Bay Area Rain Eases Last-Minute Shopping Crowds

Scattered showers seemed to discourage some Bay Area residents from shopping on Christmas Eve.

"I didn't expect to see what we saw today - not a lot of crowds and easy parking," shopper Brett Jennings said at Santana Row in San Jose.

Just Jewels store manager Sarah Pelayo says the rain has tempered crowds.

"It's pouring rain and it's freezing outside, so it's a little bit slower than average," Pelayo said, explaining the store serves customers cookies to lure them in from the rain.

San Francisco's Venice Salvacruz dressed her dog Butters in a raincoat and boots to go shopping.

"I'm a procrastinator so I always wait last minute," Salvacruz said.

Among the other excuses for waiting until the day before Christmas: "We had a lot going on. We just went skiing this weekend," said twin brothers Jack and Joey Leiker, who were shopping last minute for their girlfriends.

"I was going to shop last night but I accidentally fell asleep last night and didn't wake up till this morning," Johnny Chavarria said, admitting if a store is open until 6 p.m. he will shop until 5:59.

Though police were stepping up patrols around major shopping centers because of an incident in North Carolina, shoppers seemed to be blissfully unaware.

Kohl's in Campbell was open all night. Sales associates told NBC Bay Area News there were lines snaking around the store until 2 a.m.

"It's been a long day," San Jose's Red Carag said in line.

While other shoppers say shopping on Christmas Eve may become a new tradition.

"I was hoping I'd get here and magically have a front row parking spot and it actually happened, pulled right in," Jennings said. "I think given all that I might shop more often on Christmas Eve."

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