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If you've got kids, then chances are you're well aware that they love to get the most popular toys for Christmas. The hard part is working out what's the "in" toy this year! Your kids know, and if you're lucky they'll tell you, but most of the time parents are totally clueless and have no idea what to buy when they get to the shops. Even worse, buying the most popular gifts in town isn't always easy - they can be hard to find. If you're a last minute shopper, and are racing around the shops on December 24th, you might even find that it's sold out completely. It's very easy to panic at that point! Most parents hate to disappoint their kids, and if they can't find that one special gift, they may feel as though they've let their child down.

Some parents try to avoid getting caught up in all the commercialism and hype of Christmas. Getting the most popular Christmas gifts under the tree on Christmas morning might be nice, but it's really not what Christmas is meant to be about. That still doesn't change the fact that receiving a special gift is part of the magic of Christmas, because it shows someone cared enough to think about what you would like and buy it for you.

Many parents may be able to remember the "Tickle Me Elmo" Christmas a few years ago. It seemed like every child wanted one of these, and stores ran out of them well before Christmas. Chaos resulted, and there were plenty of disappointed kids on Christmas morning. Since then manufacturers seem to have done a better job of anticipating the Christmas rush for their products, but shortages still happen. You may find that you need to search lots of shops for a popular Christmas gift. To save you some frustration, try ringing stores rather than visiting them in person. Then, if they have the gift you're looking for, ask them to hold one for you. Don't expect them to hold it forever - you need to get there as fast as possible to collect it.

If you think your kids are going to want a popular Christmas gift, then get in early. Find out way before December 24th what they'd like, and look for it then. I'm not talking a day or two early, by the way - a few weeks at least, and preferably in November! By asking early you may even be able to buy the product at the first store you go to, because the product hasn't had time to become the most popular Christmas gift and sell out yet! Finding out what your kids want early also means that you may be able to order it online and save yourself some money. You don't want to be scanning the auction listings at eBay two days before Christmas to find the gift, because you'll pay heaps more than retail price if it can't be found in the stores any more.

Remember, too, that your child's most special gift may in fact be one that nobody else has even thought of. It might not be on a popular toys list online, or in a "gift ideas for Christmas" supplement in your newspaper. So take the time to find out what your child wants, and if you’re lucky, it will be easy to find and you won't have the hassle of searching frantically for it at the last minute. ©2021.