Christmas Shopping with your kids

Christmas shopping is always a memorable experience, I used to go solely by myself, engrossed in the mash of humanity, panic, greed, and disdain. (that’s just dealing with the holiday sales people). But life is not lived unless you grow as a person, giving of yourself to others, sharing traditions like some would share a sandwich or a cold.
I am now Christmas shopping with my kids! It sounds like a great idea, Christmas lists in hand we all load up in the truck and head off to retail land, stopping and lavishing ourselves with a mocha or hot chocolate to get us in the mood. Our heads will soon be swimming in a sea of holiday spirit as Christmas music floods the confines of our vehicle en-route to the retail orgy! Singing, smiling, laughing, guessing who is going to get what for Christmas, it all has the harmonious ring of perfection.
And yet….
When arriving at a retail shopping hub (the mall) one must first learn the art of distraction, for it takes the cunning of a Survivor contestant to not only locate but manipulate their surroundings to acquire a parking spot before another shopping contestant does, there bye forcing you to be voted off the isle!
Soon we were kicked to redemption island parking facility, after several jarring and stealthy attempts we made it back around and found a spot on the backside of the East entrance, just West of one store, South of another that we planned to visit and of course North of the trolley that would drop us no where near where we really needed to be.
Entering the Mega structure, we planned our attack, first shop for mom, then for the grandparents, ending with being split into teams of two that would alternate upon completion of each mission. All this is happening while I am shuttling gifts under cover to the car so no one can see or guess what the other purchased.
None of this happened. Not one person could agree on anything. The budget I had set for them was in danger of being busted on just mom alone! Apparently the corporate machine that is the retail system had infiltrated my little angels and warped their already deranged minds. You see unless it cost a fortune or was recommended by Jared my kids would turn their noses at it! Are you kidding me, we live a modest lifestyle, a majority of our everyday clothes come from thrift shopping, we drive well used cars, nothing in our family wreaks of this materialistic coma my shopping zombies are in! After an hour of arguing and feeling my Christmas buzz burn off I made an executive decision. Without haste I loaded up the 4 elves into my red sleigh. I willingly gave up my hard fought position in the parking lot, and drove to the other side of town. My children were in shock! Dad had cancelled Christmas, or so it seemed. How could he do this to us, was the longing look on their faces.
I pulled into the parking lot and found a space right away. We walked in the door and Christmas music was playing, there were no lines, and people seemed happy. We split into two groups, no hiding here, the cap was set at $10 dollars a piece. They grumbled at first but within a few minutes I could hear the teams giggling and laughing as they worked their way through the massive isles of Chinese crap! You see it wasn’t just any store, it wasn’t a retail giant or box store selling items in quantities no one really needs. Oh no, our Christmas shopping may have started in snobby, I’m better than you retail Hell! But it finished at the 99 cent store. My kids were happy, their presents represented what they felt about each other and at the end of the day they were relishing in the fact that not one of them spent that ten dollar limit, but came home with a boatload of stuff. Sure it’s cheap crap! Sure I caught one of them bragging they bought 14 things for 8 bucks. But at the end of the day, when Christmas is over and family has gone home. How much of that over priced stuff gets returned? How much is re-gifted? This way everyone is a winner, everyone is happy and really it’s hard not to learn the value of a dollar at the .99 cent store…..

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