By Dillon Thomas

DENVER (CBS4)– Last-minute shoppers have once again returned to the halls of local malls after nearly two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Last-minute shoppers at Cherry Creek Mall largely said they were shopping on Christmas Eve intentionally, and not out of necessity.

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“We are seeing traffic return to the center at pre-pandemic levels,” said Jeramy Burkinshaw, General Manager of Cherry Creek Mall.

Many were seen pacing the mall with their friends and with bags of merchandise.

“Christmas Eve is one of the busier days of the season for us. As you can tell the center is busy,” Burkinshaw said.

Some shoppers, like Jaime, said they see last-minute shopping as a time of bonding among family, as well.

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“We are just doing shopping for Christmas, getting some gifts,” Jaime told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “It is a tradition to go to every store and maybe we can see something different. I think it is better in person. You can see, you can feel.”

Carolyn Pope and her family went to the mall on Christmas Eve to support local workers.

“I am out here looking for little stocking stuffers,” Pope said “It seemed like a fun thing to do to get out and get in the spirit.”

While many shop before Christmas, the busiest day of the year for local malls tends to be the day after Christmas as people use their gift cards and make returns.

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“I think it is great with COVID that all of us are out with masks and spending some money instead of going online and buying from the big guys,” Pope said. “Being able to be out and interact with all the people who are having to work today, and help them feel like they are here for a reason to help us and help the economy.”

Dillon Thomas