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Like Herding Cats

I took all three boys Christmas shopping today to buy the gifts they’re giving to others. It being the first time they've done this, I expected it to be awkward and a bit confusing. They wrote their lists and checked them twice before we zoomed to Walmart with a quick snack stop at McD’s to gird our spirits. It was an interesting experiment. The two older boys had a budget between 10 and 15 bucks and I told Doc he could get something for his mom and dad for around a dollar. Tio grabbed whatever. You know, get it over with. Kit wanted to look at CDs for himself and Doc reached for anything that he wanted figuring mom or dad would go for it.
“Is that something your mom would use?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, Armor All isn't very Christmasy.”
"What is it?"

And so it went. We pawed through trinkets and toys and candy and jewelry while I worked their brains fairly hard asking them if what they’d latched on to was something the receiving party would like. In the end, I really had to give Doc a hand. After all, you can only keep a 5 year old focused for so long. But he really did try. Tio settled on a couple of practical things and I got him and Kit to go together on Doc's gift so they could upgrade to a slightly higher price.

By the time I figured they were burned out, we’d done fairly well. They stayed in budget, found stuff for both sides of the family and felt pretty good about it. They even managed to get something for each other. I’ll sort it all out and see who didn’t get covered so we can finish it off in one more round.

Then we’ll all sit down with colored paper, scissors and tape to wrap everything up. That’s when it really hits home that Christmas is coming and you’re a part of it. I’ll make sure we have candy canes, cocoa, popcorn and a roaring fire to make this first time stays special for a long time.