Last-minute shoppers head to Main Street instead of the mall, avoiding COVID spike

Connecticut

Conn. (WTNH) — Americans will spend more than $1 trillion on Christmas this year.

U.S. consumers tell Gallup pollsters they plan to spend an average of $942 on Christmas gifts, which is $57 more than last year.

Last-minute Christmas shoppers in Connecticut are buying local.

Julia Koulouris, owner of Heirloom Market in Old Wethersfield, said there are unique gifts people cherish from local shops.

“You see the buzz, you kind of hear the buzz, you see social media. Everyone’s going crazy for local,” Koulouris said.

Koulouris said the vintage pop-up shops and unique items off the beaten path are popular.

Over at Amato‘s Toy & Hobby in Middletown, buying local is always a sure bet.

Jessica DeAngelo drove from Portland.

“We love the store. It was here when I was a kid and I always got my Christmas gifts,” DeAngelo said. “We always looked forward to our Breyer horses growing up, so now that I have my little ones, we come here, we call it the present store.”

Her son Xavier was picking out something for his brother.

This year the popular toys are good old-fashioned fun.

“…all things sensory, all the pop-ups you’ve heard about and such, but also traditional toys, lots of dolls, race sets, train sets, and good old fashion games,” said Diane Gervais, owner of Amato’s.

The National Retail Foundation said the average shopper will spend just under $1,000 this Christmas. Most of it is gifts for friends, family and coworkers, along with around $200 on food and decorations.

A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies says most people will shop online, while 23% say they will keep it local because they are concerned about going to the mall during the pandemic.

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