CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ala Moana Center was busy yesterday with last-minute Christmas shoppers. The mall offered train rides to entertain the keiki.
Procrastinators hit the malls
Some last-minute gift-givers find that stores are not as hectic on the day before Christmas
INSTEAD of a sunny Saturday afternoon lounging at Ala Moana Beach Park, procrastinating shoppers were across the street at the mall in the mad, last-minute rush before Christmas.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah Fujioka thought she had it made this year. She made all her Christmas gifts by sewing 30 small, square pillows for her family and friends. She stayed up until 2 a.m. Friday figuring she wouldn't have to face the craziness of Christmas shopping.
Then she woke up yesterday morning and her parents realized they didn't have wrapping paper.
"Dad was saying, 'I can't believe we're going to the mall on Christmas Eve,'" said Sarah's mom, Cindy. "When we were looking for parking, he said, 'Pray hard.'"
The Fujiokas were pleasantly surprised to see that stores and parking lots weren't as full as they anticipated. Ala Moana Center had walking and breathing room as compared to a couple of days ago, when people could barely get by the crowds.
Sarah Fujioka bought 30 gift bags from Pricebusters for 99 cents each, her only purchase. Other shoppers, however, still had gifts to buy.
Elsie and Max Rol, of Kaimuki, always wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping. They don't plan it that way, but it seems like they're at the mall every Christmas Eve.
Max Rol admitted that he and his wife even needed to shop for each other.
"We're going to branch off from each other for a little while," he said while his wife wasn't listening.
Stole and Mimi Ignjatovic spent most of their Friday at the mall and came back yesterday for more shopping. Their two nieces, Andrea and Daniella Lukic, were visiting from San Diego and wanted to go back for the train rides at the mall yesterday.
"The Disney Store is busy because of us," joked Stole Ignjatovic, 46, of Waikiki.
They already showered the girls with gifts that they opened yesterday morning. In between four train rides, the couple went to the Disney Store, where the girls picked out their own gifts.
Some shoppers waited until Christmas Eve hoping to get the last-minute bargains.
James Perry just got paid Friday, so his Christmas shopping had to wait until yesterday. He knew he would get the best deals at the Aloha Stadium swap meet, which remained opened the entire week for Christmas shoppers. Within 10 minutes, Perry already spent $200 on gifts for his wife and relatives.
He could have bought more, but he was in a rush to get back home for lunch with his family.
"As long as I get my old lady something, I'm OK," said Perry, 54, of Aiea, holding up a gold plumeria pendant with a diamond in the center for his wife.
Store owners at the swap meet also like the Christmas rush. Jeff Dillard, who sells old-fashioned metal signs at the swap meet, said Christmas Eve wasn't as frantic as the rest of the week, but still noticed many people were procrastinators this year.
"Better sales make for a better Christmas," Dillard said.