Last-minute shopping rush in slow motion

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake At the Northridge Fashion Center, children decked in their holiday finery waited to see Santa in a long line of strollers and parents that snaked around the elaborate red-and-gold-decorated Christmas tree and down the hall. Shoppers seemed relaxed, not rushed, as they strolled through the mall with their arms loaded with presents. Suzanne Selken, 26, of Northridge talked her fiance, Gerald Blanding, 27, of Northridge into donning a Santa hat like her, and had her sister, Nicole Selken, 25, of San Francisco don reindeer antlers. The sisters said this holiday would be particularly special because they were planning to travel to Indiana after Christmas to meet one of their aunts for the first time. “I’m done with finals, I’m done with work, and now I can get into the Christmas spirit, because I’m done with stress,” said Suzanne Selken, who is working on a master’s degree in public administration at California State University, Northridge. “People keep staring at me and laughing,” Nicole Selken added. “I keep forgetting I’m wearing these (antlers).” At the Westfield Fashion Center in Sherman Oaks, Janice Bentley, 50, and her daughter, Xavianca , 24, made a special trip from their home in Malibu to buy Sea Maid bath salts for a family friend, and fulfill a family tradition. They said this Christmas would be particularly joyous because Xavianca is expecting her first child next month – a boy she plans to name Hayden Anthony. “Every year she gets one present on Christmas Eve,” Janice Bentley said, “so we’re going to get her a holiday maternity dress.” Sisters Susana Lozano, 8, and Christine Lozano, 12, of North Hollywood were doing some last-minute shopping for their parents and other siblings and not having much luck. What they were really looking forward to was visiting their cousins and feasting on tamales. “I can’t believe the stores are open on Christmas Eve,” Susana grumbled, wanting to get on with the day. “It’s Christmas Eve! They shouldn’t be!” Meanwhile, Anthony Fabbricatore, 28, of Morgantown, W.Va., Keith Haynes, 18, of Blairstown, N.J., Paul Tucker, 26, of Dallas, and Jonathan Taylor, 27, also of Morgantown, were strolling through the mall, killing time before their band, Cryptorchid Chipmunk, had to be in Hollywood to perform. Although Fabbricatore sported a red-and-green “random mohawk” and Taylor had festive silver-and-gold spiked hair, the band members said the 80-degree weather and constant travel made it hard for them to remember it was Christmas Eve. “It’s weird,” Taylor said. “We’re used to it being really cold this time of year, and it’s not.” “And we’re three time zones out of what we’re used to,” added Fabbricatore. — Lisa M. Sodders, (818) 713-3663 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Procrastinating shoppers found themselves with the leisure of a whole day off to finish their last-minute Christmas gift-buying Saturday, with thousands filling stores across the Valley. At the Fry’s Electronics store in Woodland Hills, Al Marsh, 51, of Calabasas was picking up a few extra gifts, even though he had already completed his Christmas shopping last weekend. By 10 a.m., the parking lot was about three-quarters full and shoppers were sauntering in. “I’m feeling pretty generous so I’m getting a few extra presents,” Marsh said. “Why not? It’s a nice day and I got here early enough to beat the crowds.”last_img read more