My favorite store to shop in with toddlers is Target. Except, can there really be a favorite store to shop in with toddlers? Nuh-uh. The correct answer to “my favorite store to shop in with toddlers” is no store. Anywhere. Ever.
But I’ll tell you what: life with two toddlers has made me nothing if not an aficionado of shopping carts. Yes, that’s right. I said aficionado of shopping carts. It’s a thing.
Best shopping carts – Target. Worst shopping carts – that place that starts with a W and ends with a mart. Every cart ever in the history of time at the place that shall not be named here has a wonky wheel or a banging something or other. And the carts at my store are metal. The carts at Target are plastic which makes for a more comfortable ride.
Also, Target just has good stuff. For everyone! Dad, mom, baby and everyone in between. Going to Target is an event in our home. Yup. I used to get excited to go to concerts and stuff. Now I get excited to go to Target. And, as any good parent knows, the way to keep the kids busy while you browse the good stuff is by touring the toy aisle first thing and letting them play with anything their sticky little fingers can grab.
And that right there is the key, folks.
We all know how you go out of your way to find just the right toy for your kid (you know, one that doesn’t make loud noises, won’t stab you in the foot when you step on it in the middle of the night and, oh yeah, your kid likes it too!) and then on Christmas Day they end up ignoring the toy in favor of building a fort out of wrapping paper and having a sword fight with the empty cardboard tubing from the center of the five roles of paper you used up the night before while wrapping all their crap.
So just do what I did and spend a couple of evenings browsing grown-up stuff at Target while your kids play with random toys you’ve thrown in the cart. Be sure and note which stuff they love and which stuff they cast aside in minutes and bada boom bada bing! There’s your Christmas list.
Beware! Sometimes this strategy can backfire (and it often does) when your kid (I’m not-HENRY-naming names) throws a tantrum as you put the toy back on the shelf. But hey, I can rest assured that come Christmas morning he’ll play with the actual toy as opposed to the cardboard box it comes in.