The ‘fun’ of Christmas shopping in Worthing with children: One thing or a mother

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but rather than the season to be jolly, ’tis, in fact, the season to panic.

Katherine and her clan caused quite the scene in Montague Street
Katherine and her clan caused quite the scene in Montague Street

As you read this, we’re pretty much hitting mid-December, and while that means I’ve happily become accustomed to eating a packet of Cadbury Snowballs every night, it also means ‘Oh my goodness! Where has all the time gone? Arrrrrgghhh, there’s still so much to do!’.

While I’ve been busy attempting to put a really good dent in the Christmas treat aisle’s stock levels at my local shop, Christmas cards have gone unwritten, only a few presents have been bought, none have been wrapped, and don’t even talk to me about ordering a turkey.

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It seemed like there was plenty of time to do it all, but now there are only 15 days until the big one. Eeeeek – help!

This sweat-inducing realisation came to me in the middle of the night on Saturday (at least it wasn’t realising I’d forgotten to stage our Christmas elf that woke me this time!), so I decided to hit the shops on Sunday morning with my family in an attempt to get festively organised.

Going shopping with a six-year-old and a two-year-old is challenging at the best of times. Throw in social distancing, hand sanitiser and face masks, and you’ll be begging for mercy within the first four minutes.

(What is it about wearing a face covering that seems to render you incapable of doing anything? Not only does it stop you breathing on people, but I feel like I can’t see or hear properly when I’m wearing one. It’s almost like it’s my kryptonite. Just me?!)

The ‘fun’ started when my son wanted to get out of his buggy. In a moment of madness, I agreed, and within two minutes he and my daughter were chasing pigeons and screaming with delight. It could almost have been categorised as some fun entertainment for people queueing outside of shops. But then he started trying to kick them. “Right, back in the buggy...” As I walked away, shame-faced and with a screaming child demanding the ‘crustsont’ we’d promised to buy him for lunch, we ventured inside M&S.

Wow, it’s hot inside when you’re wearing 15 layers and have just wrestled a small child into an apparent torture device on wheels. Undeterred, we bought some food products to distract the children from their usual mission of causing as much mayhem as possible, and thought we’d browse the toys to get ideas for what they might like from Santa.

Really needn’t have bothered, as my daughter told us she is apparently going to be asking Father Christmas for magical powers and a unicorn (come back last year’s request for slime, all is forgiven!) and my son wants a ‘big, big, dinosaur’. This was then followed by a lot of really loud roaring as we walked around the shop, just in case we hadn’t upset enough people in Worthing already that day with #pigeonkickinggate.

I asked my husband the same question, to which his answer was ‘I don’t know’, so we left town with me none the wiser for present ideas but a really big bag of edible festive goodies to add the Christmas cupboard that’s already bursting at the seams.

“Sorry, Santa didn’t bring you any presents this year, children, but would you like three dozen puff pastry mince pies instead?”

So, as well as all the jobs that were already on the Christmas to-do list, I now need to add finding a time machine and travelling back to the Jurassic period, and jumping on the Hogwarts Express to beg them to accept my daughter as the school’s latest student. Wish me luck!

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