A local gift store is picking inspirational wall plaques and children's umbrellas as top gifts this Christmas.
Mi-Store owner Sharyn Rehm said the wall plaques, imported from Australia, were already proving popular.
"We've sold 20 in about three weeks."
For dads, barbecue aprons and gas bottle gauges were always well-appreciated, Mrs Rehm said.
Customers had begun placing items on lay-by in the last fortnight, but the real rush was yet to begin.
"And then there's always the people who rush around on Christmas Eve."
In the past 45 days, Wanganui online toy buyers have favoured radio control vehicles, Lego and building toys, Trade Me figures show.
Nationally, Lego and building toys were also the website's most popular new-toy purchases, followed by radio-control vehicles and ride-on toys. But jigsaws and puzzles are uncool with locals - the slowest selling toys for Wanganui Trade Me users.
Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said as of last week more than one million items were listed for sale.
"[It's] definitely not just a garage sale anymore."
New trampoline purchases have clocked up the highest sales value figures in the past 45 days.
Mr Ford said South Islanders had been more generous with their Christmas purchases, spending slightly more on average than their North Island counterparts.
Women, especially mothers, had bought a lot of Lego and building toys, dolls and metal toys.
Radio-control vehicle toys, models and metal toys were popular purchases for men.
Top picks for book-lovers this season include Richie McCaw and Valerie Adams' biographies, according to Whitcoulls marketing manager Maggie Butler. JK Rowling's first adult novel The Casual Vacancy and Dr Libby's Real Food Cook Book were also selling well, she said.
Whitcoulls' picks for children include storybook Read Me Another One Please, which features stories and poems from various local authors including Tessa Duder, Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley.
Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid has also been popular.
Shoppers are also being asked to spare a thought for families unable to fill their own Christmas stockings.
Major Pam Waugh, of the Salvation Army, said Christmas was a difficult time for many Kiwi families.
"There's lots of pressure for our families and a lot of them are coping with a huge amount of debt - prices, rent and power have gone up over the year."
People keen to help could place a wrapped gift under any of the K-Mart wishing trees around the country, Major Waugh said.
"That's a wish for every child - a new toy, wrapped under the tree."
Tear Fund communications manager Helen Manson said New Zealanders could also buy gifts for residents in poverty-stricken countries through the charity's Gift For Life scheme.
Purchasers would receive a Christmas card to send out to their loved one or friend, Mrs Mansen said.
"The card will tell them you have bought a gift on their behalf for someone overseas. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the actual item will be given to the person who needs it more."
2012 Top Gifts
- Radio-control vehicle toys
- Metal toys
- Valerie: The Autobiography
- Richie McCaw: The Open Side
- NZ Story book: Read Me Another One Please
For something different, check out: www.giftforlife.org.nz