Holiday shopping in the Ohio Valley

T-L Photo/MIRANDA SEBROSKI Popular items for Christmas shoppers this year include items such as pajama sets and L.O.L Surprise for children that can be found at various retailers in the Ohio Valley. Items for gifting to men include cologne and shower sets.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — With Christmas on its way, many people are still on the lookout of gifts to buy for their loved ones.

Many stores will have holiday gift sets and deals for shoppers. According to a report from the Associated Press, cozy sweaters and warm pajamas are gifts that many adults would love to receive. Stores like Target, Boscov’s and Kohl’s have latched onto this trend, offering warm items to help keep recipients cozy, such as pajama sets for the entire family and fuzzy blankets.

Doug Howe, chief merchandising officer for Kohl’s, said reports indicate that cozy knits were some of the most searched for terms on the company’s website last year.

Diane Harold of Shadyside confirmed that she loves to receive and give these types of gifts around the holidays.

“I don’t think you can go wrong with a comfy night set. It’s something everyone can use. I usually get some for the kids,” Harold said. “Personally, I like getting those big fuzzy blankets. It’s nice to cuddle up on a cold day with one and get warm.”

For children, the LOL Surprise brand is a popular item this year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online spending. It is also marked as a top-selling toy on Amazon.

With LOL Surprise, kids peel each layer of a shrink-wrapped plastic ball to reveal dolls, stickers or other trinkets.

Harold said that her youngest daughter has a collection of the L.O.L. Surprise toys and that last year, the items were hard to track down due to popularity.

“I remember last year at Christmas I had to search and search the stores for the L.O.L dolls. Places were just sold out of them, and I shouldn’t have waited until last minute,” Harold said. “She wants more, so I got a head start this year and bought them early.”

Large retailers are not the only place to look for Christmas gifts. Shoppers also can support local businesses by purchasing gifts from them.

Three Labs Salvage in St. Clairsville has a store dedicated to antique and vintage items. It also features pieces made by artists locally and in other countries such as Canada.

Lynn Jeffries and her fiance, Brad Breisch, run the store together and said that they have a lot of unique items that can make perfect gifts for Christmas. Jeffries also said that soy candles and scrolls handmade by artist Bob Dombrowski are popular gift items this year. Handmade vintage-themed ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree are also a great gift, according to Jefferies.

She said handmade memory blocks from artist Sid Dickens are a popular item in the store this gift-giving season. The pieces range in price and are collectible items that feature artwork on them from Christmas themes to flowers to animals.

“We have a lot of people that really love these Sid Dickens memory blocks,” Jeffries said. “Once the artist decides to retire the design, they actually become more valuable. They make great decorations, have a vintage feel, and a lot of people really love them and ask about them.”

Deluxe Toy and Hobby in Martins Ferry is a local shop that caters those shopping for children. The downtown shop, located at Fifth and Hanover streets, features everything from science-based kits to a large array of stuffed animals to games and magic tricks. Deluxe has been a popular Christmas shopping stop in the Purple City for decades.

Centre Market in Wheeling also has a variety of shops for people to peruse, such as Smart Centre Market for children and Shuggy’s Antiques. Artworks Around Town offers unique items, and there are several shops in the area where gifts of food or drink can be found.

Gift certificates can be purchased for places such as E-Nails and other local salons and spas for those who love to get pampered.

The Ohio Valley Mall also offers various holiday shopping tips on its website, such as what to get for the man in your life — cologne, a shower set or a bar kit.

Many people also do their Christmas shopping online with large and small retailers. According to USA.gov, shoppers should be careful to avoid fraud while looking at online deals. It offers these suggestions:

∫ Beware of ads on search engines or social media. Scammers advertise popular items at deep discounts, but fail to deliver and steal payment information.

∫ Use legitimate apps. Download retailer’s apps directly from their website to be sure it is the real one. Scammers can create imposter apps to steal payment information.

∫ Choose credit over debit. This will allow shoppers to protect their rights to dispute a charge by paying with a credit card if their payment information is stolen.

∫ Make sure to use a secure internet connection. Avoid using public wifi networks when shopping online and always check the URLs, especially on the submit payment screen.

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