Abu Dhabi: Several Christmas shoppers in Abu Dhabi have expressed their joy at celebrating the festive season, but revealed that they intend to cut on their spending, due to the prevailing economic conditions.

For Australian Geraldine Lightfoot, 54, and her daughter Ellie who were doing their last minute shopping in one of the malls, "Christmas eve is about spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones, and not about spending large amounts of money on presents," they told Gulf News.

"My friends and I have agreed to put a limit on our budget. We will not spend more than Dh50 on each individual present. It's about the spirit of the season, not the amount you spend," said Geraldine.

She revealed she got some "simple but special gifts" that included a jewellery box, fresh and flavoured dates in an attractive box and a bottle of after-shave.

"My daughter will get a lap top since we want to encourage her to study hard in university next year," she added with a chuckle.

In comparison to Australia, they say, "shopping here is civilised and orderly. During Christmas time back home, people shove, push and queue while shopping. It's crowded and not a pleasant experience. We've been shopping here for the past week now and things are pleasant," said mother and daughter.

Shreya Gupta, 23 and Naisha Fatim, 26, both work in a bank and have set a budget for their Christmas presents too. "I have set a budget of Dh2, 000 for my gifts since I have to buy presents for eight people and now I'm afraid I'm exceeding my limit. Things are too expensive this year," said Fatim.

Economic crisis

"I'm worried about my expenses with all the financial problems going on these days. I have to be careful and weigh things, especially that my job is risky these days," added Fatim, who, along with her friend Shreya carried bags of presents that contained chocolates, T-shirts, perfumes and handbags.

"There were more offers and sales during last year's Christmas. This year though, prices are much higher and there are hardly any sales, so you can't help but limit your spending habits," said Gupta.

Ayman Soliman, Area Manager for a gift shop that sells dates and chocolates, feels that shops will soon suffer from the economic crisis.

"We haven't been affected yet since many people have been purchasing products since the holidays started after the National Day, Eid, Christmas and New Year following each other."