Pack the malls with crowds all jolly

Orchard Road was yesterday abuzz with crowds doing their last-minute Christmas gift-buying.

The shopping street was packed when The Straits Times visited in the evening, as masses of shoppers jostled with tourists photographing the omnipresent Christmas decorations and street performers.

Inside the crowded walkways of Ion Orchard and intently peering at a smartphone were Mr Rajesh Srinivas, 34, and his wife, Ms Chezereen Williams, 35.

"We are wondering what to get my mother-in-law," said Ms Williams, a consultant.

"We are actually Googling, trying to figure out what is available and what she would like.

"It's very stressful," she chuckled.

Mr Srinivas, a banker, said: "We are working and generally busy. We came to the realisation that... okay, Sunday is Christmas and we have to shop now."

He added that although they live nearby in Novena, they have "never seen Orchard this crowded even on a weekend".

Some shops confirmed that there was increased traffic.

Department store Tangs said sales for this year's Christmas period are higher than last year's, especially online sales, although it declined to give figures.

Yesterday was the last day of its extended hours; it will close early at 8pm today and shut for Christmas.

At Takashimaya Square, next to the Christmas Fantasy Toy Fair sat recent graduate Lin Shu Jing, 22, and her mother Irin Tan, 60.

Ms Lin was shopping at the fair for her young relatives, and said that they had time to purchase gifts only yesterday.

Ms Tan said the sales were another good reason to shop yesterday.

The two said they enjoyed the merry atmosphere, and were not fazed by the hordes of shoppers.

Said Ms Lin: "I feel that shopping for Christmas when it is crowded has more atmosphere... because you get to see people buying gifts and sharing joy.

"Personally, I feel more joyous also."

Outside Ngee Ann City, guest service executive Tina Payumo and tour agency reservation officer John Michael Yap were taking a breather.

They had both chosen to shop yesterday because that was the only time Ms Payumo, 29, had time off work.

They had been shopping for around five hours, and began their expedition at VivoCity.

They said that with the discounts and vouchers available, they had saved a lot.

After describing all their purchases, Mr Yap, 28, said shyly: "We also bought our wedding ring."

This article was first published on Dec 24, 2016.
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