The various lists of hot toys that sometimes are not on any shelf at retailers near you include Hatchimals, certain Shopkins, Nintendo NES Classic, the PlayStation VR, and certain movie tie-ins from “Star Wars” to “Trolls” to “Moana.” Read this Washington Post story about the the hot toys here.
Form a cooperative of parents looking for similar items. If they find more than one, have them buy it for you. If you find more than one, you’ll buy it for them. You could even divide and conquer. You hit the Target and Toys R Us. They hit the Walmart.
Buy online and accept that it’s going to come after Christmas. Wrap up a picture of the item and the date when it is coming.
Buy them a gift card. After Christmas is over, these things have a way of showing up in stores a month later. Or maybe what they said they wanted that you’ve been killing yourself to get is really not what they wanted after all.
Brace them for disappointment. Don’t play into this idea that it is going to happen if you’re not sure you can deliver.
If Santa is in play, have Santa write them a letter explaining that the toy will come later. Or take the higher road. Have Santa write them a letter about what a great kid they are. You don’t want your child to think she has done something wrong just because the Hatchimal didn’t arrive under the tree. See, Santa is tricky, right?
Do nothing. As one of my child’s day care providers used to say, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” This is a great teaching opportunity. Disappointment happens. They are not always going to get everything they want. Time to be appreciative of what they did get.
When they express disappoint on Christmas morning, remind them of the difference between wants and needs. Did they really need that Shopkin? Is it essential to breathing? No, it’s not.
If they are still whining, it’s time for what a friend calls an “appreciation tour.” That’s when you volunteer at a soup kitchen, food bank or some other place where people don’t have what you have.
Get some perspective yourself. You are not a bad parent. If they have food in their bellies, warm clothes to wear and a roof over their heads, you have provided for them. Remember that it’s just one Christmas. They will not become juvenile delinquents just because you couldn’t find the Hatchimal.
There is always their birthday. Of course, by then, they’ll want something new – something else impossible to find.