Grab your wallet. Get set ... Panic. With just 13 days until Christmas, retailers are tempting shoppers with pre-Christmas sales, free creche facilities, valet parking and late-night shopping.
Regular shopper and mother-of-one Richelle Dick said Sylvia Park's free creche was a deciding factor in her choice of where to shop.
"Anyone who has ever been shopping with a 2-year-old knows how impossible it is," Dick said. "The creche means I can get everything done really quickly without a crying toddler who doesn't want to be there at all."
Dick said all malls should offer creche facilities, even if only at Christmas.
Newmarket business association manager Ashley Church said the face of shopping had changed markedly.
"People used to wait for Boxing Day to get bargains but mass imports have changed that. There never used to be December sales at all because that was the time businesses maximised profits," he said. "Now there are plenty of pre-Christmas sales and Boxing Day sales are not what they used to be."
Church claimed retailers hadn't been hurt by the growing popularity of online shopping and internet sale sites because shoppers revelled in the "madness" of Christmas shopping.
"Christmas is the time where you put the kids in the car and stress yourself stupid for the day - online shopping is too sterile for Christmas."
With Christmas falling on a Sunday, Church said people would leave shopping until the last minute.
"Saturday will be particularly busy with people doing last-minute shopping."
Santa's Enchanted Forest and popular window displays at Smith and Caughey's on Auckland's Queen St had great "pulling power" said store spokesperson Terry Cornelius.
"It has been building up since the end of the Rugby World Cup and now it is really busy - it is so good to see everyone so positive again," Cornelius said.
Deb McGhie of Westfield St Lukes said Christmas shopping kicked off last weekend but she expected the madness to start this week as the school term ended.By Kirsty Wynn Email Kirsty