Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Christmas shopping with small children in tow - how do we do it?

It strikes me that there's a problem with Christmas shopping.  Just at the age where Christmas is supposed to be at its most magical, the parent is faced with the problem of invisibly shopping for Christmas presents.  I mean, shopping with a baby in tow is no problem.  They are blissfully unaware of what you are putting into the trolley or basket, can be easily distracted, and are often unaware of postman or delivery man delivering your internet buys as well.  Once the children are approaching adolescence, they are more likely to want you to deliver them at one end of town with their friends on a Saturday afternoon, leaving you free to get on with your own shopping until they are ready to be collected.  The in-between ages are hard!  I hesitate to say it, but especially so for a stay-at-home mum.  You can't dart in to the shops in your lunch break, or stop at the shops on the way home.  Whenever you are shopping, you have at least one small child in or around the trolley or your hands, and they are ultra-aware of delivery men with parcels arriving at the door.

Here are some of my strategies:

  • yes, I do on-line shopping, and I try to make sure they are busy when I spot the postie with a parcel.  I have a horrible accumulation of Amazon boxes in my wardrobe.
  • I've started to do my supermarket shopping on my way home from Scout meetings late in the evening.  That way I can drop a few stocking-fillers in the trolley without them being spotted.
  • Today, I went to a shop with the youngest while the older was at pre-school.  She was so focused on her own Christmas shopping (she chose what she was getting for big brother and daddy) that she didn't see the things that I picked up!
  • I only have a few more things to get.  I don't really know when or how they are going to be bought.  It might be a case of leaving the children in the car for a few minutes while I dart in to a retail park store, with a fictitious shopping item to get, which is in fact the desired present.  I might ask Hubby to pick something up over the weekend while we are away.  Little things like the wrapping paper that Santa uses (which needs to be different from the wrapping paper that we use!)

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