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Shoppers ready for Christmas break

John King
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 23/05) - People have shopped 'til they dropped and are looking forward to a couple of days rest from the hustle and bustle of busy stores.

"I will not shop on Christmas," said shopper Peter Bannon. "It's the store's own prerogatives to stay open, but it's unfair to staff."

NNSL Photo/graphic

Stores like Bootlegger in Centre Square Mall where Tamatha Irania works will be closed for Christmas and New Years. - John King/NNSL photo

Others, including Verna Bridges agreed.

"Everybody deserves a holiday," Bridges said. "I don't think we should expect others to be at our beck and call during the holidays."

That suits Sister Mary Jo Fox just fine.

"If we can't take the time to celebrate Christmas, then we're focusing on the material aspect, not the spiritual aspect of the holiday," said Fox, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mackenzie.

But that doesn't mean you can't pick up a stick of celery for your turkey stuffing or salt for the new ice-cream machine.

The downtown Reddi-Mart will be open on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

"People are usually shopping for a last gift or shopping for the unexpected," said owner Qui Pham.

According to Pham, celery is a hot item on Christmas Day, while people also tend to come in for candles, chocolates and cigarettes.

"Sometimes we even buy extra vegetables because there is nowhere else to get them on Christmas Day," Pham said. "Customers bring in gifts for us and thank us for being open."

Winks Gasland on Forrest Drive will also remain open Christmas and New Year's, as will both VideoLand and Video Headquaters.

"On New Year's Eve parents mostly come and rent movies for their kids while they are out," said Carl O'Keefe, Video Headquaters store manager.

Yellowknife's large department and grocery stores will be closed on Christmas, but not because they don't think there's a demand.

"I guarantee people would shop if stores were open," said Vince Berezowski, store manager of the Yellowknife Wal-Mart, which is closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

"If other stores chose to open either of these days, we would probably follow suit," Berezowski said.

Extra Foods will also be closed on this season's two major holidays.

"Christmas and New Years are definitely family days," said Lori Stene, a spokesperson for Extra Foods.

"This gives our employees a chance to spend the holidays with their families."

The next generation of shoppers isn't ready for stores to open Christmas Day, either.

A group of teenagers shopping at Centre Square Mall said people should be at home for the holidays.

"Don't be looking for gifts when you should have them already," said Ryan Chenkie.