It's the weekend before Christmas and not a decoration is hung, a present purchased or a tree in sight.

But some Kiwis have proven it's almost never too late with data revealing a number of people rock up just minutes before supermarket doors close on Christmas Eve to buy everything from gifts to the essentials for a festive feast.

Countdown statistics show more than 3800 Kiwis put off buying their pavlova and another 1800 the ham, until after 5pm on Christmas Eve last year. A number of people took last minute to a new level, with a mad dash to buy the two Christmas staples just minutes before supermarkets closed at 11pm.

A classic case of forgetting the toppings for the pav saw 10,500 people race to get strawberries after 5pm on Christmas Eve – almost 900 of which bought theirs after 10pm. A further 17,500 Countdown customers were out buying cream on the evening of December 24.


It wasn't just the food leaving people in a festive season flurry – thousands were left wrapping presents of all shapes and sizes and finding the cheer to write cards, the night before Christmas.

More than 33,000 cards and gift wrapping items were sold at Countdown stores on the day last year. People also dashed to buy stocking fillers including the more than 2100 gift cards sold at supermarkets after 5pm.

But, Kiwis aren't waiting until the eleventh hour to buy all their Christmas essentials. A quarter of Countdown's wine and beer purchases were made in the week leading up to the big day in 2016.

Countdown's acting general manager of merchandise Brett Ashley said the company tries to take the stress out of Christmas shopping as much as possible with the likes of online shopping and late opening hours on Christmas Eve.

"The run-up to Christmas Day is usually very busy with work commitments, parties, catching up with friends and trying to get around extremely busy shops to purchase Christmas presents and summer holiday must-haves.

"Luckily we understand these pressures and our store managers and team around the country are trying to make the Christmas grocery shopping as easy and fun as possible."