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Shoppers take on last-minute rush

Some say grocery store items good in a pinch
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Felice Hussa hopes it doesn’t come down to making a last minute gift-run to the grocery store this year but it’s happened before. The Newcastle mother said Monday that she’s been so wrapped up in volunteer work for A Chance for Bliss this month that she’s a few weeks behind on her shopping list. “This is unusual,” Hussa said while picking out an interactive game for her daughter at Target in Auburn. “I’m usually done by now.” Hussa wasn’t alone as many other shoppers packed the Target store and other shops in the area to buy holiday presents for friends and loved ones. “It’s definitely very busy,” said Leticia McCann, manager of Target in Auburn. McCann said that Saturday was a big day for the store and she staff expects to gear up for a large crowd again Wednesday, the day before Christmas Eve. “The 23rd typically is very busy for us and on the 24th we see a pretty steady stream of last-minute shoppers,” McCann said. “It’s definitely go time.” Hussa was feeling that crunch Monday morning. She said she was aiming to get out of the store by 11 a.m. to avoid long lines and large crowds. “I get really frustrated waiting in lines for a long time,” Hussa said. However, Monday morning shopping was early compared to a last-minute rush Hussa had to make last year. On Christmas Eve morning, she suddenly remembered her nephew and his family was coming up from Berkeley to celebrate Christmas. “It was like, ‘Oh! We totally forgot!’” Hussa recalled. Hussa quickly rushed over to Whole Foods Market and grabbed a couple of canned items and a gift card and “wrapped” them in a reusable Whole Foods bag. The reaction? Hussa said her organic-food minded relatives loved the gift. “They were happy because I gave it to them in a reusable bag,” Hussa said. “I try not to be an impulse buyer. I try to buy things that are useful.” Grocery stores and Kmart have also “saved” the life of Grass Valley resident Sandy Russell, who dubbed herself “last-minute grandma.” Between Russell and her second husband’s family, they have 34 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren to shop for. Russell said she typically waits until closer to Christmas to buy presents so she can take advantage of any last-minute bargains. “We just do the best we can to try to remember all of them,” Russell said. And when someone shows up for the holiday Christmas party at the last-minute, she said handmade cards and grocery store items come in handy. Russell said she’s purchased nice pencils or art supplies as well as books at grocery stores when a gift was needed. She’s also picked up a few holiday cards and thrown in a couple lottery tickets for her older grandchildren. “It’s saved my life,” Russell said, joking. But when Christmas Day arrives, both Hussa and Russell said their family celebrations are not just about the gifts. “When you get older, you never know how long it will be until you see everybody again,” Russell said. “I love seeing everybody and getting special hugs and kisses from the little ones.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.