Most Alaskans spend Christmas Eve relaxing with friends and family. But for those who avoided shopping for the holiday season, the day before Christmas was the last opportunity to go to the mall.


Midday Saturday, the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall was filled with people hoping to check the final items off their shopping lists. They were helped by dozens of workers, many of whom are hired on a seasonal basis.


“You’ve got to really know your product,” said Deloris Thornton, a seasonal worker at Lush Cosmetics. “You’ve got to be quick, and you’ve got to really make them feel special.”


Many who waited until the last minute to shop were relieved to find the mall relatively uncrowded.


“I’ve been very surprised. I haven’t been stuck in too many lines,” said Anna Hamre, who said she was looking for “the last couple little things” for her parents.


“I was actually expecting way more people,” said Ashley Lee, who said she arrived early to avoid the crowds.


Thornton said Saturday was not her first time working in retail on Christmas Eve. She said it’s important to keep things in perspective while sacrificing a holiday to work.


“Be appreciative that you even have a job. Be appreciative that you get to work and that you’re alive,” Thornton said. “And save that little money that you got to work that day.”


Many stores had limited hours on Christmas Eve. The 5th Avenue Mall is closed on Christmas Day.


KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.


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