UNION SQUARE — 'Tis the season to wait until the last minute.
Shoppers around the city packed into stores in search of Christmas gifts on Tuesday, shelling out hundreds of dollars in a mad dash to scratch off every name on their shopping lists.
JP Hanson headed to the Shops at Columbus Circle to pick up a set of stocking stuffers, adding that he actually prefers to buy his presents on Christmas Eve.
"There aren't too many crowds. The city clears out. That's part of the reason I like doing this," said Hanson, 42, of the Upper West Side, who loaded up on hot cocoa and tea sets from Williams-Sonoma.
Olympia Mazarakis another self-described habitual last-minute shopper, went to Columbus Circle Christmas Eve to buy two last-minute gifts for her niece and her best friend's daughter.
"I usually wait till the last minute," said Mazarakis, 34, from the Upper West Side, who did her shopping at J. Crew and Sephora.
Jenny Jomarrom was a reluctant late shopper, saying she still has to buy gifts for her entire family — her mother, stepfather, brothers and sister.
"It happens every year. I always tell myself that next year I'm going to get my shopping done early but then I always end up shopping on Christmas Eve," said Jomarrom, 50, of the East Village.
She bought her mom a $150 gold flower ring from Satya and picked up clothes at Lucky and makeup at Sephora.
Ashely Munoz, 25, who lives in Mott Haven but works in the shopping center's Armani Exchange, shopped for her young daughter and 1-month-old niece at H&M.
"I like to wait, they have better deals," she said while holding up a pair of pink baby slippers. "I got two items on discount and another one for free."
Geraldo Acevedo, a custodian, bought his girlfriend an iPad for around $600 at Union Square Best Buy.
''I always wait until the last minute. It's hectic, but it needs to be done, and sometimes, you get a better deal. I wouldn't recommend it to other people. The lines are bad sometimes. But it's just me," said Acevedo, 52, of East Harlem.
Computer programmer Josh Hubi, 24, of the Upper West Side, bought a $200 Google Chrome book for his girlfriend.
''I'm a lazy shopper. I usually just buy online in advance, but I didn't this year and the guilt got the best of me. I wanted to get something nice for my girlfriend, and I had a day off, so it was perfect.''