How to Survive Holiday Shopping with Kids

Hot apple cider.

That’s the secret.

Every year when I do my Christmas shopping, child in tow, I stop first at the coffee shop and get two steaming sups of cinnamon-spiced apple cider.

It may be the sugar, sure, or it may be the feel of a warm cup in cold hands, or maybe just the spicy, scented deliciousness of annual tradition, but those cups get us through what’s next …

Shopping.

We’re not big shoppers in our family, preferring to make stuff for each other instead (yes, we’re obnoxious hippies). But it’s almost impossible to avoid shopping around the holidays, especially if you don’t want to irk extended family and friends with some homemade gewgaw of yarn and whatever.

But how, pray tell, do you survive shopping and kids?

Cider is my trick. And it actually helps turn an otherwise annoying ordeal into a true family tradition.

My daughter and I look forward to those days when we can escape to downtown, buy our ciders and stroll around the storefronts, window shopping. To make it a really fun day, I try to mix in one cool activity for every store visit. In other words, slipping among the crowds to buy that sweater for grandpa is followed quickly by a peak at the SPCA window display. Tucking into another store for a pie pan or blender is made all the better by knowing we get to ride up a glass elevator in a hotel, the cityscape glittering below.

Although the shopping day is usually much longer than I plan, thanks to all these stops, in the end it makes the experience fall in line more closely with what the holidays should be about: family. Instead of just buying more more more, we usually end the day talking about all the cool stuff we did, as opposed to all the stuff we bought.

What’s your trick for surviving holiday shopping with the kids?

A big thanks to Citi Price Rewind for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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