FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Saturday was the last full day of shopping before the Christmas holiday, and you can bet malls were busy to say the least.
With Freehold Raceway Mall opened early and the parking lot already filling up by sunrise, last minute shoppers ran in in hopes of finding exactly what they were looking for.
Andrea already had several bags in hand heading back to her car only 20 minutes after the doors opened.
“We’re heading, actually, to WalMart,” she told WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron. “We figured since they open up pretty early, we’d come here first. For my sister and my nephew and everybody and it was very pleasant actually.”
Bob told WCBS 880 he was heading to Maryland for Christmas but wanted to hit the stores before hitting the road.
“We planned this time to do the shopping, so we’re doing it,” he said. “I’m a last minute kind of guy.”
In Paramus, CBS2’s Dave Carlin intercepted Vinnie Isolti and Dawn Suplicki in a jam-packed mall parking lot as they headed in to buy little things.
“This is the last minute fun stuff,” Vinnie said.
“Stocking stuffers – that’s a big thing,” Dawn added.
At the Queens Center Mall, Donna and Danny Berrios were about to spend lots of money, with a whopping 45 people – all relatives – their Christmas list.
“We just started to scratch the surface,” Donna said.
“We’re going to be here all day until they close,” Danny added.
One gift they were especially proud of was a necklace for their daughter.
“Because she’s precious, and we wanted to buy her a little something just to wear delicate around her, because she’s our precious little jewel,” said Donna.
Rosie and Nelson Orenjo were almost done with it all. They said it helped their son’s list was super specific.
“We knew exactly what he wanted. So we bought him two pairs of Paxon jeans, and we got him a Puma tracksuit,” Rosie said.
Colleen Boyce was in the mall, even though she had already completed her holiday shopping weeks ago. She came for some items that won’t go under any tree — pillows and boots she’s keeping for herself.
Thomas Dambo, from Copenhagen, was killing time at the mall before a flight to the Boston area.
“This is a birdhouse I made from recycled wood back in my wood shop back in Copenhagen,” he told Carlin.
The birdhouse is for his girlfriend’s mother. He said he thinks handmade gifts are best, along with togetherness at home instead of stressing at stores.
“I think the biggest present for your family is the time you spend with them,” he said.
Late Saturday night, Emily Perez told CBS2’s Jessica Borg she was on a mission.
“My parents laid it on me: They’re like, ‘OK, you have to go get all this stuff, here’s your budget and everything,’” she said.
Jennifer Bravo was feeling the heat, because her family opens their gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve.
“We’re under deadline,” she said.
The Queens Center Mall is open 24-hours, catering to last-minute shoppers. For some, it’s tradition to wait until it’s down-to-the-wire.
“It’s fun to come last-minute to see all the craziness,” one girl said.
The crowds meant big business for jewelry stand owner, Sam Arocho, who said he was starting to run out of merchandise.
The Queens Center Mall will be open until 7 p.m. Sunday. It will be closed on Christmas Day and reopen again at 10 a.m. Tuesday.