Let’s face it, once you become a parent, holiday shopping no longer stirs up that magical feeling. It’s more like the Amazing Race: Holiday Edition with a timed mission to polish off as many items on your holiday list before said children break down into uncontrollable sobs and beg you to return home. Making the task evermore difficult is that the timer is set at arbitrary intervals – some days you may have two hours, some days, mere minutes.
With this in mind, I was determined to beat the odds this year and maximize my holiday shopping experience. I made a list, checked it twice, and came up with my six best survival tips to holiday shopping with kids:
Tip #1. Avoid the malls: The long lines, frenzied shoppers, and nightmare parking are enough to throw even the best-laid plans off course. Instead, I headed off to Willow Park Village, a one-stop shopping plaza featuring several unique storefronts, making it easy to find a little something for everyone on your list.
Tip #2. Plan ahead: Before leaving the house I checked out the Willow Park Village home page and mapped out my point of attack. I knew I wanted to start at Check-M8 Shoes, while my son still had his patience, and intersperse regular food breaks with Jones New York, Aldila, and Ella Bella.
My first stop at Check-M8 was a huge success. I was in shoe heaven as soon as I walked through the door. I set up my little guy on their comfy couches and went to work grabbing every black ankle boot in sight. The staff at Check-M8 were incredibly helpful, offering their suggestions and drawing my attention to several items I hadn’t immediately noticed.
I walked away this pair of sleek black boots perfectly suited for work or play.
Due to several storewide sales I also splurged on a pair of warm winter boots. With sales like these I couldn’t resist.
Tip #3. Caffeine: Before continuing my mission, it became apparent my little guy needed a little break and mommy needed some coffee. A quick stop at Starbucks to grab a latte and a kid’s hot chocolate did just the trick.
Tip #4. The iPhone is your friend: Next we were off to Jones New York. I was on the hunt for some work clothes due to a recent job change. Luckily there were several options to choose from and again great sales to boot! Unfortunately, my son was less than thrilled with my multiple trips to the change room. Enter – the iPhone. Those handy little apps are a lifesaver in a pinch. I handed over my phone without an ounce of guilt and tried on the rest of my finds in peace. I left with a lovely fitted dress. The petite sizes available fit like a glove!
Tip #5. Fuel Up: By now, it was time for lunch. My four year old loves sushi rolls and Sushi Ginza is located right in Willow Park Village. I hadn’t been before and was excited to give it a try. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Each booth has it’s own little cubby to crawl into. My son thought this was about the coolest thing he had seen all day. Added to which, we were seated right beside the koi pond. That alone kept him occupied until our food arrived.
The sashimi and sushi rolls were delicious. I devoured the spicy tuna and he scarfed down the California rolls. I also threw in a few pieces of individual sushi for good measure. I will definitely be back for a return visit in the future.
Tip #6. Review original list: With full bellies, we headed out on our final mission – to actually pick up some Christmas gifts for the people on our list!
With that in mind we headed to Aldila Boutique and discovered this lovely scarf for a close family member.
We also stopped by my old friend Ella Bella, which I used to frequent at least monthly for upscale maternity wear when I was pregnant. I loved visiting the familiar shop and immediately found the Original Sprouts products – the perfect stocking stuffer for sensitive babes like mine.
These swaddlers are also one of my favorite gifts for friends who are expecting.
Several hours later we packed it in, and surveyed the scene. While I still have a few items left on my list I was pleased that I found something in every store we visited. It was a truly perfect way to spend the day – and not even one meltdown to tell of from either of us! We did it.
The Good Enuf Mommy