By Juli McDonald

DEDHAM (CBS) — Nothing like waiting until the last minute. From the package and grocery stores to shopping plazas, parking lots were full Christmas Eve.

For some, it’s part of the tradition. Others are still trying to get their hands on must-have items caught up in the supply chain.

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But overall, crunch-time shoppers were in good company Christmas Eve. It felt just about everyone was crossing the final items off their lists, right before stores closed for the holiday.

“I wouldn’t expect it on the last day. You just expect a few stragglers, but not like this. This seems like it’s still in the middle of the height of the season,” said a shopper in Dedham. “Every place I go into is packed.”

Brick-and-mortar stores have enjoyed an increase in crowds. Some of them searching for electronics they couldn’t find online. But depending on the product, other shoppers found themselves out of luck looking at bare shelves.

“The box stores have been jam-packed for weeks. I’m in the trades. We don’t buy our tools online, but I found when we went to the stores there was nothing there, so I had to,” another shopper said.

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Regardless of what’s available online, some people consider it tradition to be buying the gifts practically on the way to the party.

“For the most part, we’ve got what we wanted. Of course, I am a Christmas Eve shopper. It’s part of the excitement. Part of the joy,” said Brian Owens.

And as the stores closed and parking lots cleared out Friday night, it was time to rush home.

“Santa Claus!” said 4-year-old Olivia.

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The National Retail Federation predicted holiday sales to climb more than 11% this year. Shoppers looking forward to a slightly more normal holiday were on pace to spend up to $859 billion.

Juli McDonald