These Christmas Shopping With Kids Confessions Will Have You Cringing

Shopping with children can be stressful enough – low boredom thresholds, constant pit-stops, pester power flexing and being perpetually anxious you’ll lose them between the aisles.

Add Christmas crowds and countdown checklists to the mix and you have a recipe for cringe-worthy moments – and funny stories:

“I was in a busy changing room pre-Christmas with my daughter. I was trying to shoehorn myself into the first sparkly, going-out dress I’d attempted to wear in about three years. There was a natural lull in the chatter and noise, at which point my daughter yells, ‘Hey mummy, your belly looks like my Play-Doh – it’s squidgy and it wobbles.’ Cue much snorting from the other cubicles.” Jo

“My three-year-old son got himself half undressed and into bed in a John Lewis festive room setting.” Lorna

“My husband thought it would be a great idea to put two-year-old daughter into one of those rucksack style carriers for Christmas shopping in London, so we didn’t have to manhandle a buggy on the tube and around the shops. All went well until the (very crowded) tube ground to a halt and there was an annoying alarm sound. We only realised when the driver’s voice came through an intercom next to us that our little darling had pulled the emergency lever and stopped the train. The driver had to come into our carriage and manually reset the alarm. Luckily, he had kids and thought it was hilarious. The other passengers were less than impressed.” Catherine

“In Toys ’R ’Us, when my son wasn’t looking I whipped the light sabre he wanted into my bag, then looked up to see a shopper staring at me in horror. I couldn’t say anything as by then my son was next to me. She probably tells people about how she saw this woman blatantly shoplifting.” Lynley

“When my son was three he pressed the emergency stop button on the escalator. My immediate reaction was to run. I should have – the shop assistant was really mean. Then this uber posh older woman said, ‘Well I mean…’ I braced myself for another dose of humiliation but instead she continued, ‘What on earth do they expect if they put a big red button in a child’s eye line?’” Annie

“I took my two-year-old to buy a Christmas tree. He was really keen at first, then got bored. He had a strop, lay or the floor screaming, while I had a six-foot tree under my arm and everyone giving me the bad mother look.” Olivia

“My son was about six and we were in the ice-cream parlour in Fortnum & Mason as a pre-Christmas – and one-time-only – treat. Back then, it was on the same floor as the crockery. Imagine an entire floor of tables set for dinner with crockery that cost £100 a plate. I have no idea what they put in their sprinkles but my son went completely bonkers, like never before or since. He jumped up and started running around manically, then took off screaming and running full tilt through the store waving his arms, with me in hot pursuit. You have never seen the colour drain so fast from the faces of so many sales assistants.” Lynne

“I burst into tears in a department store one Christmas when my twins wouldn’t stop arsing around and causing havoc. They were shocked into obedience.” Hannah

“My four-year-old son pulled back a changing room cubicle curtain in John Lewis, then scarpered. The woman inside was stuck in the dress she was trying on – head covered, arms up in the air and quite a lot of flesh on view. I just said, ‘I’m so sorry’, pulled the curtain shut and rushed out too. Luckily, she wouldn’t have been able to see who we were.” Mary

“I said I’d help my friend and her five-year-old son with their Christmas food shopping. He stood in the aisle shouting ‘Don’t buy beer Mummy! Please don’t buy beer. I don’t like it when you buy beer!’  Great friend that I am, I ran out of the shop and hid.” Amy

“I was shopping in Mothercare and the store was pre-Christmas crowded when my three-year-old daughter vanished. I was searching, shouting her name, losing my mind and got the staff involved too. The store had automatic doors which opened out onto a busy car park so I was terrified she’d run out of them. After what felt like forever, I heard giggling from behind the changing room curtain… she had gone in there to play Hide And Seek, pulled the curtain across and sat up on the little bench.” Cathy

“My toddler daughter touched (with just one finger) a very thin, very tall wooden sculpture of a giraffe in a shop one Christmas. It fell, knocking the entire display over. I rushed to pick them up and the legs had snapped off a skinny wooden meerkat. The snooty shop assistant made me pay £35 for it. I was so pissed off, I insisted on taking the sodding meerkat with me and glued it back together.  My older girls called it Martha and it lives on their windowsill.” Katie

“Delirious with ongoing sleep-deprivation and a nine-month-old finally asleep in his buggy, I wandered around Sainsbury’s for our Christmas shop in a daze before absentmindedly wheeling the gigantic Bugaboo too close to a tall-ish display of Italian olive oil. It came crashing down, leaving me in a puddle of oil and glass, and totally mortified. I couldn’t move one way or the other without sliding in it, the buggy was no help stability-wise and my feet were soaked in oil. I had to wait helplessly while a whirlwind of staff cleared it up around me. I must have apologised 70,000 times for my clumsiness. On the plus side, my baby stayed asleep throughout and the buggy wheels stopped squeaking.” Matilda