This time of year is routinely referred to as the ‘Season of Giving.'
Translation – the ‘Season of Shopping,' and there are few shopping days busier than the last Saturday before Christmas.
Bay area resident Thomas Gooding braved the large crowds to secure a few last minute gifts.
"It's crazy out here," he said shopper.
The Brandon Mall looked more like a busy New York City sidewalk during rush hour as shoppers mobbed the mall looking for down to the wire holiday bargains.
"Today I got just a couple of last minute items for my girlfriend and some stuff for the kids," explained shopper Frank McDermott.
Even though there was bargain hunters everywhere most people say they didn't mind the packed retail outlets.
"It's so much holiday spirit in the air," added Gooding. "I love it."
Tyisha Nappier was attempting to wrap up her gift assignments on Saturday but had some tough decisions to make.
"So many stores to choose from, so many stores to go to," she said. "And so many stores to shop from."
Experts predicted sales the last weekend before Santa's arrival would match the deals shoppers got at the start of the holiday rush.
Retailers were eager to please.
"It's pretty crowded but I'm surprised by the sales," said shopper Wanda Cruz. "[There are] more sales than even like Black Friday."
A crowd inside the mall meant that there would be people waiting to get in on the outside. Traffic was heavy at the Brandon Mall and parking spots were so rare that many people were forced to park on the grass.
"It's hard to get parking anywhere," McDermott said. "All the malls are full - kind of a madhouse in here."
Some shoppers claimed it took them longer to find a parking spot than it did to buy their items.
"It took about 45 minutes to get in the mall, honestly," Gooding said. "We parked like a half a mile away, we did."
But in the end, despite the crowds, the packed parking lots and long lines at the registers, most last minute shoppers don't seem to mind sharing retail quarters with thousands.
"I like the last minute shopping," said Nappier. "I like the rush."
Some couldn't get enough on Saturday.
"I'm going to leave and I'm going to another mall, Cruz said of her last-minute holiday excursion.
The crowds at the mall this weekend could have been bigger.
According to the National Retail Federation the average person has finished 56% of their holiday shopping by now.
That's up from 46% this time last year and the highest percentage in the survey's 10 year history.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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