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But, this year, the lists for the most part seem to be marrying.
Colmar Brunton's 2012 Christmas survey found the most popular requests from males were tools/power tools (27%), vouchers (27%), books/music (24%) and a tablet or an iPad (24%), while the top female wishes were for new clothes (41%), vouchers (41%), books/music (37%), jewellery (36%), perfume (30%) and a tablet or an iPad (29%).
Colmar Brunton chief executive officer Jacqueline Ireland said females generally had a longer wish list than males, and for some females that included plastic surgery (10%), lingerie (17%) and adult toys (5%).
With just six sleeps to go, the Otago Daily Times went shopping to find out what gifts people are getting this Christmas and discovered some men could be disappointed.
While they might be expecting a power tool, Mitre 10 Mega marketing and merchandising manager Steven Loughrey said men were just as likely to receive tins of fence and deck stain or sleepers and pavers for backyard renovations.
He said it was a peculiar gift, but appropriate for the season.
''Because it's summer, swimming pools, Sodastream and outdoor furniture sales have skyrocketed compared with the rest of the year.
''We hardly sell these things during the year.''
The top selling item was Sodastream products.
Farmers store manager Shelly Gilchrist said women's lingerie was by far the fastest selling item.
''We've even got festive lingerie in red, with tassels and sparkles.''
There had been a lot of kitchen appliances such as coffee makers sold.
With an estimated 603,730 New Zealand children aged under 10 celebrating Christmas this year, toys are the best sellers.
Toyworld Dunedin owner Linda Verity said despite the popularity of electronic items, perennial favourites such as Lego, wooden dolls houses and Sylvanian Families remained on the list of most popular toys.
''Lego is always at the top without exception - it always will be. It's robust, it doesn't change, and it's not on a screen.
''Parents like it because it gets kids using their hands and their imaginations.''
Ms Verity said the 2012 top 10 list was similar to last year, with only minor changes created by fashion and technology updates.
''Technology seems to be the favourite for the decade because they keep coming out with newer, bigger, flasher models.
''Sadly, board games are no longer popular,'' she said.
Popular Christmas presents for children
1. Leapfrog Leap Pad 2.
2. Trash Pack Series 3.
4. Furby Hot and Furby Cool.
5. Micro Chargers.
6. Sylvanian Families.
7. Lalaloopsy dolls.
8. Wooden dolls' houses.
9. Science kits.
10. Craft kits.