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Frantic Last Minute Shoppers Fill Westchester Mall

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Frantic husbands and boyfriends, decked out in New York Giants and New York Jets gear, filled The Westchester Mall on Christmas Eve day  in search of last minute presents for loved ones. They each had their “last minute shopping” excuses as to why they waited less than 24 hours before the big day to buy the gifts.

“Unfortunately, the nature of my personality,” said Phil Brancucci of West Harrison. “Until the back is against the wall, I don’t really perform. Plus, I have a pretty busy lifestyle. I have my own business, so it’s hard to get away.”

“He’s the ultimate last minute shopper,” laughed his daughter, Nicole Brancucci.

Nicole helped her father pick out a Pandora charms bracelet and a Michael Kors watch for her mother. Phil was convinced that his wife “probably got her gifts [for them] a month ago,” and was relieved he finally got her presents.

“When I have to, I got here, and I have my daughter’s support,” said Phil. “You get it done. It’s not that I’m waiting for the sales. It works out that things are usually discounted this time of year.

Brad Ringless, a Fishkill resident, had just bought gifts for his girlfriend, but did not want to spoil the surprise for her by admitting what he got. “I went to Michael Kors and Tiffany’s,” said Ringless.

He went shopping on Christmas Eve because he was certain that his girlfriend would find the gifts if he went any sooner. “She will find it without a doubt,” Ringless said with a hearty laugh.

Tony Ortiz, proudly wearing New York Rangers head gear and jacket, was trying to find Broadway tickets for his wife at the Westchester Broadway Theater booth.

“I’m looking for tickets to the Nutcracker, but they don’t have them here,” said Ortiz.

The White Plains resident was in a rush to buy a last minute gift because a present he had ordered was not what he hoped for.

“Because a gift that I mailed for came and it’s not satisfactory,” said Ortiz. “I have to return it,” but he gladly said that he would receive a refund.

When asked what he would do if he were unable to find Nutcracker tickets, he laughed and said, “I have no clue, so there I am. 20,000 feet with no power plant, no wings, no parachute.”

Marstus Hewitt, of New Rochelle, was relaxing after shopping with his wife and kids during the early morning hours. He was glad to have gotten his shopping done and had just one thing on his mind.

“I started procrastinating a little bit and it’s crunch time, so I’m thinking about the Giants,” said a cheerful Hewitt.

He enjoyed shopping with his wife and kids because he did not have to worry about what gifts to buy her. Instead, his wife directed him to different stores. “No input by me today, all straight shopping,” said Hewitt with a smile. “I’m pretty much done.”

One of the gifts from Hewitt will work out great if snow ever arrives in Westchester County. “She needed a pair of boots as I passed through with the kids, so that’s what I got her,” said Hewitt.

He really completed his Christmas gift-giving last night when he gave his wife a surprise she still cannot believe. “She got a puppy, so she’s ecstatic about that. I got her a boxer,” said the New Rochelle resident.

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