Christmas shopping is tough when you have little kids. You can't buy stuff for them when they are with you as that would ruin the surprise - obviously. You can't buy a lot for other people as they can necessarily be trusted to keep secrets. But as a Mom it can be tough to get away to shop.
Online shopping is a godsend of course, and I did buy quite a bit online this year. Still, I like to browse and find those surprise gifts that the kids didn't know they wanted but end up loving. I hate browsing online.
My daughters are in school full days but Little Man is only at school three mornings a week, and while I manage to pack a lot in to the 2 1/2 hours I'm without him on those days, there is a limit to how far I can go.
So for the past three years, I've picked a random night when I go to Schaumburg and get as much as I can. Anyone from Chicago knows that Schaumburg is the home to our largest mall and every other major retailer you can think of.
Before I go, I call the various stores I need to go to to find out their hours and chart my course based on earliest closing times. I make a list of stores and items I'm looking for, kiss the kids goodbye, grab a Coke to keep me going and head out.
While I usually like to go earlier, this year I had to wait until tonight to go. Usually I go midweek as it's less crowded but even for the Friday before Christmas it wasn't that bad. Long lines in some stores but not the ones I needed.
I made it home just after midnight and while there are a couple of things on my list I'd like to get but couldn't find, I am basically done. If I have time this weekend I may check around for the last few items but the fact is our kids will have a very happy Christmas with what they get - most, but not all the wishes from their lists and a couple of surprises.
Now I am sitting by my tree in a quiet house with a quick glass of wine to counteract my 9pm Coke, before heading off to bed. Tomorrow I need to start wrapping.