CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When she was young, Joyce Grow's mother would go out shopping on Christmas Eve every year -- even if she didn't have any gifts left to buy.
"She would just go out and walk around, look at the people, take it all in," she said Monday, the day before Christmas Eve, while browsing the clothing at Charlie Boutique on Bridge Road.
Now, in that spirit, Grow always puts off some of her shopping until the last minute. She's not a procrastinator; she likes it better that way.
"It feels more Christmas-y if you shop now," she said. "It's the last day to actually get out and buy things, to see the hustle and bustle."
Grow wasn't the only person who, for one reason or another, was still out doing Christmas shopping Monday, the day before Christmas Eve. The Bridge Road shops were bustling -- the parking lots were crowded and the stores and restaurants full of patrons and busy employees.
"This week has been really busy," said Bobbi Skaff, the owner of Charlie's. "But this whole month has really been busy. I think because of the late Thanksgiving and the shorter shopping season."
Charleston's other shopping spots have been busy too, but the shopping on Bridge Road, in Charleston's South Hills neighborhood, is its own breed: the shops are locally-owned, small businesses, the goods are unique, the parking is sparse.
Emily Yarid Couch, owner of Yarid's, across the street from Charlie's, said that works both against the shops, and in their favor.
"You really have to make a concerted effort if you want to shop local," she said Monday. "It's so easy to shop online now, with free shipping and everything, that you really have to go out of your way to shop local. But our people do, and we appreciate that."
Korey Walkeck, a sales associate at the Kelley's store on Bridge Road, said that his store's most appealing features might be the ones that the Internet or big box stores can't replicate.
"We don't have a customer service department, we just do all of our business that way," he said. "There are a lot of people who don't want to deal with the mall, just because it's the mall. And they come to us."