It's Time to Return Gifts and Spend Gift Cards!

December 26, 2011 Updated Dec 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

December 26, 2011 Updated Dec 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM EDT

Cheektowaga (WKBW) Parking lots stuffed to the gills and local shoppers flooding malls in Western New York. Only it isn't the day before Christmas, it's the day after, when all those unwanted holiday gifts get taken back.

It is one of the busiest shopping and returning days of the year, as shoppers packed the Walden Galleria to make returns and exchanges, spend gift cards and hunt for deals. Shoppers called the atmosphere "crazy."

"It's crazy, the lines are long, it took us twenty minutes to park," one shopper said.

"Right now it's pretty crazy. I got knocked down to get into lines. Lines opened up at stores, and people knocked me over to get into a shorter line," another added.

The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday gift returns will total a record $46.3 billion this year, up 4 percent from last year and 10 percent from two years ago.

Even parking was an adventure, as lots filled up by lunchtime.

"There is no where to park, we had to park near taco bell and walk all the way over here and then have to walk all the way back "> shopper Angela Johnson said.

The good news for retailers was a rise in holiday spending this year, totaling $469 billion, up 3.8 percent from last year. And the deals keep coming for shoppers, who saw some of the best sales of the year on Monday.

"It looks like they're making more incentive for us to come out and shop more," Tamara Hamilton said.

"It's crazy but it's fun. It's the day after Christmas so it's good," shopper Amie Smith added.