Monday, June 19, 2006

Present Shopping

The social silly season seems to have arrived. I looked at my diary this morning, coming back to normal after our celebration weekend and no less than three children's parties are happening this week. Plus it's the end of term on Friday, leading on to three weeks of winter holidays which feature my five year old's birthday too. Her also-five-year-old cousin's birthday is the day before hers as well.

An emergency trip into our local small town to buy presents for this weeks lot was made this afternoon. The children just about trust me enough to choose a present for their friends but quite like making the decision themselves. I had thought of taking them to the ToysRUs in Cape Town, but quailed at the picture it conjured up of dragging the girls away from the Barbie pink girls section (all the birthdays scheduled are boys) and trying to find a present acceptable both to adults and children that fitted the budget and wouldn't break before they unwrapped it...x4 (one birthday is twins!). So I chickened out and we went to Malmesbury, a functional farmers town, where toy shops aren't on the agenda and seem to go out of business with alarming rapidity. The supermarkets usually have half an aisle of toys, though of the plastic variety and I thought I'd try one I don't usually go to in the hope it would have a more inspiring selection.

So an adventure of the milder sort, unknown supermarket territory. We march in hopefully, look around for the relevant aisle but all the signs are in Afrikaans (this is rural South Africa) and I can guess most of them but none looks like toys...luckily the children spot the stationary section and dive in. In 2 minutes flat they have selected coloured pencils in a pack with sharpener and a pencil case for each of the turning-eight twins and a bargain pack containing coloured pencils, scissors, glue stick, sticky tape dispenser etc etc. and a blank drawing book for the kindergarten friend's birthday. All coming in within budget too.

I am standing there concealing my amazement that they consider these exciting gifts and surreptitiously trying to peer round the corner to see if any toys are lurking. I don't want to discourage them from their extremely sensible choices though, much better than plastic guns and army camouflage stuff, and the last thing I want to do is trek around every supermarket in town looking for something else, so now we just have to find something for the 1 year old cousin. They have already found the baby food aisle and it's youngest's turn to choose for him, so she carefully selects a bright orange cup with lid and we're done. Huge sigh of relief, no-one has set their sights on some pink sparkly monstrosity for their own birthdays, we've knocked off four presents in ten minutes and can go home and spend the next hour wrapping them and making cards... they fall out over that instead, I never did work out why, I guess some emotional release was necessary after such impeccable behaviour out shopping!


  1. I love how you say winter!
    It's summer in Canada now, and even hearing the word "winter" gives me the shivers...

    You know, maybe kids should pick out presents. I mean, if they liked them...then wouldn't the other kids?

    It's funny, because my daughter is just started to be invited to a ton of parties. And the getting the presents, weekend after weekend, is such a pain...

  2. Sounds like they did a great job shopping!!
    Mary, mom to many

  3. I like the presents you chose. I am trying to veer away from the pink and plastic, and get more pratical when gift giving.

    And what day would be complete without a little argumenting :)


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