Packed parking lots, long snaking queues and jubilant shoppers are features at this time of the year at shopping malls across Gauteng.

Malls across the province are abuzz with activity as shoppers rush to get their hands on their Christmas goodies. Many shopping centres have also extended their trading hours this month to accommodate the high number of patrons.

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, malls are abuzz with activity. Men, women and children can all be seen frequenting malls and filling their trolleys while indulging in their Christmas shopping.

Little 10-year-old Sirion Chetty who loves Christmas shopping, says he wishes that his parents were millionaires so that he can get all his dream presents.

“My parents said the economy is bad you know. If we had a lot of money I would buy drones, nerve guns, sweets and nice shoes. But I’ll just settle for a remote control car this year.”

From toy shops to clothing stores to groceries outlets, business is booming ahead of Christmas.

Christopher Mdulaiza is an owner of a liquor store in Randburg and he says December has always been the best month for sales.

“All I can say is that the business is good so far because most of the people are coming to buy each and every time so the shop is always full. We don’t have a day where we can say the business is not going good. But all I can say that business is good because of the festive season and everyone is happy and I’m happy too.”

Consumers cautioned to be extra careful about their spending

Mohammed Hannif is the manager of a large retail store at Cresta shopping centre and he says the Christmas rush is already in full swing.

“Customers will walk into your stores waiting in the long lines, waiting for that specific shoe, order the best of the best just for the month of December waiting for the perfect gift for their loved ones, for their family members just to keep them happy. You get us as retailers extending our trading hours just to keep a customer satisfied to give them the service that they need.”

Despite all the good deals and specials stores have on offer this season, Lebogang Selibi from the National Credit Regulator (NCR) has advised consumers to be extra careful about their spending.

“Our advice is especially for those people who will be receiving bonuses and who have already received bonuses to not forget to do their monthly budget to include their extra income they received from their bonus, to buy and keep school uniforms now in December, to pay for essential expenses now and to also save for the New Year. We know that a lot of people have been paid around the 15th of December and will be paid again at the end of January so the income they have must last them about a month and a half.”

Despite the festive season being filled with happiness and celebration, it’s also a time where criminals are on the prowl.  Shopping malls can get extremely busy this month and if you are not careful, you can quickly become an easy target for criminals.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says he has instructed all police officers to deal swiftly and decisively with criminals.

“We are not warning them, we are just telling them that those who promote criminality, we will take them off society and take them were they belong and that is jail. Criminals must know that we have got an appointment with them and there is no retreat in relation to fighting crime and dealing with dangerous criminals, we will meet them pound for pound and toe for toe.”

It’s also very important to never leave packages and shopping bags visible on your car seat. When you take your shopping bags full of goodies back to your car and want to continue shopping, you should park your car in another spot so criminals who may be watching you, think that you have left for the day.