President Clinton made quick work of his Christmas Eve shopping, an annual ritual with his daughter, Chelsea. In under two hours, he rang up a potpourri of loot: jumbo coffee mugs, necklaces, books, whistles and a $35 ceramic donkey.
He said he was stocking up for Christmas 1998.
“He shops so quickly,” marvelled Katherine Cooke, who hemmed and hawed over her own purchases at a jewelry stand in Washington’s Union Station, while Clinton teased her to buy something.
“I work for them,” the president joked of the attendant cashiers. “I’m on a commission.”
Clinton had said the night before that his Christmas shopping was done and he was hitting the stores with Chelsea only as a matter of tradition.
But as the shopping bags accumulated and were passed off to aides, Clinton shrugged. “I thought I was done,” he said. “I just got carried away. I did a lot of work for next year.”
The Clintons planned to join longtime friends Vernon and Ann Jordan for dinner later before Christmas Eve church services.
Andy Brown, a Washington-area sales representative, was at Union Station picking up a necklace for his wife and took comfort in Clinton’s appearance among the last-minute panic. “I don’t feel bad now. I thought I was the only one who did this, but I guess I’m in good company,” Brown said.