One way to guarantee a Christmas shopping nightmare, pretty much everyone agrees, is to leave it to the last minute.
But not, apparently, in the UAE.
With just four days to go, as shops in the West geared up for the annual mayhem that is the last weekend before Christmas, at malls in Abu Dhabi and Dubai yesterday it was just another casual Friday afternoon.
"It was actually very easy," said Louise Villeneuve, 55, an executive assistant shopping at Al Wahda Mall in the capital.
"I just walked into one store and I found everything. It is a lot easier here than back home in Canada.
"I am done," she said, pointing to the four bags in her hands.
Mrs Villeneuve keeps gift shopping simple. "I do very little Christmas shopping," she said. "Only for children."
Hiba Antonios, 28, a Lebanese flight attendant, bought gifts for her mother, sisters, two friends and her husband at a cost of about Dh2,000.
"It only happens once in the year," she said. "You have to be a bit generous."
Like Mrs Villeneuve and Mrs Antonios, Maribeth Sewell was able to get all her shopping done in less than four hours.
"I have enough now," said Ms Sewell, 42, from the Philippines, shopping at Marina Mall with her son Dixon, 11, and her friend Fetty Bota.
Christmas shopping, both women thought, was "a bit expensive" this year.
In Dubai, malls were busier, filled with shoppers who'd procrastinated and visitors looking to get in the spirit by checking out the Christmas displays.
Sharon Larraquel, a Filipino maid who has lived in Dubai for the past four years, posed for photos with friends in front of the Mall of the Emirates' Christmas tree display.
"I like the atmosphere here, and we have many activities during Christmas," Ms Larraquel said. "On Christmas Eve, we meet up and exchange gifts and on Christmas Day we go to church.
For some expatriates, home came to the UAE for the holiday.
Marten Hammer, who has lived in Dubai for more than a year, will have his parents visiting from the UK for Christmas.
"My parents' gift for me is to come and spend Christmas with me in Dubai," he said.
Last-minute holiday decorating needs also brought droves of shoppers to the malls yesterday. Supermarket trolleys dominated by Christmas trees were not an uncommon sight in car parks.
"It is not very 'Christmassy' here, not like the UK," said Emma Townsend, an Emirates airline cabin crew member, who is spending her first Christmas in Dubai.
"Back home there is much more decoration."
Back in the capital, for Noelia Corte, the only source of stress was lack of options.
"We need a bicycle for my seven-year-old and it seems very difficult to find the right thing," she said.
Once a suitable bike was discovered, it would have to be loaded on to the family vehicle without the intended recipient noticing.
The mother of two's advice on avoiding last-minute stress?
"Online shopping and starting early," Mrs Corte said.