Stress free holiday shopping with kids- what? Stop laughing. It could happen. Sort of. How about stress free-er holiday shopping with kids? Will you accept that? It is possible, but it takes work, planning ahead and flexibility. Don’t believe me? Try these things:
Don’t take your kids to the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas unless you hate yourself, or you really, really, really need that Santa picture to make your life whole. I’m not kidding. The mall between November 23th and December 24th is the stuff of nightmares and panic attacks. If you need to go to the mall with the kids go before mid-November, or go before noon on a weekday. The mall on weekends in the fall is a madhouse. Plus, if you get your shopping done early you can relax. At least you can relax about presents.
If You Can’t Shop Early
If you can’t shop early, and you have to bring your kids out with you, these things might help
Hand held electronic devices. Just let them bring the DS, or hand the kid your phone and let them play bejeweled. This is especially helpful if you get distracted and need to try something on.
Make lists. Know who you need to buy things for and have at least some idea of what you want to get them. This will help.
Let the kids help pick things. You don’t know, maybe Grandma actually told her that she wanted a stuffed cow. It is hard to say. At least the child won’t be bored.
Bring Snacks – at some point there will probably be whining about hunger, if you can whip a granola bar or a baggie of goldfish out of your purse it will buy you 20 minutes.
The Best Advice of All
Shop online. The internet has everything, and my house has three bathrooms. And wine. I can also call the children in one at a time and let them pick out gifts for their siblings. I can also cook dinner or change over the laundry in the middle of shopping. Best of all, the internet will deliver directly to my recipient, no trips to the post office are necessary.
I loathe the post office.
The other great thing about online shopping is that you can comparison shop. It is easy to find the good deals and these days most websites offer gift wrapping and free shipping around the holidays.
If you do your holiday shopping online, when the kids get hungry you can just say “Go eat a banana! Have you had any fruit at all today?” and you will feel like a good parent. Then when you are done, instead of wrapping gifts all night and then spending the next day in line at the post office you can, instead, obsessively watch the entire first season of Breaking Bad in one sitting. Just me? Okay, you can do something that isn’t messed up that you want to do with all of your spare time, like spend time with the children, at home where it is warm and easy to find a parking space in December.
Image via renewedfitness.org