By Tamera Adams

This Saturday, I made a last-minute decision to finish my Christmas shopping. Metered parking was scarce in Midtown Manhattan and stop-and-go car traffic suggested that a cab ride would be extremely long and expensive. The boots I was wearing "were made for walking" so I trekked 10 blocks on foot.

I passed Cartier's holly-decorated scaffolding. It was overwrought with people mouthing the words to the holiday tunes flowing from the outdoor speakers and snapping pictures of the window display. Shoppers peeked through the doors of Harry Winston to see the greeter dressed in a floor-length black velvet gown standing in the foyer.

At Saks, I couldn't tell if the crowd in front was gazing at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree across the street, or standing in line to enter the department store. Perhaps they were just waiting for their turn to take a step since the traffic on the sidewalk rivaled that of the street.

One thing certainly stood out about the day's events: I didn't see as many shopping bags as I expected. So why would hundreds of people schlep up and down Fifth Avenue in 30-degree weather? To see the 84-foot-tall Norway spruce, ogle decorated store windows or rub shoulders with people full of holiday cheer? For me, all of the above, but I did have a few shopping bags in tow.

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