KARACHI: The holiday shopping season is in full swing on Monday, with retailers hoping consumers will spend big despite worries about the fragile economy and their own precarious finances.
With Christmas just a week away, in cities across Pakistan, it is the start of a frenzy of shopping, with plenty of time for stuff to be delivered and wrapped up before the big day arrives.
In Sukkur, shoppers are thronging centres in Shahi Bazaar, Mission Road, Chamta Gali, and Ghareeb Abbad neighbourhoods to buy clothes, shoes and other articles.
Many shops have set up additional counters to sell Christmas decorations such as miniature Christmas trees and buntings.
“Each year, we plan to shop well ahead of Christmas but end up roaming around shops in the dying hours,” Saba Masih told the Associated Press of Pakistan.
“Ladies are quick to haggle but still never content with the shopping,” said another shopper at a local departmental store.
Separately, a number of bakeries have prepared Christmas cakes, while almost all the major hotels in the city have displayed highly illuminated and beautifully decorated Christmas trees and miniature models of Santa Claus, wearing his trademark red uniform and carrying a bag filled with gifts for children.
Churches have finalised plans to set up special fairs outside the buildings where families would draw in glory to enjoy every bit of the festival.
Midnight masses will be organised in all the city churches late on Saturday (December 24) evening marking the beginning of Christmas celebrations.
The Christian neighbourhoods have been illuminated and decorative lights and buntings have been put on the houses and churches to celebrate the occasion.
Radio and television channels have also announced to broadcast special programmes to highlight the importance of the holiday.