Supermarkets packed, malls surprisingly empty as Kiwis prepare for Christmas Day

Foot traffic at one of the country's largest shopping destinations, Westfield Newmarket, was moderate with little sign of consumer chaos on Christmas Eve.

The silly season spending seemed fairly restrained this year - maybe a sign of the turbulent times we're living in. 

"I feel like people are putting down consumerism this year and maybe just thinking about some of the true values of Christmas, especially with everything going on internationally," one person said. 

While some tried hard to pretend it wasn't happening. 

The tell-tale signs of texting a friend and panicked indecision, the hallmark of what's known in retail circles as 'the last-minute shopper'. 

"I'm always a bit last minute, too little too late they say," one shopper revealed.

Away from the shopping malls, others defied normal Christmas conventions by buying presents first and getting a tree a day before the main event.

"We were out shopping and thought why not, give us something to do this afternoon," one Christmas tree shopper revealed. 

It was a different story food shopping for Christmas lunches or dinners. 

Sunday was the busiest trading day for Countdown supermarkets across the country.  

With closing time approaching, shoppers are getting ready to settle in for Santa.