Yesterday, Dave and I took the day off work to do our Christmas shopping. It's a tradition we started several years ago and it's worked out really well for us.
Aside from the challenge of finding time and sitters, both of us find the mall's weekend and evening crush to be overwhelming. Too many people, mostly anxious and in not great moods, all of them in a rush, rush, rush. By going on a weekday, things are quieter and we're able to accomplish a lot more.
This year we had a bit of a dilemma for Nathan. He requested one of the "additional toy required" video games. The game itself looked like a lot of fun and had some great nerd-esque tie ins but the problem is that it's been out for over a year, which means that the additional toys that the game needs will become very hard to get over the next year.
Buying the game meant we would have to stock up on the toys, blowing our budget for the holiday. But then we would have gifts ready for his birthday and maybe even next Christmas. We're doing a consultation with Santa and I think we can find a way to make it work.
We also ran into a problem with Alex. Namely, what could we get him which he would like and which won't drive us nuts. Lately all he wants are scatterable toys (small numbers and letters, beads, and small game pieces). He uses them to make patterns, which he enjoys, but it ends up being a constant fight to keep them from being abandoned in scattered patches all over the house. I don't want to bring something in which will only ratchet up the conflict. We decided to go with more activity based gifts this year for him, like hockey games or concerts. But he still needs some toys to unwrap under the tree.
I think we've got it mostly sorted out. Although I'm sure there will be some last minute running around for the inevitable "I forgot" moments.