14 Things Parents Should Know When Christmas Shopping

December 17, 2014  |  
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Let me take you back to my daughter’s past Christmases.  They ranged from us being so broke that my then-husband and myself  couldn’t afford to get her a single thing for Christmas, to me as a single mother only being able to buy her about 8 things from the dollar store.

But THIS year, I was actually able to get her real gifts!

Now as Christmas is approaching, I wanted to share a few things that I learned and realized (and things that my parents shared with me) about Christmas shopping as a parent.  Feel free to add whatever I forgot to at the end, and let’s support each other in this endeavor, parents!  We can make it!


Don’t Go Broke

I know that this sounds very elementary, but trust me, there are too many parents that will make it rain in toy stores and hold off on paying important bills.  Resist the strong urge to overcompensate during this holiday!


Your Kids Are Going to Want Everything

My daughter is currently calling everything she wants hers, so whenever there’s a new toy commercial she’s like:  “Kayleigh’s Stretchkins,” or “Kayleigh’s Beados,” or “Kayleigh’s Nissan Altima.”  Dear God, she actually told me she wanted a car!



You’re Gonna Want to Get Them Everything

Like her, I wanted to get her as many of those things as possible.  Granted the car and the Beados have to wait, but I couldn’t deny that I had the desire to buy her all of these things.

You don’t have to get them everything, just a few items from their list.  Let them meet the sweet feeling of disappointment to help round them out as adults.  Think about it, you didn’t get everything you wanted for Christmas and you’re okay, right?


Prices Change Almost Every Day

Christmas shopping is like playing Bingo.  As much as you might try to get the best prices, and do research, they are going to change each day during this time.

Make sure you bring your smart phone or tablet because the prices online is sometime better than the ones in the store and the good stores will price match!


Capitalism is Alive and Well

Talking about price matching, these stores are banking on the fact that you’re a helpless parent, being led by your child’s greed and they are taking advantage of it!

Well you know what?  Take advantage of them, price match those clowns!


There’s an Upside to Taking Your Child Shopping With You

Now hear me out, one of the best things I did was take my daughter shopping with me this year.  There were things that I thought she really wanted, but when we were face to face with them she realized that she didn’t really like them.

It was a great thing because I was able to save some money buying things that she would have just left on the floor anyway.


There’s a Definite Downside too

On the other hand, when she found things that she really liked and we had to leave them in the store (to purchase for another day.  I mean, Momma’s not made out of money, ya know?), she threw one of the biggest fits ever.


Avoid the Need to Compete

Parenting is one of the most competitive fields in the world that it should be an Olympic activity.  Each parent wants to feel as though their child is amazing and that they are at the top of their parenting game in comparison to other parents.

Christmas only exacerbates that problem, because parents are watching other parents get their kids all of these expensive toys, and you don’t want to fail to deliver.

But stick to your list, because you don’t want to walk in to get a kid’s oven, and walk out with a Barbie Jeep (didn’t you listen to your child?!  She wants a Nissan Altima!  Goodness!), especially if the only reason why you’re buying it is because you saw another parent doing it.


What You Get Them Doesn’t Reflect Who You Are

Can I tell you how horrible I felt the previous Christmases?  When we couldn’t get her anything I didn’t think that I could feel lower.  Ironically, when I actually had money to get her very few things it made me feel worse.  It turns out that you can’t buy pride at “Family Dollar.”

The important thing to remember is that Christmas is only one day of the year, and yes, you want to be able to get your child things.  However, you have to measure your time with your child all through out the year to dictate what type of parent you are.

There are great parents who can hardly afford to get their children things (or those who just don’t because they don’t agree with the materialism of Christmas), and there are parents who are horrible who think that getting their children everything they ever wanted can make up for a year of neglect.

Remember, as a parent, you are more than what your child unwraps under the tree.


Sometimes the Cheaper the Gift, the Better the Memory

When I went Christmas shopping at “Family Dollar” last year I got my daughter a teddy bear from there.  Because of his complexion we named him “Chocolate Bear,” and I got her a few more things.

“Chocolate Bear” was by far the cheapest thing I took home that night, but it’s one of her favorites to this day.  Chocolate Bear sleeps with her (right next to Spongebob, of course), and she still clutches him and hops over to me whenever she’s excited about something.

The other things that were more than a dollar are now broken, or sitting at the bottom of her toy chest.


Don’t Get Emotionally Attached

Both of my parents told me that for many years Christmas was a horrible time for them.  With four little girls they stressed themselves out trying to get as many things on our lists.  While we looked forward to everything that came along with Christmas, they were stressed and sometimes depressed if we didn’t like what they got us, or played with it.

Don’t get to the point that you’re emotionally attached to the gifts and how your children react to them.


Have Fun

Christmas isn’t just for getting your kids’ gifts, make sure you do what you can to enjoy the holiday yourself.

Try to have as much fun as you can either during shopping, wrapping, or even buying yourself something.  You’re worth it too!


Chances Are They’ll have more Fun with the Boxes and Wrapping Paper…

I feel so sad when I think about all the fun my sisters and cat had with the boxes our parents got us gifts in.

That is something that’s typical for children, probably because a toy has an exact purpose and way to play with it.  However, a box is creatively limitless.  It’s sad, but it’s true.

*Note to self, get big box for Kayleigh!


Remember that it’s More About the Memories

At the end of the day remember that the holidays are all about joining together.  When I think back to my favorite Christmases, I don’t necessarily think about the toys I got, but I think about the funny and embarrassing things that happened through out that holiday season.

So will your children when they get older.  Yeah, a few gifts are going to stick out, but ultimately they’re going to remember the time they spent with you.  Make those memories the ultimate gift, and give yourself a break Mom and/or Dad!

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