Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - As the clock ticks closer to midnight, hundreds of shoppers are racing to pick up last minute gifts.
Samantha Dixon says she struggled for 20 minutes to enter a mall parking lot and then another 10 to find a spot.
Dixon has three small kids and and didn't start her holiday shopping until Christmas Eve.
"I have three kids and haven't started shopping yet," she said. When asked why she waited until the last minute she said, "Because that's what I do best."
The Piper family – who thought they had everything under control – had to make a last minute trip when a surprise visitor arrived at their doorstep.
"My son was stationed in Korea for over a year and made a surprise visit home and I didn't have anything for him, so I had to make a trip to the mall to shop for him because we were planning to do it after Christmas,” said Patricia Piper.
On the plus side, many stores offered significant Christmas Eve discounts.
"At this point retailers are trying to move their holiday merchandise, their winter merchandise and believe it or not, they're getting ready for spring already so they need to get rid of that merchandise to move that stuff in,” said Rebecca Flach of the Retail Council of New York State.
Apps like shopkick can be useful for shoppers. Shopkick tracks your location and sends you coupons as you approach the store.