By MADDY VITALE
Whether there was one more gift to get or a few, holiday shoppers took advantage of deals in Ocean City on the last weekend before Christmas.
Rebecca and Michael Fitzgerald, of Absecon, headed downtown Sunday with their three daughters, Izabel, 7, Stella, 5, and 2-year-old Sylvia.
The family walked in and out of stores and took advantage of the awnings lining the sidewalks on Asbury Avenue to get out of the rain and buy some gifts.
“We got a salt and pepper shaker and this standing sign,” Rebecca Fitzgerald noted as she displayed the merchandise.
“Five days until Christmas!” exclaimed Stella.
The Fitzgeralds and their relatives, Abbie Hodgson and Foster Morse, both of Seattle, finished up their downtown shopping and bee-lined for the car.
They weren’t going home, though, like other shoppers, while making the most of a dreary, rain-soaked afternoon.
“We are going to the Boardwalk next,” Michael Fitzgerald said.
“The kids will go on the rides and the Boardwalk,” noted Rebecca.
Aside from the rides, Izabel said there was another very important reason for going up there.
“Pizza and ice cream and popcorn,” she said with a laugh.
But while the Fitzgeralds and their relatives had most of their shopping done before they even ventured to Ocean City on Sunday, others purposely waited until the week before Christmas to make their purchases.
Ben Wade and Kyle Forcinito, both of Shamong, N.J., selected bags and boxes of candies from a Boardwalk candy shop, just as they do each year about this time.
“These are for cousins and an aunt and uncle,” Wade, whose family has a vacation home in Ocean City, said of boxes of handmade chocolates and fudge that filled his arms. “Who doesn’t like an edible gift?”
Forcinito pointed out, “I think it is best to wait until close to the holidays to buy food gifts.”
While some families did their gift-buying on Sunday, Haddon Heights, N.J., residents Laura and John Erwin and their daughter, Emma, did most of their shopping on Saturday in downtown Ocean City.
On Sunday, they walked for a bit on the Boardwalk toting umbrellas, as John nibbled on a slice of Manco & Manco pizza.
The Erwins said they come down to Ocean City for weekends in the summer and visit over Christmas time each year.
“Shopping downtown gives you a variety of choices,” Laura Erwin said. “There is so much interesting merchandise. There are beautiful stores. The downtown just has a wonderful feel to it.”
Emma Erwin added, “I hadn’t bought a single Christmas present and I said, ‘OK, I will find some good stuff downtown.’ That is exactly what I did.”