It’s crunch time for holiday shopping; tips to brave the crowds

Dealing with the crowds and last minute safety
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:48 PM CST
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HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - The winter storm could take a bite out of last-minute Christmas shopping.

We are just a few days away from the holiday weekend, and many of you may still need to hit the stores.

On Tuesday, December 20, we talked with the Marion Police Department and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce about some tips on safety and dealing with crowds.

“Don’t forget what Christmas and the holidays is about,” said William Lo, CEO of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.f

While shopping at the last minute can be stressful, Lo offered some tips to keep you in the holiday mood.

“I think the biggest tip is to just be nice. Just be patient. Businesses are still understaffed. Usually, Christmas is the busiest time of the year and I know that people are in a hurry to get in and get out, but just when you go in take a deep breath,” Lo said.

Shopping can be a time where many want to get in and get out of stores, but safety is the number one priority.

Marion Police Chief David Fitts said to be aware of your surroundings.

“Well, obviously, lock your cars. Don’t leave your purse sitting in the front seat, don’t leave any personal items. After you have gone shopping, if you’re going to a second place, lock your stuff up in the trunk. Don’t leave it in the car where anybody can see it,” Fitts added.

Fitts said if you are inside the store, make sure you keep your personal belongings and young family members in sight.

“They’ll leave their purse in the cart and they’ll turn their back to it, or they’ll walk off and look and leave their purse sitting there. Please don’t do that. Keep your purse with you. Make sure you keep an eye on, especially the small children if they’re in the cart. Keep and eye on them and again just be aware of your surroundings,” said Fitts.

He said to not hesitate to call them if you feel something suspicious is happening.

But while more people are shopping online, shopping local will ensure you’ll have a gift in hand.

“I will always preach shopping local, so it’s too late to get on Amazon and get it shopped in time, so go to your local stores. If you look at Carbondale we’ve TJ’s Jewelry, we’ve got priority sports across the street. There’s tons of local stores that need your support,” said Lo.

The National Retail Federation is expecting this year’s winter holiday sales to top more than $942 billion.