Christmas shopping is hell. Even if the thought of it fills you with the Christmas spirit, the actual experience will turn you from a jolly little elf into the Grinch. The crowds. The queues. The lack of parking spaces. The empty shelves. The tantrums.
To make Christmas shopping more pleasant for everyone, here are a few etiquette tips. Most of them apply to shopping with kids generally, but they’re more important than ever in the pre-festive-season rush.
1. Don’t bring your sick kids shopping.
If they have snot pouring out of their noses, and they’re wiping it away with their hands, they’re not fit for contact with other humans – especially my kids in the shopping centre’s indoor playground. Nothing personal, but germs are one thing you really don’t need to share at Christmas.
2. Don’t line up for a Santa photo if your child doesn’t want to be in a photo with Santa.
It just forces everyone else to wait longer, especially if precious extra minutes have to be spent trying to convince your howling kid to cheer up. Also, you’re probably traumatising them for life.
3. Those $2 rides are for children whose parents are prepared to put in the $2.
If you're not willing to fork out, don't let your kid keep sitting on the ride when there are other parents waiting, coin in hand, to fulfill a promise to their weary children. And, if you're going pop your kid on a ride that someone else has paid for, at least ask first and say thank you afterwards.
4. Trying on clothes when you have kids with you is ambitious.
If you must, make sure your kids stay with you at all times. Underwear-clad women in other fitting rooms may not find your son's face peeking under their curtain as adorable as you do.
5. Understand that massive prams are really annoying to people without kids.
Especially when shopping centres are crowded. You are the equivalent of a large piece of farm machinery slowing traffic on the highway. Check at least occasionally to make sure you're not blocking people - in lifts, etc - and smile and say sorry if you are. If you're going down a walkway and bump into a friend, also pushing a pram, that's lovely. Now get out of the way.