LAKE FOREST ( — While the inevitability of chaotic last-minute Christmas shoppers is seldom a surprise, others are showing that shopping is not their priority this holiday.

In Lake Forest, many sacrificed the mall this Christmas Eve in order to attend services.

“We do get kind of wrapped up in the hustle and busy,” Lauren Bowman said. “So it’s nice to come and remember what the true meaning of Christmas is.”

Most agree that keeping their distance from the often chaotic hysteria of last-minute shoppers in itself is a Christmas miracle.

“They get all really feisty in the malls and in the parking lots, and it’s like, ‘are you serious, is this Christmas’,” Claudia Aloi said.

According to a poll, 92% of Americans celebrate Christmas. One third of those polled also said the most disagreeable part of the holiday is the commercialism or materialism — values which Orange County is widely known for.

However, at Saddleback Church, one of the most popular churches in the nation, a reported 55,000 people attended Pastor Rick Warren’s 52 Christmas Eve services at locations in Orange County and around the world.

“We’ve always been passing around gifts to each other, but never accepting the true meaning of Christmas, which is the gift of Christ.” attender Karen Ochoa said.


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