Wairarapa shoppers spent more than $46 million in December, up 5 per cent on the same period last year, new Paymark figures show.
The December surge capped the fastest year of spending growth since the recession, with $49.3 billion in transactions made nationally during 2013, up 0.2 per cent on the previous year.
Pet stores recorded some of the month's highest growth.
Owner of Masterton dog groomers Pampered Paws Dionne Pugh said the number of pooches coming in for a grooming doubled ahead of Christmas.
"They [owners] like their pets to be all spruced up, nice and clean and pretty for Christmas."
During the year, the company would service about six dogs a day, but that jumped to 12-14 a day in December.
"It just gets crazy."
People were more prepared to spend money on their pets as the economy recovered from recession, she said. "As the economy improves, people get their dogs groomed more often ... they get very attached to their dogs and they like them to look nice. It's definitely something people do during better times."
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said Christmas Eve and Boxing Day saw "record-smashing" spending during December, with Kiwis spending close to $5.1 billion.
December spending increased 1.7 per cent from November and 7.5 per cent since December 2012 - closing the fastest year of growth since 2008.
The average transaction was just under $50.
"A lot of sectors have showed some strong spending patterns through the month of December and many retailers will be very pleased with the results."
Pet stores recorded some of the month's highest growth (9.2 per cent) along with sporting and camping equipment retailers (9.3 per cent) and furniture stores (11.5 per cent). The hospitality sector also enjoyed a 9.5 per cent spike in spending.