The festive music is playing. The decorations are bright and twinkling. The shops are falling over themselves to entice us with their festive fayre and the television adverts are cramming a many toys in to three minutes as they possibly can.
It’s Christmas people.
Unless you are one of those smugly organised people who does all of your Christmas shopping in the January sales, you might be starting to think about doing some seasonal shopping. Online shopping is so easy and stress free. One hour. One computer or tablet and a few clicks and Christmas arrives painlessly at the door. Simple. Yet, I still like to go shopping for a few things, there is something special about browsing around the shops and picking up some exciting extras. Soaking up the atmosphere, taking your time to browse; things that you certainly won’t get sat in front of a computer screen.
So my mum and I make an annual Christmas shopping trip. It is a nice chance for us to spend some ‘girly’ time together and we enjoy it. My mother is a bit of a hardcore shopaholic but this doesn’t deter me.
This year’s trip was all planned and then a small four year old spanner was thrown into the works in the shape of my daughter. My husband and the boys were invited to a rugby match and so we either had to cancel the trip or take A with us. Now, A does love shopping but it has to be on her terms; the shops she likes, looking at things she wants, with the occasional treat to keep her going. Oh and food every half an hour as she gets “so hungry.”
I knew that cancelling would be so upsetting for my mum, that I would be very sorry for many months to come. A shopping trip for three it was then.
A was well up for the day and I had high expectations. As we arrived at the shopping centre, my husband rang me to tell me that one of the boys was playing up. As I was over a hundred miles away, there was not an awful lot I could do about it. He then proceeded to ring me about ten times. My mother was looking at curtains in John Lewis which meant that A was bored and kept disappearing behind said curtains which she thought was hilarious and I was trying to advise my husband how to deal with his children and keep tabs on both my mother and A all at the same time. It did not bode well.
There was the inevitable “I’m bored” comments every now and then. A and I had lots of discussions about how many people there were and how she couldn’t just run off when she felt like it. A’s Christmas list has grown to an all time length (why are there so many lovely things to buy for girls?) and we had to keep stopping to ply madam with food and drink (and my mum with coffee). There was a little bit of time for shopping in between.
We just about survived the shopping trip and my mum bought lots of lovely things and was happy that she had achieved the things on her list. Me? Well let’s just say, my list didn’t quite go to plan.
On my list; a very belated birthday present for a good friend and a card to go with it.
I bought; a large glass dome containing a festive scene which lights up and snows (yes actual proper snow apparently). We only saw it in the window and when we got it home, I discovered that it also plays music. Great joy. This purchase was to appease my daughter who was starting to tire of my ‘we will put it on the Christmas list’ response to everything she ‘needed’.
On my list; Christmas cards
I bought: some rather nice looking paper honeycomb tree table decorations. These cannot be used as Christmas cards but will look very pretty on the table until one of the children spills their drink all over it.
On my list: sensible presents for the teen as he is going to New Zealand after Christmas
I bought: a really nice container in the shape of a LEGO brick. He has always loved LEGO and even though he is a bit old to keep LEGO in this container now, I figured it would be a good fun present. Not very useful for travelling to New Zealand though, won’t exactly fit in the rucksack.
On my list; absolutely nothing for A. It is her birthday before Christmas and there is no need to buy her anything.
I bought: Build a Bear Workshop Elsa Bear plus accessories. Yes I know what you’re thinking. But, I have been promising to take her to one for ages but didn’t really want to go with the boys as it is not cheap and I would feel compelled to let them have one too even though they are too old. Also, there isn’t a Build a Bear near us so this seemed like the perfect opportunity as not many people would be buying Build a Bear this time of year will they?
Long queue. Stroppy parent who falsely claimed that I had pushed in front of her and then made comments behind me. A very excited A who kept bouncing on my toes. Thinking that having a button in the bear’s paw that played ‘Let it go’ was a lovely idea and soon realising that it was not. A and I had a long discussion about whether or not we had to spend actual money buying an Elsa wig for the bear, I said it looked horrible but she insisted that it would not be Elsa without the wig.
She loves her bear. I am a lot poorer and if I hear Let it go one more time, I might have to chop Elsa’s paw off.
On my list: Christmas jumpers for the children (husband’s idea)
I bought: a lovely pair of pyjamas for me and some socks. Boring I know, but having looked at all of the festive jumpers and deciding whole-heartedly that they were a complete waste of money, I spotted a lovely pair of pj’s. That was a good decision. They can all have Christmas jumpers next year.
On my list: presents for teachers
I bought: A rather nice notebook for myself. This seemingly selfish purchase did originate from the original quest. I decided that notebooks for teacher would be nice but saw a gorgeous notebook in Paperchase and the distraction was just too much.
On my list: presents for the boys
I bought: not one single present. The whole Build a Bear experience left me feeling worn out and so we went home. A was beyond happy and my mum had bought everything she needed.
I will be doing my Christmas shopping online this year.