So thankful for the advent of online shopping — FranklyStein

Present plannerI can't fathom how I managed Christmas before online shopping. It has been my saving grace this year.

I woke up Monday a week ago in a state of panic. Not only had I barely started my Christmas shopping, but the kids hadn't even told me what they wanted. My secret notebook, where I keep a list of who to shop for and what I've bought, had nothing in it and Christmas was less than two weeks away. I was in bad shape.

That night, I got to work drilling the kids for ideas and hitting Amazon.com. Almost every night since, I've taken time to do a bit of online shopping. One morning last week I actually visited a store, but the rest of the Christmas haul is coming from cyberspace. Every day I arrive home to packages piled on the doorstep.

Back in the days before online shopping, I spent hours at the mall seeking that special something for everyone on my list. I made repeat visits to Toys R Us and once called every toy store in the vicinity looking for something one of the kids wanted. I ended up hiring a babysitter and driving to Reisterstown to get it. It was a stressful juggling act with four kids and a job.

Now I'm looking over my list and there's a check next to nearly everyone's name. The shopping took just a matter of hours, not days or weeks. I figured out if you type “stocking stuffers for a 10-year-old boy” into Amazon's search bar, up pop tons of ideas (though some are over $100, which is no stocking stuffer in my book).

Now Christmas is just four days away, and I'm feeling pretty relaxed. Other than a boatload of wrapping to do and a bit more decorating, I'm ready for Christmas. Too bad the internet doesn't help deck the halls.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.