How To: Christmas Shop with a Baby!


This year is my first year of Mummying at Christmas.

I have never been especially good at getting ready in advance and quite enjoy the thrill of leaving all the shopping to do on one day, with stops for mince pies and mulled wine, then coming home to go through all the purchased goodies, sorting them, stacking them and eventually the week before Christmas (generally while hubby is at his Christmas party) setting myself up with Love Actually, Elf and White Christmas, an endless supply of hot chocolate and nibbles and wrapping, labelling and decorating every single one.

It was mad, it was last minute and I absolutely loved the thrill of it. I totally, completely failed to realise that this is a pipe dream when you have a ten month old baby who is into everything and wants to help (can I call it that, really?) sorting, unwrapping, tearing, exploring textures and ‘posting’ very usefully in hidden places.

How did I realise this? I carefully compiled Christmas present lists of what needed to be bought for who (with a lot of gaps – I love spontaneity when I see the ‘right’ gift for someone), I set of for Bluewater with Violetta in tow and optimistically set off to shop.

This is not a negative post. I absolutely loved it. Every minute. But oh my goodness, I think I’m mad.

I started off with all the best intentions – a lovely lunch with my miniature bestie! Pizza Express have a wonderful Bambino menu, so we had a pizza and a mini bowl of pasta respectively (shared dough balls to start, naturally) and all was well in the world. We then wandered round looking at the lights, ambling through the shops chit chatting (me) about what we could buy people, wooing the shop assistants (V – she was given a key ring in Jo Malone and a chocolate coin in Ted Baker!) and generally enjoying the festive atmosphere. We even stopped and listened to the gorgeous choir!

Then, bang! It was nap time and Violetta was getting grumpy. No problem though, out came the Snooze Shade and after a couple of laps of the shopping centre she was soundo. I thought this meant I had an hour or two to make all the purchases, popping back to the car to drop bits off as needed and then, when she was well rested we’d stop for a hot chocolate and milk break, before finishing off any little bits and heading home.

I am so naïve sometimes!

Firstly, navigating a buggy, picking up things in shops, taking them to the tills, paying for them, bagging them and then balancing enough bags on the pram (with a sleeping baby in who wakes up if the wind blows) before the run back to the car every few bags should not be underestimated! Add into this that I am a moocher and you begin to see where I went wrong!

A few items ticked off my list (including some of the unknowns, thankfully!) Violetta woke up. She had been asleep for all of 30 minutes. This is unheard of!

So we popped off for a drink break – which was super lovely actually and exactly what I wanted it to be. But then I realised I still had to finish the whole list of presents. Eek!

Anyway, long story short – we did it! Thank goodness for Ella and her nibbly banana biscuits, Ted and his cheeky chocolate coin and a heavily discounted penguin that we spotted in House of Fraser, who I think might be Violetta’s new best friend as she cuddled him non-stop until she went to !

My car was full to the brim, Violetta was just on the edge of having had enough, but we did it! And guess what – I loved it : )

I think next year I may get someone to meet me half way through and look after V for me, instead of relying on a nap to get things done, but other than that we had a wonderfully festive mummy-daughter day and I really thoroughly enjoyed it. I think V did too, judging by the happy, giggly and chatty mood she was in all the way home and right up until she fell asleep.

Happy festive shopping!

Victoria x

PS. I’m just about to post this and I looked over to the sofa where I have piled all the goodies to show Mr S…. I have literally just realised I will now have to find the time to wrap them. Oh my. 11 sleeps ’til Christmas!

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