The Christmas Eve dash

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 25, 2012

At the OfficeMax in Harbour View East shopping center, sales assistant Exzavier Johnson loads a gift into an SUV for Darlene Lucas who said the gift is for her husband, one of those hard-to-buy-for people who have everything.

Among several last-minute Christmas shoppers surveyed outside retail outlets in Suffolk Monday morning, Faye Sobel appeared the most prepared.

“I’m through with my Christmas shopping,” the “60-something”-year-old declared on the way out of Main Street Farm Fresh with a few items for the kitchen pantry.

“I have a few gifts left to wrap, and I’m hoping to do some last-minute baking today.”

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Sobel had traveled to Virginia Beach on Saturday to purchase her final gift, which was the hardest-to-find one, and she was happy to say for publication what she had found.

It was a special display case for a Willie Mays-signed baseball she got for her husband. “It shows the baseball, and it has a place to put one of those baseball cards,” Sobel said. “So it was a very specific item.”

One of many making a dash to buy stocking-stuffers was Trinda McWilliams, 54. “This year I was really late” buying gifts, McWilliams said.

Everett Banks, 50, pulled up in the Main Street Kohl’s parking lot with daughters Aleya, 14, and Alexis, 11.

“I’m getting something for my mom,” Aleya said. Her sister was in the market for some shirts for their brother. Everett Banks hoped to find some nice jewelry for Mrs. Banks.

In the same parking lot, a chance encounter occurred between Voncia Gould, 46, and Marie Evans, 39, who worked together as special education teachers in Suffolk before Gould transferred to the Norfolk school district.

“I’m buying for my grandmothers and grandmothers’ caregivers,” Gould said. “I’m finished — I’m going to go reward myself with some Starbucks. I’m a Black Friday shopper, so I did most of my shopping then.”

At North Suffolk OfficeMax, sales assistant Exzavier Johnson got some exercise loading a computer table into Darlene Lucas’s SUV.

“It’s for my husband,” said Lucas, 60, another shopper willing to tell what she’d purchased. “It’s for a person who has everything.”

That being her last Christmas gift, plans for the rest of the day included drinking hot chocolate and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”. “I don’t care how many times it comes on, I still watch it,” she said.

With the gift for her baseball-loving husband squared away and a few last-minute recipe items purchased, Sobel, back at Farm Fresh, was planning something more energetic for the rest of her Christmas Eve.

“I’m going to make sausage balls and more cookies,” she said. “I had my grandchildren come over and help me” make the first cookie batch.

“It was a wonderful day. We had more sprinkles on the floor than we had on the cookies.”