Dakota Square Mall was probably one of the more popular destinations in Minot Monday as shoppers from all over the region went there to pick up some last-minute gifts before Christmas Eve today and Christmas Day tomorrow.
Bill Streifel of Oberon was busy holding down a bench while his wife went from store to store looking for the last few gifts on their list. While Streifel did find one small thing, he said it was his wife who was doing most of the work while he sat and watched the bags.
"She's mostly done the shopping. I haven't done much at all," Streifel said. "I looked around but I didn't find anything that jumped out at me. Just one little thing and that was it."
Laurie Richardson waits for her husband at Dakota Square Mall Monday afternoon with some last-minute gifts she picked up. The mall was busy with shoppers trying to check off the last few things on their Christmas lists.
Streifel said his wife had most of their Christmas shopping done already so she was only looking for a few things to finish up her list. For them, coming to Minot Monday was more about getting out of the house than going shopping for something specific.
"It was just to get in the vehicle and go out for a drive," he said.
Although the mall was certainly busy, Streifel said the crowds were a little thinner than he was expecting. He said he actually prefers more people so he can get lost in the crowd and not be bothered by store clerks or kiosk salespeople.
Christmas Eve shopping
Dakota Square Mall will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. today for shoppers who wait until the very last minute to get their final gifts. Those who wait past tonight will be out of luck, as Dakota Square Mall is closed Christmas Day.
Driving to Minot for some shopping and a meal a day or two before Christmas is an annual tradition for the Streifels, and is more about enjoying each other's company than getting that perfect last-minute gift. About the only thing Streifel said he wasn't enjoying about the day was the temperature.
Laurie Richardson of Kenmare sat with several full bags while she waited for her husband to pick her up. While she found a few gifts for others, that wasn't all Richardson was shopping for.
"I'm buying for myself more than anything," she said with a laugh. "I don't get to the big city too often."
"It's a good excuse to go shopping," she added.
Much like the Streifels, Richardson said she and her husband were enjoying a leisurely day in Minot. She said despite there being quite a few people at Dakota Square Mall, lines weren't overly long and the atmosphere was cordial.
"We contemplated coming into town yesterday, but figured Sunday in Minot might be psychotic so we voted to come today. It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be, actually," Richardson said. "Yesterday would have been a different story."
Richardson said shopping for last-minute gifts is something she hardly ever does, as she is usually two or three weeks ahead of schedule. Because of all the growth and activity in Minot, Richardson did most of her shopping online for the first time ever, which left here with a few odds and ends to get in Minot.
"This year I did a lot of online shopping because of all the craziness in Minot - the most I've ever done," Richardson said. "I just had some of those little things you get like stocking stuffers to pick up."
Scott Stein of Estevan, Sask., was in Minot for the day with his wife finishing up their shopping. Much like Streifel, Stein's main job was to guard the bags while his wife shopped. Stein said his wife has always frequented Minot for shopping and events like the State Fair and hockey tournaments, and when they got married he just kind of fit into her lifestyle of coming down to the Magic City on a regular basis.
"We enjoy the community," he said.
After they finish up their shopping, Stein said they would try out the Longhorn Steakhouse before heading back home. Sometimes they stay at the Sleep Inn right next to Dakota Square Mall so they have easy access to shopping, but on Monday they had pressing matters to get back to at home and couldn't spend the night.
"I've got two boys that are at home fighting so I think I will be the referee," Stein said with a laugh.
Stein said they never shop online, preferring to buy gifts and other items in physical stores. In fact, the Steins find themselves visiting Minot so frequently they actually decided to make accessing their money a little easier down here with the help of a local bank.
"We decided that we're in this community so much we'd better open a bank account," he said.