NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Last-minute shoppers rushed through the aisles on Christmas Eve night, hoping to buy the final gifts on their lists before stores closed for Christmas.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, the shoppers were in the final stretch at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, Queens. A lot of people were heaving sighs of relief that they found everything, but a lot were also starting to panic.

Some even claimed that Christmas Eve night was the right time to get the best deals…

“It’s a madhouse here,” said Michael Maisonet. “The lines are outrageous.”

Maisonet just needed something for his inlaws.

“Just don’t know what to get them, so figured we’d come stop through the mall look at all the stores and see what we could do,” he said.

More: Last-Minute Gift Options In NY

Alisha Torres of Burlington, New Jersey told Bauman she has been shopping all month, but changed her mind on one gift at the last minute.

“I got my nephews originally the same present, and one wanted something different, so I’d rather get him what he really wanted,” Torres said.

Tricia Marquez admitted that she waits until Christmas Eve to shop every year, but claimed her method actually saves money.

“A lot of things were 50 percent off everywhere – 75, and then take additional 25 percent — it was win-win,” she said.

But even a discount is not enough to convince some shoppers to bear the frenzy ever again.

“I can’t do this crowdedness — I can’t,” said Jaianna Cunningham.

The crowds at the Queens Center Mall were lighter in the mid-morning.

“I have eight people I have to pick up for and I’m glad I came here this early because it is empty,” she said. “I been here earlier and it was quiet, earlier in the year, and around the 20th it picked up. I’m actually shopping for my honey, okay? This is his list.”

The blame fell squarely on Ms. Johnson’s honey for sending her out at the very last minute.

Al from Jersey City had a ready made answer for why he waited until Christmas Eve.

“Work, overtime, you know, other responsibilities at work and at school,” he told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.

Fortunately for Al, the Newport Centre Mall wasn’t too crowded Sunday afternoon with many getting their shopping done earlier or online. Denis tells 1010 WINS no dice — he’s a brick and mortar guy.

The Queens Center Mall closed for the night at 7 p.m. Sunday. It will be closed on Christmas Day and reopen again at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

But even after the malls were closed, shoppers were in a bustling hurry in plenty of other places. Al Lopez did not have time to talk on his way into a Duane Reade drugstore on West 63rd Street on the Upper West Side.

“I just dropped my daughter and wife at a holiday dinner and I told them I’m parking the car, which is subtext for me finding some holiday cards,” Lopez said.

He was only a few hours ahead of the clock striking Christmas.

“I could offer you a million excuses. None are acceptable,” he said. “I wish I did it sooner.”


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