Shoppers across the Emirates have a good reason to leave buying this year's presents to the last minute - the returns policies of stores.
Customers buying gifts from many stores today will not be able to take them back after Christmas because of the tight time limits of refund and exchange policies.
Most retailers offer an exchange within seven or 14 days and few offer a full refund, so shoppers are under pressure to get the right present or buy it at the last minute.
Lindsay Johnston, a public-relations professional who lives in Dubai, said she had done most of her Christmas shopping online rather than risk the refund and exchange policies in the UAE.
"You have to really gear yourself up for a fight if you want to take something back here, so most of what I have bought for Christmas has been online because it is easier," she said.
"When you take something back you have to argue or have the wherewithal to know that if you argue they will eventually give in."
Annabel Kantaria, who lives in Dubai, said she was put off shopping in the Emirates because the refund and exchange policies were so restrictive.
"I was gifted a mobile phone for Christmas [in 2009] but it wasn't the model I wanted," she said. "I tried to take it back with the receipt on December 26 but, because it had been bought on December 16 and the shop's refund policy stated within three or four days, they wouldn't exchange, let alone refund."
Retailers say refund and exchange policies are "evolving", but the standards in place here are out of sync with markets such as Europe, the US and UK, where shoppers often have a month to return an item for a full refund.
"I think it's a situation that's been evolving," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer for Jacky's Electronics. His stores offer a full refund or exchange within 14 days.
"If you look at it a couple of years ago, you did not even have 14 days to take something back," he said.
Consumer protection laws dictate that retailers have to offer a refund for a faulty item, but if the consumer simply changes their mind, they are at the mercy of the retailer. Some UAE stores say they will make exceptions for Christmas presents and look at returned gifts on a case by case basis.
Giordano, the fashion brand, is in the process of extending its refund policy from within three days to within seven and beyond that will offer an exchange anywhere in the world.
"The policy is there to protect us from abuse, but there's always flexibility. In some markets there's more abuse than normal," said Ishwar Chugani, the executive director for Giordano in the Middle East, North Africa and India.
Experts say Middle Eastern retailers are in danger of damaging the reputation of the brands they represent by implementing policies that are too far out of step with those of the brand in their home markets.
"[UAE] resident shoppers are still seeking a strong value proposition, of which service is a part," said Alan Jones, the managing director of ien consulting, a retail, leisure and property consultancy.
"Retail sales growth in Dubai amongst residents is less than double digit and customers need to be given confidence to shop, not provided with further uncertainty via a tighter returns policy."
MH Alshaya, one of the biggest retailers in the Middle East with 55 branded stores, has come under fire for its newly implemented returns policy, which is exchange rather than cash back after seven days. Customers are given a card with store credit that they can use in any of Alshaya's 55 stores.
"[The new policy] makes me very wary of shopping in those stores. I'd have to be 150 per cent sure about a purchase before buying, especially if it was something pricey," said Ms Kantaria, "To be honest, I actively avoid those shops now."