The answer to that? I took my kids Christmas shopping.
Each year, I like to take my kids shopping so that they can buy gifts for family members. I think it's more meaningful if they've picked out the gifts that are going to be given on their behalf. This year, I cheated just a little and bought a few gifts a head of time. It's probably good that I did....cause we only had four people to buy for yesterday...and that took over 3 hours. I can only imagine if I hadn't done any previous shopping and we still had 11 people to buy for.
I really don't know why I bother. Our trip to the stores usually consist of the kids looking at me with hopeless eyes waiting for me to give them ideas on what to buy. It's not their fault. Trying to buy gifts for my family is never easy. It's even harder when they are put on a strict budget, yet everything in the store seems to have doubled in price since last year.
I remember the good old days when a $10 spending limit per person could buy some fantastic gifts. Now? Well, each person is lucky to get away with maybe a pair of socks or a Christmas mug with a tub of hot chocolate to go with it. Even the bath sets and shaving collections that used to be a big hit with my kids are now closer to $20. It's ridic. And, of course, the kids don't really understand when I shut down the $20 gift sets....it's what they're used to buying, it's just not what I'm used to spending - and it's not what I'm going to spend because I'm not made of money, and when I have a dozen people to buy for, a $20 limit per person gets a little outrageous.
Anywho - the trip to the store yesterday was a little...how can I say it? Urm...strained? Stressful? Yes, those are good words. The ordeal consisted of getting to the store and the kids looking to me for ideas. In which I gave. They then decided they didn't like my ideas, and wanted to look around. So that meant back and forth through the store. Did they want to buy clothes? No, don't know the right sizes. Let's go look at gift sets. Gift sets too expensive? Let's go look at tools. Don't like any of the tools? OK, we can go back to the gift sets. Gift sets too expensive, still? Let's go look at electronics. Not a single electronic accessory that fits with any person on the list? Well, then we can check out the candy gift sets. Don't want to buy candy for anyone? Then it's back to clothes. Yes. For three hours, this was my shopping experience. And you know the ending to this story, don't you? You guessed it - they ended up freakin' buying the gifts I had suggested in the first place. UGH!!
Again, I stress it's not their fault. Although, it would have been easier if I had just bought the gifts a head of time and let the kids wrap the gifts. I'm sure they wouldn't have minded too much. But they like being involved with the gift buying. It's not really fair to take that all away from them.
It wasn't just the kids that got me stressed out, yesterday. I just love those other shoppers that make the experience that much more magical for me. You know the ones. The people that seem to have woken up and realized that there's only five days until Christmas and now have to make a mad dash to the store, run everyone over in their paths, and get all hateful and nasty with everyone in sight. Really, people? It's Christmas...I was up to my eyes with stress yesterday, but you didn't hear me huffing and puffing when every aisle I went down was blocked with carts. I didn't get nasty and hateful when two people decided to have a nice chit chat right there in the middle of the aisle. I wasn't the hateful one!! There was actually people that got nasty with me if I asked them to "excuse me" in my most polite voice.
OK, so I'm up there with the category of person that waits to the last minute to finish up their Christmas shopping, but I don't take it out on every other patron at the store. I chose to go on a Tuesday, because I figured there were still people working, it would be a lot less crowded than if I decided to take the kids on Saturday. Apparently, nobody in my area works the week before Christmas. The store was pretty packed - but that's no reason to get all hateful with everyone.
After three very long hours, the Christmas shopping was over. I felt like I had run a marathon, and each of the kids were also feeling a little stressed and tense. Poor things. They are starting to figure out the fun to Christmas shopping....it's not as fun as it looks! They were so over the day when we got home, that they didn't even want to start wrapping. They've decided to wait until today. I don't blame them.
So, food for thought for next year. I'm writing this down so I can remind myself of my options for next year when I think it's a great idea to take the kids shopping for gifts:
A) Leave them at home!! Do the shopping myself and then let them wrap the gifts
B) Take them with me, but go a month before Christmas...so we're not dealing with the Grinches and Scrooges at the store a few days before Christmas
C) Go to the store, give them each some money and tell them to meet me in an hour. I'll be at the McDonald's enjoying a Mocha Latte and reading a book.....totally stress free.
I kind of like the last option...and by next year, they'll be old enough to walk around the store alone. I'm pretty sure if we do Option C next year, I'll be able to pick Option A every year after! HA!
Alright, I've got family coming over today....so I better get my butt in gear and straighten out my house a little. Everyone have a wonderful Wednesday. Just 3 more days until Santa comes!!
Till next time. ;)
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