MONROE/WEST MONROE -- If you are still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones, time is running out.
Last minute shoppers are packing stores across the country, causing thick crowds and a headache for some just trying to finish their Christmas shopping.
From Antique Alley to The Pecanland Mall and beyond in the ArkLaMiss, last minute shoppers are filling the stores for the last minute gifts.
"The boys wouldn't say what they wanted, and today they said it. It's either now or never!" said Monroe shopper Bobbie Donald, who is shopping for her grandsons.
This season is especially unusual.
"One thing this year that happened was thanksgiving was a year late, and it was kind of like we lost a week in there," said Florence Wyocum, a Serendipity sales associate in Antique Alley. "All of the sudden it's Christmas time...And 'I haven't gotten it done yet.'"
This holiday season is the shortest in more than a decade, and that's creating a backlog of shoppers. According to a national survey, about 32 million people had not even started their shopping by December 9th.
Chris Boone, general manager at Best Buy in Monroe, says with the shortened holiday season, he's noticed an up tick in something else.
"We saw a huge rise in our dot com business," he said. "Because it's just a shorter amount of time, the ease of shopping....there's ship to home, ship to store."
Retail workers themselves struggle to find time to shop, too.
"A lot of people work in the retail industry here. Black Friday, open on Thanksgiving Day. Extended hours throughout the holiday period," said Boone.
"They let them off the day before Christmas, that's the only time they have," said West Monroe shopper, Colin Mull.
"I'm shopping right now, too," said Trey Parker, owner of the Diamond Vault in Monroe. "We're calling around, trying to find stuff to buy for our loved ones."
Some retailers, like Parker, see the last minute shopping frenzy as a blessing. The Diamond Vault lost electricity and business this past weekend because of the storms.
"We were out...Two days we lost," said Parker. "It's the biggest Christmas we've ever had since we've been in business, and it took a heavy toll on us, at completely the worst time possible."
Some last minute shoppers blame it on procrastination.
"Usually its a matter of putting off until the last minute," said Bobbie.
"I pretty much believe everyone has an element of procrastination in them," said Bobbie's grandson, Michael Donald.
"Seems to be the trend these days," added Mull.
Some say last minute shopping could also be blamed on trying to save the element of surprise.
"It's like you're trying to mesh everything together so they have no idea where you are," said Donald.
"I know anyone who has kids, they might be hunting around the house for what may be there what may not be there," said Boone.
The mall closes early at 6 p.m. Tuesday on Christmas Eve.
The mall will be closed on Christmas day.
Hours will resume on Thursday. The mall will open at 8 a.m.
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