How crowded the York Galleria was on Sunday depended on one's perspective.

The crowds at the mall were not as big as Phil Lenhart was anticipating. But Ed Plowman said the mall was the busiest he's ever seen it.

What's not in question is this: Lots of people left the warmth of their homes to squeeze in some last-minute shopping Sunday afternoon.

Lenhart, 48, of Mountville, was at the Galleria to wrap up his Christmas shopping with his daughter, Kelsey, 20.

"She just moved into a new house, so we're finding things for that," said Lenhart.

He planned to visit the mall again Monday, not to shop but to people watch.

Down to the wire: For Shirley Harrison, Sunday was a day of getting last-minute gifts and trying to find gifts for her daughter.

"I have a daughter that is very particular, so you have to go shopping with her to see exactly what she wants," said Harrison, 55, of Dallastown. "Then when she's out of the way I tell her sister to buy that for her."

"It is the final day for me," she said of her Christmas shopping. "If I don't get it today, they're not getting it."

Christmas crowds are not something Kim Smith looks forward to, but she was pleasantly surprised by her shopping experience Sunday.

"All of the associates were very nice. I was extremely pleased, and I did not have one bad experience," said Smith, 49, who prefers shopping in York rather than her hometown of Hagerstown, Md.

Between family, friends and coworkers, Smith has about 20 people to shop for.


For Art and Nan Rudacille, shopping for Christmas is easier than it used to be. Now that the Felton couple's four children are grown, they just give them cash.

"We buy some presents and give money to the grandkids," said Nan Rudacille, 68. "But we're just Christmas shopping for ourselves now."

Special attention: Ed Plowman, 80, of Lower Windsor Township, only had one person to buy for this year -- his wife of 62 years.

He said she is easy to buy gifts for, but it wasn't always that way.

"I had to learn," said Plowman. "I used to get her appliances, and she didn't like that because I was always getting her something to work with."

"She wanted jewelry or perfume and of course I didn't know anything about that," he said. "But I learned."

Plowman thought he had finished his shopping weeks ago, but he ran into a dilemma.

"I did buy her one thing today, because I bought something a few weeks ago and I took it home and I can't find it," he said. "But it'll show up eventually, and she'll get that too."

He was hardly alone on his Sunday shopping excursion.

"I think this is the busiest I've ever seen it," said Plowman.

Christmas rush: Store workers agreed with Plowman's sentiments.

At Lax World, business had been slow until Dec. 10 and things have continued to get busier and busier each day closer to Christmas, said Beth Hinegardner, store manager.

Parents not just from York but Lancaster, Reading and Harrisburg travel to the store for lacrosse gifts for their children, she said, since there are not a lot of other lacrosse specialty stores in the area.

Pet owners searching for gifts kept Roxann Gallagher's seasonal shop, Miss Lucy's Dog Treats and Friends, busy throughout the month of December.

Gallagher said more and more pet owners buy gifts for their animals now, because the pets are more a part of the family than in the past.

-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or