THE Yuletide season, like any other, has its rituals and some of them are last-minute shopping and cleaning.
During the rush for that perfect gift in downtown Port of Spain yesterday, the Express saw lots of women trying to balance large bags and small umbrellas as they moved in and out of stores.
In some cases the women had men carry the load as they continued shopping.
One of these women was Ella Gittens of Sea Lots, who was spotted with a large laundry basket on Henry Street in the capital city.
Gittens said she never planned to shop at the last minute but it has become a habit for her.
Every year, she said, she planned to do away with all her shopping by the end of November...and every year that plan is ruined.
Gittens said the final items she purchased were the clothes basket, cologne and other cosmetic products.
One man who relishes the last-minute purchases is Olton Nelson.
It is that "rush" to have the items you want to usher in the Christmas season that makes the hustle and bustling on the eve of Christmas worthwhile, said Nelson, who was seen lugging around a brand-new bicycle for his four-year-old son.
Nelson told the Express that the last-minute buying was a part of the tradition he knew and he would wait until the 11th hour to shop.
However, Nelson has a fail-safe mechanism in place — before buying, he would visit the stores and inform employees he would be back on Christmas Eve and ensure they had enough stock to last until then.
While shoppers seemed to be buying out the city at the last hour, two small businesses that the Express spoke to said sales for them are not that great.
Street salesman Machel Eneau, who was peddling gold spray-painted acorns, said sales were very low for him compared to other years.
Eneau said he thinks people are spending their money on food rather than decorations.
Crystal Daniel also commented on the slow sales, saying most of the cash flow was occurring in central and south Trinidad, where there were construction booms.
Daniel, of "Mello's and Pinks" on Charlotte Street, said despite the slow sales she had a top seller, the "Mrs Claus" lingerie set, which she said was being snatched up by the women who are seeking to surprise their partners this Christmas season.