Time is running out.
And Matthew Parker of Granger knows it.
"In my defense, my wife has purchased several gifts for many family members, but certain members are my responsibility," he admits.
But Parker really isn't stressed about his predicament. In fact, he doesn't even view it as a problem. Normally, he waits to shop Christmas Eve.
Crazy as that sounds.
"I don't really know. I kind of like the idea of getting everything done in one shot," Parker says. "Granted, I don't have a huge family. I buy for 10 people or less. But I know what everyone is getting and what store it's at.
"I guess to me Christmas starts the day or two prior and shopping at one time is part of the experience."
Parker is not alone.
A Consumer Reports poll reveals that 17 million shoppers are expected to hit stores on Christmas Eve, many hoping for last-minute discounts and planning to purchase gift cards.
According to a recent CashStar/Harris survey, about a quarter of Americans admit to being last-minute shoppers in these final days before Christmas.
The Saturday before Christmas is usually the busiest day of the season for the malls everywhere.
Lonnie Shetler Sr. of North Liberty is honest.
"I haven't started either. I know we put off doing what we don't want to do," he says on Facebook, where we asked readers to comment about last-minute shopping.
The holiday creeps up on consumers like Angela Johnson, who says she has been consumed with finals at Notre Dame Law School.
"I didn't even realize Christmas was so close," the South Bend resident admits.
Candace Kollath of Benton Harbor is still shopping.
"I have no idea what to get my husband," she confesses.
Kelly Heet has been sick, and before that she was taking care of her husband and children who were sick.
"Three weeks of illness sure takes shopping time away," the Mishawaka mom says about her unexpected delays that have led her to some last-minute shopping.
Lisa Whiteman admits she is stressed.
"Pretty much always am this time of year," the Mishawaka consumer says. "Still have some shopping left to do because we have lots of people we exchange with. I always start shopping around the end of October, but can just never seem to pull it all together as early as I would like. Too busy with work, kids, obligations ...
"I am happiest after Christmas is over any more."
Why do we procrastinate?
South Bend psychologist John Petersen says procrastinators generally tend to fall into one of three categories.
Procrastinator No. 1: Ambitious people who tend to say yes to too many things find there is always one more thing to do. There is always one more item on their plate to finish, before they can move onto the next task.
"The downside is feeling like nothing is fully complete," says Petersen, who counsels couples, adults and families at Family Psychology in South Bend.
Procrastinator No. 2: Perfectionists who often spend too much time on a portion of a task, delaying the rest until they think they're able to complete it perfectly.
"They will blame their imperfection on saying they're under the gun," he says. "There's some accomplishment in pulling it off at the last-minute."
Procrastinator No. 3: These people fall more in line with what we generally associate with last-minute shoppers: passive resistance.
"We don't want life to push us around so we offer a resistance," Petersen says. "We say 'no' to shopping and the mainstream ways of participating in the holidays. Then in the end we say we'll get things done, but there's much less time."
And if you're wondering, there is no evidence of something different happening in the male brain versus the female brain when it comes to procrastinating and holiday shopping.
"It's more a cultural phenomenon," Petersen says with a laugh about the notion that more men procrastinate on holiday shopping.
However, a survey released by the International Council of Shopping Centers says more men (17 percent) than women (13 percent) plan to shop Monday.
"It is true," says Irene McKiernan, director of marketing at University Park Mall, Mishawaka. "It seems like there are lots of guys who tend to procrastinate each year and then panic mode sets in Christmas Eve."
But not everyone panics.
Don and Cathy Dietz have always made a tradition of shopping together a few days before Christmas. The South Bend couple treat themselves to dinner at a restaurant before going shopping.
"It's a lot of fun. One of the benefits is that we can find some good deals," Cathy Dietz says. "If you're out shopping this weekend and see a random couple high-fiving -- yep, that's us."
Have you heard?
Scotty's Brewhouse has signed a letter of intent for a new Mishawaka location. Not wanting to possibly thwart a deal in the making, we will await word from the local real estate broker that the lease is fully executed before disclosing the site. ... Wal-Mart hopes to build a 185,000-square-foot superstore near its location on Elkhart Road in Goshen. Plans submitted to city officials indicate the current store would be torn down for parking after the new store opens in 2014. Final local approvals are needed. ... Anytime Fitness plans to open a 4,000-square-foot location at Niles Plaza on South 11th Street, Niles, the Four Flags Area Chamber says. ... We wish you and your family the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of holidays. And remember that nothing you buy, wrap and set under the tree can ever replace the time you spend and memories you create with loved ones.
Heidi Prescott's column runs on Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at email@example.com or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.