Top tips to save time, money for last-minute Christmas shoppers

There are just three sleeps to go until Santa makes his around-the-world trip - and for those who haven't finished their Christmas shopping, the pressure might be starting to mount.

For those who don't have Santa's elves on speed-dial, Newshub has picked the brains of some local experts for their top tips on saving time - and money - during the last-minute Christmas present panic.

Shop smarter

Personal shopper Abby Button recommends gift packs as a good place to start for time-strapped shoppers.

"A lot of the department stores have little gift packs which are really great if you want to split them up and give [the gifts] to multiple people," Button advises.

For example, a selection of beauty products in a gift box can make great individual stocking fillers or Secret Santa presents.

For cash-strapped shoppers, Button recommends fun costume jewellery and accessories as an alternative to more expensive options.

"Costume jewellery is a really great present to buy a loved one... a colourful bag isn't something every woman has, so it can be a really fun present," she says.

Shop with a plan

"Look online, get some [inspiration] off there," Button says.

"Write a list, make sure you're going into the mall with a mission rather than wandering around."

If a discount looks too good to be true, it probably is

"Retailers often lure consumers with prices that look like you're getting a bargain, but these deals may not be genuine," warns Jessica Wilson from Consumer NZ.

"Make sure you shop around before you buy so you know that the price is a real, genuine discount."

Make the most of late-night shopping hours

As the crowds get busier in the lead-up to Christmas, the stress of shopping can intensify.

"Go home after work, have some dinner, then maybe hit the mall afterwards - don't go to the mall during peak hours," Button suggests.

It doesn't need to be perfect

"Perfect is the enemy of good, it doesn't need to be perfect - it just needs to be good enough," Tauranga resident and Christmas shopping extraordinaire Lisa Glass says.

"I just want Christmas to not be a wind-up time... [I want it to be] a wind-down time."