It’s still a few days too early for true last-minute Christmas shoppers, but people at the Cambridge Centre mall on Friday felt they had put their gift-buying off long enough.

“We had to do some last minute Christmas shopping and get some stuff for my wife and my other two kids,” said shopper Joe Gillett.

Cambridge Centre is open Saturday, Sunday and until 5 p.m. on Monday, as are Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener and Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.

Many last-minute shoppers take part in the ritual year after year, and use that experience to pick up some tips on how to make the most out of fighting off rabid crowds.

“Start early and stay committed until you’re done,” suggests Chris Archi.

Linda Williams, who has three kids, has her own method to keep everyone happy.

“I have to make a list so I can be fair and get everybody equal,” she says.

Christmas fever is heating up around the world, and perhaps nowhere more than at the North Pole.

Santa took some time out of his day to visit with kids at Cambridge Centre, but he said his elves are busy back at the workshop.

“Things are a little busier up there as far as I can tell,” he says.

“They’ve only got one more day to work.”

For those who have to buy gifts without relying on Santa’s magic, many retailers are offering big holiday savings to entice shoppers – and, of course, some of the best deals of the year begin on Boxing Day.