Christmas Shopping with a Child

Firstly – don’t.

It’s a bad idea.

You know it’s a bad idea. You know you’ll never get away with it. No matter how clever your ninja skills are, or how incredibly well you plan it – they’ll look, they’ll know. It wont work.

HOWEVER desperate times and all that.

It’s not even like I haven’t had the opportunity to do the Christmas shopping sans children – I have had not one, but two shopping trips, dedicated to Christmas shopping and left the kids with my mum for a few hours. The first trip we bought literally nothing. Not. A. Thing. (aside from breakfast in a cafe).

Second trip was only slightly more successful than the first – I think we managed to buy 3 presents. And forgot to buy a Kris Kringle gift that was for the following day that was the main reason we’d gone shopping in the first place.

We really suck at this.

So today I thought – that’s it! I’m just going to go and do the shopping, with or without my 3 year old. (With, it was with. In case that wasn’t already clear.)

Based on my experience this is the advice I’d give:

Step One – Plan Ahead

What could possibly go wrong?!?

Pretend you’re an organised, decisive person. (Because, if you were, you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place, you would have already done your Christmas shopping and not be trying to rush it in at the last minute.)

Step Two – Ensure you have plenty of time

Don’t – for example – forget to bring your eldest child’s hat to school and then promise you will bring it to him before recess time, because adding time pressure, to all the other pressures, is just not a good idea. Seriously. What was I thinking?!?

Step Three – Arrive Early

Available parking as far as the eye can see!

That way you’ll feel like you’re being pro-active, even if you’re maybe not really. Also, it’s easier to find a parking spot.

*Don’t be tempted to take the spots closest to the door, in the most convenient location, even if it’s deserted first thing in the morning – it’s a trap. Park a long long way away. Park on the roof if possible. The closer it is to Christmas the less capable of driving like competent drivers people become, so just avoid areas where most people will park. You’re better off close to an exit, than close to the shop door.


That face is just as innocent and devious as it looks…

Because seriously “hey look over there” and trying to slip the toys into the canvas bags I’d SO clever brought with me wouldn’t have actually worked. Nope. Not even a little bit.

Step Five – Try to get through it as quickly as possible.


Oh, wait no. You brought a child with you. That won’t work at all…

Step Six – Quit

I think she's spotted it...
I think she’s spotted it…

Just quit. This was never a good idea to begin with. Go home. (pop up to school with the school hat) Unpack and wrap whatever you managed to gather (for me it was 2 things off my list and 4 random impulse buys). And just don’t. Don’t do it.

Step Seven – Go shopping at night when you’re kids are asleep.

Remember before having children when you were like 24 hour trading for Christmas? What? Why is anyone shopping at Target at 3am?!

Well, now I know why.

(Though, it’ll be more like 8pm. I still don’t understand why people would be shopping at 3am. Shift workers? Vampires…? Who knows.)

Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

On the bright side, this little possum will be at Kindy next year so this is going to be the last year that this will be a dilemma. *phew*

How do you manage to buy your Christmas presents each year?

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


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