Christmas shopping can easily be ranked as one of the most pleasant and heart-warming times of the year! It is a time when we finally have an official occasion to show our family and friends how much they mean to us by choosing the perfect gift to make their Christmas even more special! The festivity lasts for days and is celebrated with family gatherings, celebrations, cooking, a lot of eating, and a lot of gifts.
Although it is assumed that people experience more joy from receiving a gift rather than giving one, this may not always be the case. Do you remember the last time when you went Christmas shopping for your friends, family, or loved one? Did it make your heart pound just imagining the looks on their face when they open your special present? A priceless feeling, right?
Christmas may, in fact, be a wonderful and magical time and shopping for gifts may be fun and enjoyable. However, the picture slightly changes when you are a parent and Xmas shopping is done with the kids. Especially if your little ones are at an extremely young age, this may add a few barriers to your shopping experience and expose you to stress. Worry not, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll share a few tips on Xmas shopping with kids to help you get through the process with a smile on your face and create a positive memory. After all, Christmas is almost here and you better start preparing soon!
Christmas Shopping with the Kids
Parent will be fully aware of the preparation that any activity with the little ones requires in order to keep the peace running until the very end. Kids can easily get upset or stressed when exposed to unfamiliar atmospheres, people, locations, if the temperature doesn’t feel right, or if they suddenly get hungry.
Taking a regular walk in the park, for instance, is often a challenge for parents with little ones, but there is something even more frightening – taking your children to the mall for Christmas shopping! Now, we don’t want to sound too negative and suggest that every shopping journey with the kids will be burdensome but especially in the case where the shopping not entirely focused on the children, chances are that you may be in for a bumpy ride!
To avoid ruining this year’s Christmas shopping with the kids, we’ve prepared a list of suggestions that could be useful for you as a parent during this year’s Xmas shopping!
If Avoiding It is an Option – Do It!
To start with, double-check whether taking your kids to the shopping mall for Xmas gift searching is an absolute must. If possible, ask grandparents or other family members to spend some quality time with the little ones while you dive into the messy but fun world of shopping. Large and popular local shopping malls tend to get extremely overcrowded during the holiday period and are not the best place to take your kids.
If, however, there is no alternative, try to do arrange this year’s Xmas shopping in smaller shopping centers that are not so popular or try finding gifts online.
Tip: Leave some extra time for your shopping for Christmas presents if you choose the online option as the deliveries may not always arrive on time or you may need to return gifts if they don’t match your requirements once opened in real life.
You may be tempted to but avoid taking your bag and kids and heading to the mall for Christmas shopping on a last minute call. Even if a powerful shopping muse has hit you, it may not be the best time for your little ones. They may be cranky, sleepy, hungry, or in the middle of something much more fun and its disturbance might open Pandora’s box and end in tears.
Christmas shopping is a usually a lengthy process and may require a bit more time than a few minutes in one or two stores. For the purpose of getting through the journey successfully and with happy kids, plan in advance for the following:
- Food: Are the kids fed? How often do they take their meals and when are they likely to be hungry again? Prepare a snack that is suitable for their age, just in case they surprise you with a sudden spur of hunger!
- Water: Taking a bottle of water is an absolute must as you may find it difficult to get to a place where you can find mineral water because of crowded places, traffic, or other factors.
- Clothing: It’s worth thinking in advance and preparing a change of clothing for the kids while doing your Xmas shopping. Imagine that the temperature is somewhere close to the minimum and it’s a freezing winter day outside! However, chances are that the temperature inside the shopping mall will be very different! Make sure your children feel comfortable in their clothing.
- Comfortable shoes: Help your kids enjoy Christmas shopping with you by putting on their favorite shoes, which they feel comfortable and happy in!
Share the Plan with the Kids
Let your little ones know what they are about the experience and share with them how fun Christmas shopping is! If they are at an age where verbal communication is possible, tell them who you are Christmas shopping for and even ask for ideas to make them feel involved in the process. This will keep them interested in the process and is likely to keep their attention lifespan active for longer.
