Tuesday, December 25, 2001

At Toys n' Joys in Kaimuki yesterday, Brendan Heale bought a Power Rangers Dinosaur set for his son, Brendan Jr. He said Toys n' Joys was the only store that had the set.

Last-minute shoppers
hit malls for perfect gifts

Some are unfazed by the effort,
while others are overwhelmed

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Unlike many last-minute Christmas shoppers who dread crowded malls and parking lots, Kailua resident Ron Robinson has made shopping on Christmas Eve a yearly tradition.

For nearly a decade, Robinson spent every Christmas Eve at Ward Warehouse to shop for gifts for his family and friends.

Beer from the Liquor Collection, T-shirts from Native Books & Beautiful Things and jewelry from the Island Gold Collection were some of the items he purchased.

"We go for anything that's unusual," said Robinson, who spent about $300 on Christmas gifts.

Like Robinson, some male shoppers were unfazed by shopping a day before Christmas, while some female shoppers scurried from one store to another to find the perfect gift.

Honolulu resident Robert Malandra strolled out of one store carrying a wrapped gift for his niece: a toy tow truck from Child's Play.

The shopping malls were not crowded, noted Malandra, who was headed next to Sports Authority on Ward Avenue.

Palolo resident Kristy Wong, who was shopping with her friend Ualani Kapule, said: "We didn't have enough time. Now we're cramming."

Wong and Kapule, employees of Beyond the Beach, said they normally complete their shopping a week before Christmas, but worked more hours during the holiday season.

"It's too overwhelming," said Wong, who spent part of her Christmas Eve shopping at DFS Galleria in Waikiki before heading to Ward Warehouse.

Taking a break from shopping, Honolulu resident Adam Groff sat in the food court at Ward Warehouse with his girlfriend, Ellen Li. Groff and Li, who completed most of their Christmas shopping earlier, spent Christmas Eve, their day off, looking for stocking stuffers. Li already received her present from Groff: a trip to Canada in January where Li will see snow for the first time, she said.

Honolulu resident Melissa Mau admitted she waited until the last minute to purchase gifts based on two factors: sales, and "I'm just a procrastinator," said the Pier 1 Imports employee.

Mau, who spent about $170 on a dress for herself from Cinnamon Girl and a gift for a friend from Town & Country Surf Shop, said she mentioned how impatient some customers become when purchasing an item right before Christmas.

Customers should remember the true meaning of Christmas is "being with people you care about," Mau said.

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