars," Collins said. "That's the easiest, and that's probably what I'll end up doing for most people. There might not be that much thought in it, but they like that best anyway."

For those of you who do end up giving gift cards, you might want to look around for deals. Many of the stores up and down Randall Road are offering incentives when you purchase gift cards.

For example, Gordmans in Algonquin Commons will give you a $10 bonus card coupon for a future purchase every time you buy $50 in gift cards.

Annabella Salon Spa in Geneva Commons will you give a $20 coupon to be used on future services when you purchase a gift card of $100 of more.

Shop around the clock

Many of the stores are staying open later, too, these next few days.

Toys R Us won't be closing from now through Christmas Eve. And many stores, including Wal-Mart and Meijer, are staying open 24 hours as well.

So, there's no excuse. Get out, get your list done, grab some gift bags and enjoy Christmas.

No one needs to know you picked up their gift on the way to their celebration.

• Amy Williams' column covers all the news of business along the Randall Road corridor from South Elgin to Batavia. Contact her at randallbiz@comcast.net or at (847) 894-5036.

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