NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — ‘Tis the season for giving. But if you waited until Christmas Eve to do your holiday shopping, you were not alone, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.

Stores were packed with procrastinators scrambling for last-minute gifts Thursday.

“I’m a classic last-minute shopper,” Gwenn Huack of Ridgewood said.

Christmas music filled the air in Downtown Ridgewood, as shoppers hit the stores to finish off what’s left of their holiday lists.

Hauck went to Bookends for some last-minute gifts.

“I got stuff last week and then I realized I was short. And what I got was so good, I wanted more of it,” Huack said.

It was crunch time at Ramsey Outdoor as shoppers took advantage of the final few hours of the holiday shopping season.

“I’m a procrastinator. So here I am, in person, trying to get something last-minute,” said Lucine Beylerian of Upper Saddle River.

The big malls were slammed, too. Thousands flocked to Garden State Plaza for Christmas Eve.

But this year more than ever, people Caloway spoke with said they wanted to shop local to support small businesses.

“Why? because I love this town and I want it to succeed. And the only way is if we put back in what we want to get out,” said Huack.

“So many small businesses are suffering because of the pandemic. So I’d kind of rather go in person, support the stores that exist and prevent more from closing down,” said Beylerian.

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The last-minute lists also include food.

Customers happily waited in line outside Ho-Ho-Kus Bakery to get some sweet treats before the holiday.

“We’re getting apple pecan pie,” one customer said.

“The best brownies in Bergen County are there. I’m getting four of those for my granddaughter and son,” said George Dakes.

“We’re just following Mom’s orders and doing what she told us, which was to go out and get bakery stuff,” another customer said.

Shoppers filled their carts at Stew Leonard’s in Paramus. Many said they’re preparing for a scaled-down Christmas thanks to COVID.

“It’s a good excuse to keep it small,” said CarrieAnn Arnold.

“Yeah, it was actually a little more relaxing. I hate to admit it. But it was,” said Kathy Knight, a Mahwah resident.

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Some business owners told Caloway it’s been a busy holiday shopping season, overall. Maybe even busier than last year. It definitely picked up in the last couple days as Christmas neared.

The USPS said a flood of mail and a historic boom in online purchases has overwhelmed the system. As a result, more than a million packages may not arrive by Christmas.

That could lead to even more last-minute shopping late on Christmas Eve.

CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team