BELLINGHAM - It was a quiet morning at Bellis Fair mall Tuesday, Dec. 24, as shoppers trickled in to pick up a few last-minute gifts and goodies to put under the tree.
Though the pace picked up at about noon, early morning shoppers were surprised at the lack of crowds in the stores the day before Christmas.
Nooksack residents Julie and Loren DeGolier went to Target for groceries and supplies and were shopping for a few gifts for their grandchildren. They were happy that the mall wasn't nearly as busy as they thought it was going to be and the shelves weren't stripped bare.
"It's actually kind of barren, as far as shoppers are concerned," Julie DeGolier said. "It's nice. We can go in, get what we need and get out."
For the most part, people were looking for just a few items to round out their gifts, rather than starting from scratch on Christmas Eve. People picked up holiday pajamas and slippers, clothing and loads of wrapping paper and bows.
Chelsea Bates and her mother-in-law Mary Bates were up from Mount Vernon to finish up their shopping. Mary Bates had just gotten back from Texas, where she said the shopping was crazy, "a madhouse at midnight."
"It's been amazingly quiet," she said of Bellis Fair. "I thought we were going to have to fight to get a parking spot."
Judith Pitton was shocked as well when she got off the freeway and saw that the parking lot had plenty of open spots. The Bellingham resident was at Sports Authority with her son, who was spending gift cards that he had gotten, while she looked for a present to make sure everyone got the same number of gifts.
"I don't want to go out into the mall," she said. "I want to do one stop and that's it."
Bellingham resident Kristal Allbery was up early and decided to head to the mall for one last gift for her mom.
"I just felt like I needed one more thing for her because she's done so much," she said.
Allbery was perusing items at JCPenney and said she liked the calm pace of morning shopping rather than competing with a flood of shoppers later in the day.
"That's really last minute," she said.