While I was being all Single Working Parent last week I decided consciously not to panic about Christmas. I usually do my shopping in November, so I can relax into the holiday season and focus on baking instead, but then I was thinking to myself such comforting things as there will be plenty of time in December and sometimes they change their minds and you have to return stuff anyway and there’s not that much shopping to do this year after all.
And then I went to the big box store shopping area near me last Saturday morning, and HOLY JESUS, THAT is why I do my shopping in November. What has come over the world? I was not aware that many people lived in CANADA, let alone within range of the Canadian Tire in western Ottawa.
I would like here to say that I am Above It All, and condemn the shoppers and the shopping, but the truth is I care, and care deeply, about getting my kids just the perfect thing for Christmas. I am commercialism. I own it. No one is getting any gift certificates for hugs or handmade sweaters over here. I MUST BUY THEM THINGS.
So this week I decided I better swing into high gear, and I got my lists together, and cleared it all with Sir Monkeypants, which means the gate has dropped and I’m off to the races. Yesterday I started at the Target, which had a particular LEGO set that the Captain wanted, on sale.
Here, an aside: we have a lot of LEGO. We have, quite possibly, ALL THE LEGO. So it was kind of painful to think about getting yet another LEGO set to add to the dozen bins of it we already own. But then I was thinking: we are very, very close to being out of toy range for the older two. Already when the Toys R Us flyer arrives, it’s full of dolls and action figures and tiny sports play sets that they have outgrown. This could be our very last year to get him an actual toy, and have him want it, and have him feel the thrill of opening something Christmas morning that isn’t just a gift card and being excited about that, so I decided to go for it.
And, an aside to the aside: when did you, if ever, move from thing/toy gifts to gift cards and cash? For our older nieces and nephews, we moved to gift cards around age 13, and then straight up cash around age 15. For our one niece I found I could still shop for some “thing” – makeup, purses, jewelry, or clothes – but for the boys in particular once they were out of the sports jersey stage I found them impossible to shop for, so it was video game gift cards for a few years before we went cash. You?
So! I went to Target to get this LEGO set, and they were ALL OUT. So then I went to the Toys R Us, and they were ALL OUT. Then I started to panic, and I ran to the WalMart and got the VERY LAST ONE (which they nicely price matched to the Target sale price). And again, I hate to admit it, but if I had been completely unable to get said LEGO set I would NOT have been all, “Oh, there are tons of other sets, I’ll just get one of those instead,” but rather, “CHRISTMAS IS RUINED.”
I had a very similar experience just today with a Barbie thing that the Little Miss wants, which they did not have at any of the first three stores I went to, and then I found ONE at the fourth store I went to, which I happily paid full price for and felt immense relief at scoring the exact thing my kid wants for Christmas morning. Because I AM COMMERCIALISM.
All this is to say that I have found new reason to shop early, and this is like a little note to my crass self that shopping in November is worth it for many reasons. Ready, set, go!