Christmas Shopping WITH Kids — a Guide to Surviving (and thriving)
Christmas comes but once a year, and doesn't each passing year just seem to travel at an extraordinary pace these days?!
For mums in particular, Christmas is an undertaking of colossal proportions, often with many months of plotting and juggling preceding the big day. Not only do we carry the bulk of the planning, preparation and gift buying duties, but in there too, we're also mums who must shuffle our broods and our load of regular duties while we do.
So how do you approach Christmas as a mum? Does it stress you? Exhaust you? Or do you annually revere riding the big colourful wave of bustling, festive pre-amble? Really, how do you do it?!
As a mum of six, I feel the end of year stresses and strains, as well as the joys and excitement. (OK, maybe just a tad more than a smaller family does!) Planning Christmas begins many months in advance and funding it commences even earlier. Always tricky though, is getting the shopping for the children's gifts sorted, especially when you have kids in tow. (Because seriously, when doesn't a mother have their kids in their constant presence?)
However, there are stealthy ways to deal with the dilemma of shopping for Christmas gifts while your kids are in your presence. In fact, I personally do it every single year and they're none-the-wiser! It's a task I now look forward to, as it really does scale-down my end of year preparations to a minimum. It's a bit of fun too!
As soon as your kids cotton-on to a shopping expedition led by mum, chances are everyone wants to accompany you. (Be flattered - they all love you!) While you could see that universal experience as a big hindrance when it comes to buying their secret Christmas gifts, think on all those positive potentials too!
A trip to the stores with your kids allows you to ever-so-casually browse the aisles along with your children. This is a fantastic opportunity (AKA: covert operation), for you to take mental notes of exactly what's of current interest to each of your children.
Go one step further in your 'research mode,' and pull aside a store staff member. Quietly ask them to supervise a hidden trolley for you, which you can then stealthily fill with your little darlings' selections when their backs are turned. It's a win-win every time, not to mention a whole lot of fun! When you're done, the trolley is whisked off to lay-by at the hands of a member of staff and your covert operation is a Christmas success for all. I swear mammas, it works every time!
For those of you who can't handle the heat of the undercover 'ninja' shopping quest, you can also try a similar method online. Invite your kids to browse for their preferences and make Christmas wish lists. Having individual lists of specific desires for each child can really cut down your stress factor in preparation for December. It will save you time and potentially cash. You'll even have the benefit of price comparison too.
Once your gifting is 'all in the bag,' you're pretty-much set for the big day and it's a much smoother ride from this point. You can then kick back with a good cook book or two and a glass of wine and make a casual start on your Christmas day menu planning.
Some final vital advice though — please remember to truly enjoy your Christmas preparations each year. Just like the Christmas period itself, these precious childhood years pass at a breakneck pace. So slow down mammas and enjoy all the excitement and cherished memories that this annual event embodies. Merry Christmas!
Jody is a mum to six kids aged between 4 and 17. She started her blog Six Little Hearts in response to the question “How do you do it, are you nuts!!?”. Her blog gives us a glimpse into her world.