Note to self: Do not go Christmas shopping a week before Christmas.
Or at least go alone, no kids in tow.
I had to run to Barnes and Noble today to return a Christmas gift and get something else. I was greeted by a crowded store and long check-out line.
I am glad I had the foresight to call the day before to ask about the new item and to get it put on hold. I knew I'd have the girls with me. And I knew the item I wanted to get was in the Children's Section, right behind the train table.
I so did not want to have to battle with M about leaving the train table/store, which is why I called about the book and, praise God, was told that hold items are at the front of the store, at the check-outs!
So we pulled into the parking lot, which was jammed packed! My heart dropped at the thought of walking in there with the girls. But I prayed that it would be a quick trip.
The check-out line was down the center aisle!
So I took a deep breath and we hopped in line. Immediately, M spotted a Dora book two rows down and wanted to get it. I thought, here we go. How can I keep her in line with me?
I briefly thought about getting her stroller but 1) the check-out line is kinda narrow and surrounded, SURROUNDED, by all sorts of displays and stuff! And 2) I could picture M having a fit at being in her stroller, while being surrounded by all that stuff. I could just here "Mommy! Out! Mommy! Mommy! Out, Mommy!"
So, for the sake of trying to get this task done and over with, I decided we'd brave the line stroller-less.
I felt like I needed 10 hands in that line, which, thankfully moved at a steady pace. M grabbed at books, a box of greeting cards and other items. The lady behind us was very understanding. The guy in front of us was understanding too, as he told me "She reminds me of my 2 year old."
Eventually M settled on holding two small stuffed bears that are meant to hold gift cards. And she grabbed a board book while I did my transaction, which I had to do while trying to keep her between me and the check-out counter so she wouldn't walk away.
I worried that we'd have a battle over returning the items she claimed but, thank God, she was OK with it and we were able to get out of the store.
One day I'd like to go into a store where there are no items at the check-out line that kids can grab at. I would be a loyal customer to that store. Yes, when we go to Wally World or such places, S has looked and played with the toys and stuff in the check-out line. But I can see where parents could have a peaceful and easy check-out experience if those items are not there at all. Surround the check-out line with tall plastic walls where small items are not tempting little hands and fueling tantrums.
I guess too I should know better to go to stores this time of year with kids in tow. I've been shopping the last couple weeks and things have not been THIS crowded/crazy at all. The reason for the chaos could be that there is a week left before Christmas. Or it could be that people are worried that with the snow storm predicted for tomorrow and the weekend they might not get to finish their shopping.
All I know is this time next year we better be done completely with shopping. No more procrastinating or waiting to get wish lists. Just get the shopping done and over with as soon as possible. Because, really, Christmas should not be about stressing over shopping and crowds. It should be about reflecting on the birth of Christ and keeping our eyes fixed on the true meaning of Christmas.
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