Share your expectations with the kids from the shopping experience. Remind them of the “basic rules’ of shopping such as:
- No running in the shopping mall
- Staying by your side at all times
- No screaming or shouting
You may have your own set of ground rules and it’s important to remind your children of them before leaving for the shopping endeavor. Of course, try to share your thoughts in the best possible way and avoid sounding too strict or dominant as this may cause an opposite effect.
Tip: To make things more fun, create a Christmas shopping game and offer prizes or gifts if all requirements were met while shopping.
Toys Are Your Best Friend
Just like in the house, one of the best ways to keep your kids’ attention focused is on toys. Now, it’s worth mentioning that not every toy will work the magic as it needs to be an appropriate size, which allows you to carry it around. The toy should also be one that stimulates and emotional and highly engaging behavior from the little one in order to ensure that they will spend more time focusing on the toy.
For instance, if your child is a fan of the Minions, something as little as a mini Minion keychain with light functions can help the child enjoy their time in the mall while you do the Christmas shopping. This is just an idea but you get the point – try to make their experience as fun as possible as this will also be of great benefit to you as a parent with a shopping mission!
Segment Your Shopping
Depending on how long your Christmas shopping list may be, you might want to segment down the experience in several days, rather than buying all gifts at once. Imagine that you have 10 gifts that you are searching for. Chances are that the amount of time that will be necessary to choose the perfect 10 gifts, with the perfect wrapping, and the perfect price will be longer than your children will have the patience for.
For that purpose, make a list and choose a few shopping days that will be convenient. This way the shopping journey is likely to last an hour or two and your kids are likely to be happier with the shopping activity.
If your schedule is tight and there is no option of going to the shopping mall two or three times before Christmas, then gift shopping can be done in shorter intervals. For instance, arrange gift browsing for two hours and then stop for a lunch break with the children or a snacks pause. After the refreshment, shop for another hour or two, depending on how the kids are feeling. If there is potential for more shopping, take them to a children’s playing area in the mall or show them something that they will consider fun in the center.
Be Prepared At All Times
Unexpected situations could arise every minute with the little ones and you are probably already familiar with this possibility if you are a parent. We have no control over the reactions of our children, especially when they are at a younger age or toddlers. In such cases, regardless of the preparations and careful research that you have done to prevent your Christmas shopping from being ruined, there is no guarantee that things will go as smooth as we imagine them to be!
To stay on top of the game and have things in control, always have a backup plan. For instance, be ready to leave at all times. Sometimes it is better to let go instead of pushing things to the edge. So if your child is evidently about to have a breakdown as they have been unhappy, sleepy, or hungry for a certain amount of time while shopping, it is better to leave the shopping mall and postpone the Xmas gift search for another day.
You could also try to arrange for someone to come and pick the kids up from the shopping mall if things really get out of hand and you must stay as there will be no other way of you finishing your Christmas shopping. This could be another parent, friend, who your little ones feel comfortable and safe around, or a babysitter. The key is to make all the necessary arrangements in advance to avoid feeling embarrassed and extremely stressed.
Reward the Little Ones at the End
To finish the shopping journey in a positive way, take the kids for a special treat. If the little ones are still toddlers, you can prepare something healthy and fresh at home but still sit down at an attractive and yummy-looking sweetshop and ask the employees to give the treat to the child as if they have prepared it themselves. This will certainly make the little one feel special and happy and will certainly forget any possible negative emotions from the shopping.
Ending the Christmas shopping with a happy note will open the door for next year’s Xmas shopping as now your kids will have a nice and sweet memory from their experience!
Christmas shopping is a ton of fun and should certainly not be ruined by having to do it with the kids! It can be turned into a fun and enjoyable activity, during which you spend quality time with the little ones while completing your tasks. We hope that this list of suggestions on preparing for this year’s Christmas shopping with the kids will help you remove any barriers or threats to the experience! Enjoy this heartwarming time of year and share it with your loved ones!
And if you’re still searching for some great Christmas gifts here is a little list that you might like: