Palmerston North shoppers have been some of New Zealand's busiest, with spending growth in the city the third-fastest in the country.
Spending through the Paymark network hit $159.2 million last month - up 9 per cent from a year ago.
That was the third-highest spending growth in the country, and well above the national average growth of 7.5 per cent.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the strong December figures came on the back of a continued upswing in spending throughout 2013.
"Following record-smashing spending on both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day it is not surprising to finish on such a high in December," he said.
"For the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis we're seeing a significant increase in spending which should bring optimism for most Kiwi retailers, and hopefully we see this momentum continue into 2014."
Some of the biggest growth was seen at furniture stores and duty free shops, with spending increasing by 11.5 per cent and 17.3 per cent respectively.
- Manawatu Standard
How much did you spend on Christmas presents?