Saturday, October 18, 2008

Christmas Shopping with Kids

Remember when Christmas shopping was something you could put off until the last minute, and then rush through, in one evening? Alone? Ahhh-those were the days, weren't they?

Now you have little shoppers, and you can't rush through anything, anymore, and a trip to the store-any store-is an operation which requires military-style planning. You can't wait until late at night. You can't slide and squeeze and speed your way through the crowds. And, most of all, you can't dawdle, examining something on the shelf-when you're shopping with small children, dawdling is definitely forbidden.

You know you have to keep them moving, keep their attention engaged, keep them guessing; a few seconds' rest can put the brakes on your master plan:

"Mommy, I want that!"

"Daddy, I'm hungry!"

"I have to go to the bathroom!"

"Tommy touched me!"

"I want to go home!"

By the time Christmas rolls around, you never want to see the inside of a retail store, again.

The good news is, you're not alone. Parents of small children all over the world are sharing your pain. The bad news is, there's no easy way to shop for Christmas, with small children. There are, however, a few ways to take a tiny bit of the stress out of the process.

In the spirit of keeping your kids engaged and involved-rather than just being unwilling passengers on the journey-make your shopping trip their shopping trip, too. Have them make a list of things they want to give as gifts to their grandparents, cousins, or friends. Do your shopping, first, then deal with their lists-this can help keep them as anxious as you, to see that your shopping is done, quickly.

Plan a visit to the store's Santa, on the condition that your kids are well-behaved and as helpful as possible-but make Santa your last stop.

Bring snacks along-hungry kids tend to be irritable. Bring activities, like coloring books, to keep them occupied, while you shop.

During the holidays, many malls have kids' play areas with adult supervision. Talk with other parents you know, to discover which ones in your area are safe and trustworthy.

Talk with your children before your shopping trip. Plan a reward or discipline system for them, based on their behavior at the store. If they become unruly, don't take the bait and discipline them at the store-just be sure, when the trip's over, to follow through with your plan.

Know your kids. If you realize that a successful Christmas shopping trip with them is a hopeless dream, then find a way to leave them at home, with a sitter or your spouse.

Christmas shopping is a cultural ritual that's here to stay. Look at it this way-you only have to survive a few years of it, with small children. Then you can go back to the last-minute, late-night gift runs-they'll seem like a vacation, won't they?

Author Bio

J Gardener, a writer for Imaginary Greetings, Inc. (, is an award winning screenplay copywriter and a regular contributing author on many family oriented issues. For additional tips on how to truly light up your child's eyes this holiday season like never before visit

Article Source: - Free Website Content


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