There are very few circumstances under which I like shopping.

First, there must be no children (Ha!)

Second, I must have time. (Ha! Ha!)

Third, I must not be looking for anything specific or the item will not appear. If I am looking for a Christmas dress, or the perfect pair of jeans, or a specific color of t-shirt I will never, never, ever, ever find it. Until a month later when I don’t need it. That is Murphy’s Law of shopping.

Fourth, What I buy must be on sale. I’ve worked retail and I know all about the mark up margins; paying regular price pains me deeply in my stingy bones.

So can you see why the whole idea of Christmas shopping gives me angst?

However, I must persevere or I will disappoint a whole bunch of people, including my kiddos. This year I have instigated a few coping strategies:

• I will endeavor to limit my list of recipients to just kids (because shopping for toys is waaay more fun than trying to figure out what my brother wants, what size my mother wears or if my father- in-law really needs a new Duck Dynasty DVD…)
• I will work with the parents of said children to set a mutually agreed upon budget (To appease my cheap soul)
• I will start early (which to me is before December 1)
• I will embrace online shopping (So I won’t have to go to 5 different locations looking for the one toy my daughter really wants like I did last year)
• I will also embrace online wish lists

Online wish lists are absolute gold! Does this scenario sound familiar?

Kids are watching TV and see a commercial for a toy.
Kids immediately start begging for it.
Parent says “Maybe for Christmas”
Parent immediately forgets all about it and so do children.

Right?! Then it’s time to go shopping and I have no clue they want. My children are maddening because when I ask them what they want, they have no idea. So I set them up with the Mattel wishlist and had them play around looking for toys they’d love. They get to focus on ALL THE TOYS and I get ideas! Lots of ideas! And best of all, there is a description of the item, the age appropriateness and a list of exactly which stores you can visit to find their fave toys, like this gorgeous Barbie Dreamhouse.

mattel wishlist barbie dreamhouse

And you know what? So far this is actually working for me! I was able to cross four names off the list last week when I went power Christmas shopping. So with only five children left to buy for I am sooo ahead of the game this year! I feel significantly less Scroogey about the whole thing!

“Disclosure: I am part of the Mattel Holiday Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”