Christmas Eve shoppers looking for last-minute gifts enjoy unseasonably mild weather

ByDiane Pathieu and Alexis McAdams via WLS logo
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Some might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but with extremely mild temperatures many last-minute shoppers hit the streets in nothing more than a jacket Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but with extremely mild temperatures many last-minute shoppers hit the streets in nothing more than a jacket Tuesday.

With just hours left before Christmas, many shoppers were still crossing gifts off their holiday list.

"We are last minute shoppers every year," said Idette Anguiano. "Every year."

Nearly 9 million people nationwide take full advantage of the Christmas Eve shopping rush.

"We do this holiday tradition every year where we go out on Christmas Eve and we shop," said Mae Branch.

Stores add extra hours to give those shoppers just enough time. Some look for last-minute stocking stuffers, or an item their little ones have been eyeing.

"Whatever they want, we are going to get them," said Dustin Sater of his children.

Others are still rushing to get the perfect gift that their significant other probably thought they bought days ago.

The mild weather made a typically frantic day of buying much more pleasant.

"We are walking everywhere, it is awesome," Sater said.

But no matter what you're buying, shoppers are spending more this holiday season than they have in years.

The National Retail Federation estimates the average American will spend more than $1,000 on gifts this holidy season.

Mary Ann McGrath, a professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago's Quinlan School of Business, said the holiday shopping trends are strong.

"Probably the best we have had so far because the economy is doing well and people feel good about their situation," she said.

Not everyone waits until the last minute to buy gifts, however. Experts say 39% of people start their holiday shopping in November, while 56% buy their last gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

Most stores that are open Christmas Eve will stay open until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. to help accommodate those last-minute shoppers.


Flights are resuming their normal schedule Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports after flights were grounded this morning due to dense and freezing fog.

The National Weather Service issued a Dense Fog Advisory until 10 a.m. Tuesday for Cook, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Kane, DuPage Counties.

Residents were warned to watch out for hazardous driving conditions due to low visibility when traveling on roads and highways, NWS said.

The FAA reported all flights were grounded at O'Hare and Midway airports until about 9:30 a.m. due to the dense fog.

"We're a little stressed out, we've been here since 11 o'clock last night," said Jamie Johnson, who is traveling to California. "I finally got a little nap and we woke up to chaos. Hopefully our flight is not cancelled."

According to the FAA, when a ground stop is issued, "flights that are destined to the affected airport are held at their departure point for the duration of the Ground Stop."

So far, 54 flights have been canceled at O'Hare and 71 flights have been canceled at Midway, split evenly between arrivals and departures.

Arrivals at O'Hare are delayed by an average of about 55 minutes, while arrivals at Midway are delayed by an average of 24, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Departures at O'Hare have been held back by an average of 34 minutes, and at Midway are running with delays of under 15 minutes.

According to the National Weather Service, areas of dense fog reduce visibility to one quarter of a mile or less.

Temperatures are also expected to drop to below freezing in a few areas and could lead to isolated icy patches on elevated surfaces, the NWS said.

NWS warns if you're driving to slow down, use your headlights and leave plenty of distance in front of you.