Christmas is a time of traditions.

Putting up lights.

Trimming the tree.

Sending Christmas cards.

Fighting through crowded malls at the last minute.

That last one might not sound too appealing but, for whatever reason, countless Canadians embrace it every year.

A recent survey by Angus Reid on behalf of CIBC suggests that 69% of Canadians hadn’t finished their Christmas shopping by Dec. 15th. Furthermore, 15% of respondents said they hadn’t even started! It appears procrastination has become a Christmas tradition.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” says the man known as the Procrastination Doctor.

Dr. Tim Pychyl is an Associate Professor with Carleton University’s Department of Psychology. He’s also the author of the book Solving the Procrastination Puzzle.

He says there are many reasons why shoppers wait until the waning days before Christmas. “Just because procrastination is delay doesn’t mean that all delay is procrastination,” he points out. “So there are a lot of different reasons out there.”

There are, of course the purists, the dyed-in-the-wool procrastinators who will always put off today what they can do tomorrow.

There are perfectionists who might start shopping early, but end up holding out for the perfect gift, the perfect deal, or the last-minute – whichever comes first.

There are also those who are genuinely too busy, like students who have to get their exams out of the way before they can turn to shopping.

Then there are those who truly like the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping. Pychyl calls them “arousal delayers.”

“Some people will say, I really like that madness and it’s part of the Christmas spirit for me,” he explains.

Whatever the reason, it all adds up to a lot of last-minute Christmas shoppers. Almost 70% of us, it seems.

And who knows how many people put off answering that survey?