Christmas shopping (mom) confessions 

I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. I like it better than my own birthday, mostly because my husband and kids forget my birthday almost every year because none of them have Facebook. My first name is Joy and there is always things that have my name on them this time of year, which I love. There is an excuse to not do any yard work and to wear three layers to hide everything you don’t wanna show off. Am I right?!

Christmas shopping though….

My number one pet peeve this time of year is listening to people who do not live payday to payday complain about Christmas shopping. It’s obnoxious to the millionth degree. If I were financially able…oh my gravy y’all. My friends would love the holidays with me. I’m not even kidding. I don’t have many people I consider close friends but if I’m ever blessed enough to pay off someone’s layaway or car or to leave an anonymous five hundred dollars here or there you’d best believe that would be happening. This year I blocked a girl and her husband for…well, let’s just say if you have more money than you know what to do with and you haven’t had a job in ten years or more and all you do is brag about how much you have and how you couldn’t possibly part with that money to help anyone out, not even your own family……Sigh…..

Anyway. Enough negativity. Our first Christmas shopping experience of the year was yesterday. My husband had the day off work and we wanted to go to a bigger shopping area that is two hours away but we had no one to keep our youngest child who is five. We also had to get the older two from school in the afternoon and had no one to do that either. So we opted to take her with us and only go an hour away to a shopping center. If you don’t live in eastern KY and your thinking, “why on earth would they drive that far to shop?” It’s because we live that far from what most people consider civilization. Our nearest target, Starbucks, and old navy are two hours away. We do have a Walmart, not a super center though, and a food city. We like to get all of our shopping done before our older two are out of school for the year and it’s very difficult to get away from our five year old which means we couldn’t shop for her at all.

Children complicate things.

We go to a local restaurant for breakfast.  Story, the five year old, had to pee five times during that meal and the toilets in that particular bathroom are higher than what she can climb onto herself so I have to lift her onto them. I have no idea why you wouldn’t be reading my blog by now (I’m so quirky) but if you’re not reading it you missed the part where I had major surgery in September and where I’ve had some complications and lifting her is probably the worst idea in the world. It’s right up there with using your private parts as baracuda bait. My food was cold by the time I got to eat.

We travel. Story is becoming increasing obsessed with the trolls soundtrack. Head nod to Justin Timberlake for making that movie one I could tolerate and didn’t fall asleep in the theatre more than once while watching. We have to hear the soundtrack on repeat all the way there. I kinda don’t mind that part except that it’s been over 24 hours at this point and that one song is still stuck in my head. You know the one. Dance, dance, dance, dance!  Upon arrival Story announces her intentions to get a toy and chicken nuggets, in that order.

We enter Marshals. I love this type of store. They have an array of things you never find anywhere else. Things are typiçally cheaper. They play Christmas music. The bathrooms are cleanish. We poke around for a bit and then Story sees these plush animals. She reaches for one and I realize these stuffed animals are Knuffle bunnies. Looking back on yesterday I should’ve simply placed them in the cart and not allowed her to touch them and claimed they were for other kids or something. Instead I was in shock that we’d found them and I said, “Story, these are Knuffle bunnies!”

So, backstory, she has a stuffed animal name Knuffle bunny. Once again – see past blog posts for reference. Knuffle bunny is special and we have searched for years for back up Knuffle bunnies just in case Knuffle gets into a predicament. Which did happen this summer and although I made everything ok it was a major catastrophe. Knuffle is her lovey and it’s kind of a big deal.

From the instant I spoke the words “Knuffle bunnies” it was over. Story’s squeal of sheer delight was heard throughout the store. She began jumping up and down and hugging each separate stuffed animal within reach. I saw my husband (who was two isles away trying to pick out shoes* for our older two kids) jerk his head up in terror thinking Story had been injured by some terrible shopping accident. She was allotted two Knuffles of her choosing. Leaving the other thirty or so behind was agonizing for her. Considering that our entire Christmas budget would’ve been nothing but Knuffles it had to be done.

*Side note- my older two are 12 and 13. Why do they always need new shoes? The only time they don’t need new shoes is when we are leaving the shoe store and they still need new dress shoes. It’s like the shoes shrink and get filthy by themselves in an hour. I cannot wrap my mind around it. Right now it’s cold and rainy and my middle child wants to wear flip flops and I made her put the sneakers on we bought when school stated and they don’t fit! Thank God I can wear them but I’m internally screaming that her feet are already bigger than mine. I’m really upset she wouldn’t just buy the color and style I liked in August when I saw this coming.  I could spend our entire budget on just their shoes. The issue is neither of them consider shoes a real gift. From now on probably until I die I’ll be using any funds for Christmas that gets passed my way to buy shoes for one child or another. Inside my head I’m telling myself to be grateful they can walk and be grateful that maybe I’l have money for shoes.

By the end of shopping stop number one Story has declared that she is starving and opened both Knuffles and they need to be carried around. Did I mention that they are full of flax seed and lavender? Which makes them very heavy? She thinks she can manage them both though and we continue.

Hobby Lobby. My older children love Hobby Lobby. My son loves pipe cleaners and those fancy kits that make things like Star Wars ships and Devinci replicas and huge messes all over my dining room table. My middle child loves coloring books and copix markers that cost more than my own shoes. My little one hates everything in the whole place and wants to leave immediately. She did see a Frozen fake plastic cell phone there over a year ago though and gets very upset that those phone toys aren’t there now. She likes doing this tug move on my arms in whatever direction I’m not moving in. Also, the Knuffles are too heavy for Story and I foolishly didn’t get a cart so I’m carrying two sacks of flax seed and three jackets and my bag. When we leave my shoulders are throbbing, my patience is thin and I’m in desperate need of coffee and essential oil.

Walmart. May the force be with you if you are in Walmart from this point until February. Why are people so rude? Story did ride in the cart and at one point my husband slips off to sneak a gift in for Story as she yelled, “Daddy, where are you going? DADDY DONT LEAVE ME!” and strangers gave me the stink eye because obviously I’m a kidnapper.  Still lacking a thousand gifts but after thirty minutes Story’s need for chicken nuggets and my desire for coffee was getting to the point that we couldn’t tolerate ourselves.

The truth is online shopping is equally as stressful to me. I despise not knowing the right gift will be sent by the right time. I worry the kids will open it when it comes. I worry until the object is wrapped and hidden under the tree and then I worry about it not being right and how hard it is to return. At least no one makes me carry five pounds of flax seed filled sacks of stuffed animal while tugging my arm and asking for chicken nuggets and telling people that she’s “starving” and that I “never feed her” with online shopping.

I wrote this piece yesterday after shopping and edited tonight. Last night and today the sound of sweet Story’s voice gave me an eye twitch. I think it’s time for a day apart.

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