With five less shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shoppers are scrambling more than usual to find the perfect gifts. With the big day just a week away, Signal Mountain shops are prepared to help last-minute shoppers find just the thing for everyone on their list.
Most are even open right up to Christmas Eve (see our box for store hours).
"We have a lot of stocking stuffers," said Cutting Corners Framing and Gifts owner Linda Roberts-Harris, who suggests note cards, bath and body products, candles and figurines.
Accents is also filled with quick grab-it-and-go gift options, said owner Karie Holmes. Brighton jewelry has been popular with shoppers so far this season as well as Tyler candles, she said. The store also sells the "world's softest socks," and Sparkle Snoozies sequined slippers are a festive choice, said Holmes. For the cook in your life, consider the store's wooden cookbook holder; it's something not many people own but often consider how nice it would be to have.
All Creatures Great and Small owner Yvette Blackwell said candles have been a big hit at her store this year - both the flameless variety, which have nearly sold out, as well as traditional candles, especially Thymes candles.
"Everyone loves the Frazier fir scent," she said.
You can't go wrong with a big coffee mug, said customer Allison Dart.
"My favorite thing to get, especially for people who have moved off the mountain, are the Signal Mountain mugs," she said.
Blackwell said she sold out of her Signal Mountain and Walden Christmas ornaments, but she has a waiting list going and more should be ready before Christmas.
"People are always looking for something with Signal Mountain on it," she said.
Another option is an insulated wine carrier, which you can stuff with a bottle or two of the recipient's favorite vino.
While The Bread Basket will be closed Christmas Eve, the store will be open the Monday before with plenty of gift baskets, breads and extra gift items out.
"The great thing about this product is that it's so versatile," said owner Anson Hyde. "You can take a loaf of bread or a cake to anyone and say, 'Merry Christmas.'"
If you're looking for a more personalized gift, Threads owner Mindy Sanders said she will be accepting orders for monogrammed items up until Dec. 23. Options range from Christmas ornaments to bags and coats to acrylic tumblers. Gift cards for monogramming and embroidery services are also available for the truly last-minute shopper, she said, and the store's socks and tights make great stocking stuffers, said Sanders.
For the bookworm on your list, Wild Hare Books has a wide range of options. Popular picks this holiday season include "Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics" by Charles Krauthammer, "George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution" by Brian Kilmeade and "The Death of Santini: A Story of a Father and His Son" by Pat Conroy, said employee Susan Shaw. "Eat, Pray, Love" fans might enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Signature of All Things," and Scott Turow readers will probably like "Identical." "Christmas Bliss" by Southern writer Mary Kay Andrews is also an appropriate choice.
Popular with young adults are "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, she said.
As for stocking stuffers, Wild Hare has Mad Libs and sticker activity books for kids as well as planners and bookmarks for adults, said Shaw.
Yessick's on Signal is the mountain's newest source for holiday gifts. Employee Janet Wilkins suggests Arthur Court serveware, or picking from the store's selection of scarves, jewelry and candles. Stuff stockings in style with gourmet peanuts or small items such as back scratchers, she said.
Christmas just isn't Christmas without a stop at the toy shop, no matter what the ages of the recipients on your list.
For dads and hard-to-impress (and-shop-for) older kids, Mountain Top Toys owner Patrick Holland suggests the Aquapod Rocket Launcher, which sends 2-liter bottles shooting 100 feet in the air.
Most kids love pockets, and Stuffies have seven hidden on a large stuffed animal that kids can stuff full of their favorite things for vacation, sleepovers or an afternoon visit to Grandma's house, he said.
If you get sticker shock when shopping for LEGOs, try BricTek building blocks. They're compatible with - and identical to - LEGOs, but won't break the bank. An alternative for kids who like LEGOs is the Q-Ba-Maze Mega Stunt Kit, which Holland describes as a "marble maze meets LEGOs meets the circus." He said the store's top-selling items this year are Hog Wild Poppers, which feature characters such as monsters, bears, bass fish and penguins shooting soft balls up to 20 feet from their mouths.
Mountain Top is the only toy store in the area to carry certain items, such as Storytime Toys Fairyland Homes. They come with everything you need to build a classic fairyland house with your children before reading the accompanying fairytale together. Options are "Hansel and Gretel," "Goldilocks" and "The Three Little Pigs." Mountain Top is one of 10 toy stores in the country to sell Magmodz Magnetic Cars before Christmas, and Holland said the brand-new toy makes a great stocking stuffer.
Also great for stockings are LogoLoops headbands, the MimiQ Card Game and WOW vehicles.
"These are our favorite toy for the 1-and-a-half- to 5-year-old child," he said of the WOW vehicles, which he describes as super-durable, friction-powered vehicles with no batteries required that are "chunky, attractive and what nearly every young child heads toward the minute they walk in our store."