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Long IslandNassau

Before the snow hit, Long Islanders hit the malls

A worker at Target in Medford fights through

A worker at Target in Medford fights through heavy snow as he struggles to retreat shopping carts back into store. (December 19, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

Sharon Oder was stronger than the storm: It meant cancellation of her son's basketball tournament, but no change in her Christmas shopping plans.

"We were going to come shopping after the game," Oder, of Hicksville, said Saturday as snow covered the glass roof over the gift-wrapping desks at Broadway Mall in Hicksville, where she and son Jason were getting relatives' presents boxed. "You gotta do what you gotta do."

She paused and added, "I feel so stressed."

Never mind the season's first snowstorm -- Long Islanders felt the pressure or simply were in the spirit to go gift hunting on the last Saturday before Christmas. Malls, chains and shopping complexes were filled with parents, babies in strollers, moviegoers and teenagers hanging out with their friends.

Three generations of a Suffolk family traveled to Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, where parking lots were full and most shoppers escaped the wind by hurrying from store to store. Jared Lynton, 6, and his sister, Sheyla, 2, sat in the beach buggy kiddie ride while their mother, Tijuana Temple, of Bay Shore, watched. Their grandfather, Bobby Temple of Brentwood, held the bags.

"I don't call it last-minute shopping," he said. "I call it just enjoying the holidays. The weather is nice. Love it. Cleans the air."

The children were already wearing their presents from their grandfather: boots for the snow. Sheyla's had pom-poms, while Jared's were deerskin-colored. "My daddy's got them," the boy said.

For Jenny Gurung, 9, of Woodside, no teacher was going to be left behind as she shopped at Tanger with her grown-up cousin Chadani Gurung. It was the only day off before Christmas for Jenny's father, who has the car, so they came to the outlet center in the morning in hopes of beating the snow.

"I have in mind getting them scarves and maybe nice sweaters," Jenny said, and began listing her 12 teachers.

"Twelve?" her cousin said. "You didn't tell me that. I'll get some scarves."

Others were bulk buying, too.

At Costco in Melville, a line of cars trailed from the parking lot to the street. "It had to get done," Dominick Gaudioso of Lindenhurst said of food shopping. "I think people came out because they thought everybody else was going to stay home."

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