OGDEN -- With the big day looming ever closer, last-minute shoppers were out in full force on Friday, scouring stores for the perfect gift.
Retail outlets were packed from Riverdale to Ogden on the day before Christmas.
Parking spaces were hard to come by in the complex that houses PetsMart, F.Y.E. and Super Target in Riverdale and all along Riverdale Road, traffic was thick and stores were busy. Newgate Mall parking lots were full as well, as customers flooded the area with shopping bags in hand.
Megan and Kaitlyn Larsen and Nicole Martoccio, sisters celebrating Christmas in Ogden this year, searched for last-minute gifts at the Super Target in Riverdale.
"We're pretty much shopping for everyone on our list," Megan said. "We waited until the last minute, but it's kind of fun to be out with all the people."
For Kaitlyn and Nicole, shopping on Christmas Eve was a matter of necessity, not procrastination.
"I just got paid yesterday," Kaitlyn said. "So it really would have been impossible for me to do it before now. I wish I could have finished it earlier, but maybe next year."
Martoccio lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and just recently flew into town. She said packing lightly for the trip necessitated her last-minute shopping.
"When you have to travel so far like I did, it just doesn't make a lot of sense to do your shopping and pack it all on the plane," she said. "It's much easier to just pack light and then do your shopping when you get here."
In downtown Ogden, things weren't as hectic.
Historic 25th Street had moderate crowds and several shops along the street were closed for the day.
"We obviously have more specialty stores around here, so we won't be as busy as the big retail chains," said Dave Booth, owner of DragonFly Health Foods, 260 Historic 25th St.
"But we've had quite a few customers in today, most of them coming in for last-minute stocking stuffers or things like that."
Ogden resident Chloe Merrin was looking for gifts for family.
"I've just been too busy," she said of her Christmas Eve shopping. "You always feel like you've got plenty of time, and then time just sort of sneaks up on you and before you know it, it's Christmas."
For one Ogden group of family and friends, last-minute holiday shopping has become a yearly tradition.
Members of the group, who did not want to be identified, said that for the past 15 years, they've spent every Christmas Eve shopping for needy families in the Ogden area.
"Most people are out shopping on Christmas Eve because they've put it off until the last minute, but this is a yearly tradition for us," said a women named Diane. "We all decided we wanted to do something good for someone else on Christmas Eve."
This year, the group, which has grown to about 60 people, was able to give gifts to seven different families in Ogden.