Holiday Shopping Survival Tips

By Ellen Percival, Calgary’s Child Magazine

Holiday shopping is hectic at the best of times, but add a couple of unenthusiastic kids to
the mix and you’ve got the potential for one huge headache. With a little patience (and planning ahead) shopping for the holidays can be a little less frenzied.

  • Make a shopping list, plan your budget and set an itinerary of which stores you want to visit before you go – and stick to it!
  • Set a reasonable length of time for your shopping trip and try to schedule during your
    child’s best part of the day. You’ll find the mall less crowded if you shop during the non-peak hours which are earlier or later in the day – if your child is an early bird or a night owl, use this to your advantage.
  • Be sure to go over expectations of behavior before you leave and reinforce that this trip is about picking up presents for others, not for buying things for ourselves.
  • Involve your kids and let them help plan part of the shopping trip. Would they like to stop in a favorite store or stop at a play place? Set a time limit.
  • Letting them shop for a special gift for a family member will help them feel involved.
    The dollar store works well for this.
  •  Don’t forget to plan regular breaks during the shopping trip, pack along a special snack or make a plan to stop for lunch.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Try to make the trip enjoyable – after all, this is what the holiday season is really all about! Visit Santa and enjoy all the special Christmas activities throughout the mall you are shopping at.
  • Recruit help. If your spouse or a friend is available, you’ll find it easier to “divide and conquer” or keep your kids on track with help. If you know bringing your child shopping is a bad idea, consider securing babysitting for an hour or two.
  • Stock up on gift cards for those hard-to-buy-for people in your life! You don’t have to get the world’s most creative and thoughtful gift every year and often it’s the thought that counts.
  • Have your gifts wrapped for you – many malls offer this service, some with proceeds going to a charitable cause.
  • Consider shopping online! You may pay extra for rush shipping, but sometimes it’s worth it to avoid repeat visits to the mall through December!

Remember to keep a positive attitude and approach the excursion as a special date and
not an ordeal. Looking at the trip from their perspective and planning for their needs will
help you all get through the outing a little less frenzied.

Ellen is the publisher of Calgary’s Child Magazine.