Last-minute shoppers hit the stores as malls close early on Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve was crunch time for holiday shoppers who were racing against the clock to find last-minute gifts for their loved ones.

While many stores, including the Roosevelt Field and Smith Haven malls, closed their doors a 6 p.m. after opening early on Christmas Eve, some stayed open late to accommodate latecomers.

Target and Big Lots kept their doors open until 10 p.m.

Shoppers say the late hours are helpful in case they forgot something.

"I'm sweating now, I'm not even kidding. You might be able to even see my sweat," says Chaya Barber, who has not completed her holiday shopping. "It's actually really stressful because everybody comes last minute. I don't know. I had time, but I just came last minute."

Poll: Christmas shopping

William Whitaker, of Hempstead, is another last-minute shopper, who waited until Christmas Eve to start shopping for holiday gifts.

"I just waited and waited, and so now here I am, in the mall, on Christmas Eve, and I'm not finding anything," Whitaker says, but he will not leave empty handed. "I got me a pair of Adidas."

The rush was on in Huntington Village as well. Shoppers like Dan LaForgia, of Huntington, say they have a better chance of finding what they're looking for at local, small businesses than at a crowded mall.

"Just looking for some stocking stuffer stuff, we have most of it," LaForgia says. "We're steering clear of the mall today."

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