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Steelers vs. shopping: Fans making the call on Christmas Eve

In a showdown for the ages, the 2011 calendar today matches the Pittsburgh Steelers against the last shopping day of the holiday season.

That presents a challenge for many of the Black and Gold’s most loyal yet procrastinating fans.

“Christmas Eve is when I usually shop because everyone is usually done,” said Kevin Reilly, 29, a Butler County native now living near San Jose, Calif., who was shopping in Ross Park Mall this week. “This is early for me.”

By the time of a survey released Dec. 14 by the National Retail Federation, the average American had finished under half (46.5 percent) of his or her holiday shopping. Men reported they were 44.7 percent finished, and about 13 percent planned to buy their last gifts on Christmas Eve. Only 9 percent of women planned to be shopping today, the survey found.

“I really just think, overall, men enjoy shopping a lot less than women,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based trade association. “They feel like they could be doing so many other things, like hanging out with friends, watching a game or whatever. And this has been true for decades.”

The International Council of Shopping Centers in 2010 found that 23.1 million people planned to shop on Christmas Eve, with men holding a slight majority over women. The New York-based trade group did not calculate the same figures this year.

“However, I can tell you that consumers are behind on their holiday shopping, compared with last year,” council spokesman Jesse Tron said.

Last Sunday, the average holiday shopping completion rate was 70 percent, compared with 74 percent last year, he said.

Proving that waiting is not just for the guys, Ashley Boynes-Shuck lamented wasting time on Thursday while getting her nails done. She still had a lot of shopping to do before today, when she and her husband will go to the Steelers game against the St. Louis Rams at Heinz Field, fit in a family dinner at her grandparents’ house in Robinson and attend a church service.

Then there is the matter of helping her father wrap his gifts, something they usually do on Christmas Eve.

“I love the Steelers, but I wish the game wasn’t on Christmas Eve,” said Boynes-Shuck, 28, of Green Tree, who runs the Glitzburgh blog. “It’s kind of throwing a wrench into some of our traditions.”

The only tradition Chris Testa changed was when he shops. Typically, he buys Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve, but this week the diehard Steelers fan shopped several times.

“I worked it around the Monday night and Saturday games,” said Testa, 39, of West View.

Missing today’s Steelers game was not an option, Testa said as he wandered around Ross Park Mall in a Rashard Mendenhall jersey, clutching a pink gift bag. His son, Dakota, 15, was elsewhere in the mall finishing his shopping.

“He’s last-minute,” Testa said, “just like his dad.”

Additional Information:

Two-minute warning

For Steelers fans who want to watch the football game but have unfinished shopping, some stores offer special hours today:

• Toys R Us: Open until 10 p.m.

• Macy’s: Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Kmart: Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Target: Many close at 7 p.m., some earlier

• Wal-Mart: Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• Kohl’s: Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Hometowne Sports: Open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Sideline Store at Heinz Field will be open before and during today’s game.

Rite Aid and Walgreens will be open on Christmas Day. Check locations for hours.

Source: Tribune-Review research


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