Gift wrapping station helps last-minute shoppers



Pam Godwin, president of the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club, hands gifts the club wrapped at their gift wrapping station on Monday at the Grand Central Mall to Ron Lighthall, of Lower Salem, as many people finished up their last-minute Christmas shopping. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

VIENNA — People came out to the Grand Central Mall on Christmas Eve Monday to get their last minute shopping done.

Some people were looking for one or two items while others were doing all of their shopping in one trip.

Ron Lighthall, of Lower Salem, admitted that he was doing some last-minute shopping for his wife, Kim.

“I have a confession to make, this is my last-ditch effort to get gifts for my wife,” he said. “I am so far behind.”

As it does every year, the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club had a gift wrapping station set up outside of Belks which was a godsend for Lighthall on Monday as he saw the station as he was coming out of Belks.

Jared Tice, of Salisbury N.C., is in the area visiting family this year and was at the Grand Central Mall on Monday looking for some last-minute gift items for family. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“I am in a hurry to beat her home and there is no way I could have gotten all of this wrapped so this is absolutely perfect,” he said.

He traditionally doesn’t wait until the last minite, but this year he didn’t know what to get his wife.

“I usually have a pretty good idea what to get her,” Lighthall said. “This year, I just couldn’t find it.”

Usually, he is particular about what he gets as he wants it to mean something to the person receiving it.

“I have always had a good idea about what to get her, but this year I just couldn’t find it,” Lighthall said. “I’m particular about things.

Linda Walker, of the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club, wraps a gift Monday at the gift wrapping station outside of Belk at the Grand Central Mall. The club has operated a gift wrapping station at the mall during the Christmas season for over 30 years. Many people stopped by Monday for Christmas Eve to get some last-minute gifts. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“It should be something special. It should not be about ‘just get someone a gift.’”

However, he ended up happy with what he got.

Pam Godwin, president of the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club, said that was one of the reasons they have done the giftwrapping station every year for over 30 years.

It is a fundraiser for their non-profit organization. Money raised from the gift wrapping station goes to projects and scholarships the club does and supports throughout the community, including the Brown Bag Food Program at McKinley and Emerson Schools as well as Christmas gifts for people at Eagle Pointe Nursing Home among others.

Mall officials said every year, around October, people start asking if the gift wrapping station will return for the holidays.

Godwin said many people are always thankful to see them, especially towards the end of the Christmas shopping season

Jared Tice, of Salisbury, N.C., is in the area visiting family this year and was at the mall looking for some last-minute items for family.

“I am just trying to find one more thing and a couple more things for my nieces and nephews,” he said.

Tice was glad for the giftwrapping station as well.

“It is great for difficult-to-wrap items,” he said.

The gift wrapping station has been up since Dec. 10 with around 15-20 women volunteering to wrap, 3-4 days a week, and many people have been by to make use of their services.

There was a common theme among many of the shoppers the woman’s club were wrapping presents for on Monday, Godwin said. The day before Christmas is referred to as “Husbands Day” as they see a lot of men coming in to get their last-minute gifts wrapped up, she said.

“Christmas Eve is usually the day husbands come out with a panicked look on their face,” Godwin said. “They are willing to tip well.”

The group relies a lot on tips to make the money they use for their projects. On Monday, they had seen a good mix of people, both men and women, bringing things in to be wrapped, but around 80 percent were men. They have also had many repeat customers throughout the season. Some people have continually dropped things off and went shopping for more.

“Many people are panicked, but they are still in a good mood,” Godwin said. “I think we help put them in a good mood.

“It makes them happy.”

They also see a lot of dads bring in their kids with something special for their moms that they want wrapped.

Lighthall said this time of year should be enjoyable and not stressful. Anyone can buy something and call it a “gift” without much thought. Lighthall wants to get a gift that is special.

“It shouldn’t just be a material thing,” he said. “It just bugs me. If I don’t see something that is just perfect then I don’t want it.

“I don’t just want to buy a shirt or something that just fills the requirement of getting something. I want it to mean something. That is what makes it difficult. I am sure that happens to a lot of people.”

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