Okay, we put into place our plan to let the kids shop for each other this year. We had no idea how this would look in reality. Usually this kind of thing goes horribly wrong for us with lots of crying, fit throwing, and vowing to never do such a thing again. After weeks of looking at each at random times and asking, “So, how’re we going to do this?” and the other person staring blankly saying, “I don’t know.” We finally came up with a plan. One that we were sure could not possibly go as smoothly as it first appeared. In fact we kept checking our list to make sure we didn’t leave a kid out. Because it went too smoothly.
We got up early, ate something, and hit the ground running. We decided to split up and shop simultaneously. Matt dropped me, the 14 month old Baby boy, the 9 year old boy, and the 7 year old boy off at Toys-R-Us and he then drove right down the road to the nearest Target to shop with the 3 year old boy and the 5 year old girl. Matt and the 2 younger ones shopped for TheBaby, the 9 year old, and the 7 year old. My crew shopped for the 3 year old, the 5 year old, and TheBaby (this works this year because Baby doesn’t know, we’ll have to implement a different plan next year). By the time they had all shopped for 3 different people everyone was tired and hungry.
We went to Chik-fil-a to let them run around and get some energy out while eating to get that shopping energy back up. While there for the first time we thought to ask about their party trays. Y’all, this is noteworthy. At our local Chik-fil-a we walked in and ordered a small tray of 64 nuggets for 22.00. We got the dipping sauce of our choice and then ordered a couple of drinks to share for an extra fee. $22 for enough nuggets to feed our entire family? Wow.
We were fed, exercised, pottied, and ready for the next round.
This time, just to mix things up we drove to a different Toys-R-Us and Target. Matt got one of the same children again and I got 2 of the same children again. Matt had the 7 year old boy and the 3 year old boy. I got the 9 year old boy, the 5 year old girl, and the Baby. This time the kids only had to shop for one child. The one child they were with last time. So, just to thoroughly confuse you, Matt (at Toys-R-Us this time) and the 9 year old boy shopped for the 7 year old boy and the 3 year old boy shopped for the 5 year old girl. My crew at Target this time: the 5 year old girl shopped for the 3 year old boy and the 9 year old boy shopped for the 7 year old boy. It was just a switcheroo. Since we were only getting 2 gifts this time around it went much quicker, which we needed since naptime was closing in on us.
We took blankets and covered everything in the back of the van so the kids couldn’t see each other’s gifts through the day.
We were through by 2pm. Naps on the way home.
We got home, sent the kids to hide in the back rooms while we hauled all the goods into our room and separated the gifts by who bought what. Then I called one child in at a time to wrap all their gifts for the others while Matt watched the other 4 kids in the rest of the house.
Don’t get me wrong, by this time Matt was getting sick, I was super tired and getting cranky, and the kids were tired of waiting for their turn. But we muddled through and now we’re done. Completely. The gifts are wrapped and hidden away in my room (with a 3 and 1 year old we can’t set them under the tree). The one gift we planned to buy each of them has morphed into a group gift that’s already bought (we just have to pick it up from the in-laws, wrap, and hide). And we have stockings to stuff this Saturday now that Matt is beginning to feel better and we’re praying no one else comes down with anything.
Also, here’s your other eating out epiphany I had. The day after that shopping trip I still had errands to run (alone since Matt was home sick). I didn’t feed the kids before leaving the house since that’s why we were leaving the house. So we stopped by Sonic (I’m not a fan of breakfast fast foods) and I drafted my list of what the kids wanted. Even this is finely tuned. Notebook paper, each kid’s name, then I list the choices of entrees and go kid by kid listing what they want, then I do the same for the sides, and onto the drink choices. One.by.one. I include mine on the paper just so I don’t get confused.
But here’s where the light bulb went off. As I reached to push the little red button I thought, “I wonder if it would be easier (and could I possibly hope?) more accurate if I handed over my list to them?” So, I told her up front I had 5 kids meals to order and that I had them written down neatly in detail, did she just want to place the order from the list or did she want me to read it off to her. She turned around and looked at me through the window, smiled, and said she’d be right there. She placed the order, then proceeded to call me on the speaker and repeat back what she was holding in her hand. When they delivered the meals they had only forgotten one toy. Amazing. A breakthrough, if you will.
So there you are in a mere 1000 words, how we shopped for Christmas and a 2fer1 eating-out-tips deal! I would love to know how you shop with lots of little people for Christmas. And would LOVE some more eating out tips. You can comment here or sign up with BlogFrog (click on the link in my sidebar), join my community, and add to the discussions over there!