With just two weeks until the big day, Christmas shoppers were out in force on Friday, picking up where they had left off in the pre-lockdown rush.
Before dawn, non-essential shops and cafes were getting ready to raise the shutters for the last big splurge of the year and spirits were already high.
The festive flurry meant Belfast city centre was certainly busier than usual for a Friday morning as queues formed outside many of the most popular retailers from early morning.
Shoppers have just under a fortnight to stockpile for Christmas but it's going to be an equally anxious time for retailers as they try and recoup the losses of a desperately difficult year. Having missed a fortnight of trading during their busiest four weeks of the year, they've also faced a battle with online rivals.
For those who made the journey into the city centre there was a definite sense of relief to be out and about again but also concern that some people were not keeping their distance or wearing masks in shops.
Colm Begley from Clonmore in Co Tyrone had made the trip up to Belfast to pick up his Christmas pyjamas from Primark. "This had to be the first stop as it wouldn't be Christmas without them and you can't buy them online. It was quieter inside than I thought it would be but I'm sure it'll be busy later on," Colm said.
"It really gets you into the festive spirit when there's lots of hustle and bustle and buskers playing," said his other half Tara O'Neill, who was on the hunt for her Christmas Day outfit.
Nearby on Castle Street, City Picnic owners Gavin Gregg and Arthur McAnerney were gearing up for a busy day.
"If we don't open, we're dead. We only get paid when we're open and there are customers coming in the door to enjoy some great food," admitted Gavin.
"While the financial help we've had from the Government is very welcome, it doesn't scratch the surface," added Arthur.
Over on Royal Avenue, Sammy Haskins from Comber was in the queue at Argento to pick up something special for his partner Laura Stevenson.
"We were scundered sitting in the house," Sammy said.
"I wanted to see the decorations and enjoy the buzz to make it feel like it really is Christmas," Laura added.
Newtownabbey couple Joanne and Edward White were on a mission to avoid Saturday queues and support local business. "We have done some online shopping but we still wanted to come in and see what's on offer," Edward said.
Elsewhere Rory Brady was preparing to welcome lots of diners over the weekend to The Monico Bar on Lombard Street.
"There was some debate about whether to reopen or not but it's looking good so far as we're fully booked this weekend," he said.
Across town at Shed Bistro on the Ormeau Road, owner Christina Taylor was bouncing as she waited to welcome the first customers into her new-look restaurant after a recent expansion.
"We have waited a very long time for this day, so there was definitely some extra excitement this morning," Christina said.
"It finally feels more like Christmas."