There are two types of people in this world: The ones who have been doing their Christmas shopping all year, paying off lay-bys and ticking off lists, fresh tree in the corner with colour coordinated decorations and a personalised picture book at the ready for Christmas Eve. Then there’s people like me.
I still don’t have firm plans for Christmas day, my KK recipient will most likely get a voucher and for some reason Mini has ended up with about 20 presents and Emily only 2. And for the love of little baby Jesus WHAT am I going to buy my 12 year old nephew? And dad. And husband. And do I need to give something to the swimming teacher?
But you know what? There is still time my lovely friends. Time to pop down to the shopping centre and nail that list all in one hit. Now don’t panic, I am not telling you to go to Target and buy everyone Lego (however that would be awesome because everyone loves Lego.) You can still shop small, support local and get really lovely personal gifts. Here’s how!
Please note that this post was created in collaboration with Bayside Shopping Centre. The stores visited and all opinions are my own ideas and thoughts.
First of all, you are going to have to take the kids. I know. It seems insane but no one can babysit at this time of year with all the break up parties and lunches etc. Once you accept that you are about to take your kids Christmas shopping it is okay. You’ve taken them shopping every other time and this is going to be just the same. DO NOT PANIC.
Stop one is We Wash U Shop. Drive directly to the We Wash U Shop car washing area underneath Woolworths and throw your keys towards one of the legends that work there. They may ask something like “Inside and out?” This is not a trick question-just say “YES! Clean the whole thing. Sorry about the coffee mugs and debris everywhere. I have kids!” and then tell them what time you will be back. Wave good bye to your filthy car because next time you see it, it’s going to look amazing. You can confidently pull up to Christmas lunch and pretend like you have your life together.
Okay, so kids in pram and up the escalators to begin. There are loads of places to grab a coffee but I usually go to the first cafe I see which is the one near the play area outside Kmart. Show your kids the play area while you are here and look them straight in the eye and tell them if they behave, you can come back for a play. ANY whinging, fighting, running off etc will mean that you are leaving immediately and remind them that SANTA IS WATCHING.
Speaking of Santa, head straight towards the awesome set up near Target to see him. The Gingerbread Land set is amazing this year. Did I forget to mention you need Santa photos? Well you do. They are usually hilarious and also make great gifts for in-laws and teachers. Bayside has heaps of package options including frames etc and they print them on the spot. Or you can order a digital version to make it even easier to make into a photo book or a mug or something.
Okay, after you have seen Santa, drop into Taylormade directly beside Santa Land. They do framing and also loads of memorabilia. Look, I have no idea about sport but I did see a signed football boot in there from Luis Suarez. He plays football and bit someone’s ear OFF during a game. I actually think he did that twice. Weirdo. Anyway, the husband LOVES this sort of stuff and if I could deal with having it in my house I would totally buy if for him but unfortunately I have decided to buy him (me) new bed linen instead.
How are we feeling? Are the kids being okay still? If not, buy them a cookie from the café outside Target. Seriously, now is not the day to be judging your own parenting. Hot Tip: They also sell apple juice.
Now go down the escalators to the bottom floor and make your way outside into the arcade bit. From here you are going to go to Hoyts and get Goldclass tickets for your siblings and include a cute note about babysitting their kids for them. Side note: How come other people’s kids are not annoying like your own?
Then it’s time to give your kids and Ipad or phone or some Phenergan (jokes!) because you are about to walk into Mynd and you’ll want to enjoy this. If you cannot find a present for every single person you have ever met here then you are not trying.
So, just buy everyone the Mermaid Oil. I have no idea what it is but I know that I need it and so does everyone else. I had a quick chat to the lovely lady working in there and her hot tip for Christmas gifts is the locally made organic skin care range OR (and stay with me here because she is on to something) synthetic flowers. I KNOW. It doesn’t make sense but it actually does make perfect sense if you stop thinking about 80s awful fake ferns. These are enormous King Proteas and the look real AF.
Once you have spent hundreds of dollars in Mynd (they stock Kip & Co. Bring your credit card) then you are going to pop next door to Mirror Mirror and sort out your Christmas party outfit.
Super easy to find clothes and a bag and jewellery AND shoes. After all that shopping you can also have a little sit down in their dressing room area.
How inviting does that look? But no! We must carry on. We are so close to being finished (ish).
Time to hit the book shop. Confession: I have recently been listening to audiobooks because they are awesome BUT nothing beats a real life actual book and no audio book app beats a real life independent bookstore.
Robinson’s has an awesome range AND sells gorgeous wrapping paper. The staff are really helpful and when your baby swipes a few badges off the counter and licks them, they just gently remove them from their chubby little fist and keep smiling. Wonderful!
So I did buy a few books here. REAL books which the baby spilt REAL apple juice all over within seconds of leaving the store. But that is the beauty of books! Even when they are all wet you can still read them. If you cannot find a book for every member of your family then surely, SURELY you will find something across the path in the art store.
You know what is a giant pain the neck? Kinder parties. And school parties. And just parties for kids in general. They always come with annoying requests for a disposable plate full of some sort of food for the children. Introducing, Cupcake Queens. (Just inside the doors back into the centre.)
Cupcake Queens was started by a couple when they couldn’t find anyone to make them a cupcake cake for their wedding. Can you believe there was a time when cupcake cakes were not a thing at weddings? Well luckily we no longer live in such a world and it is partly down to these guys starting this gorgeous little Cupcake shop.
How. Cute. Are. These? You can totally lie and pretend you made them. Or tell everyone about Cupcake Queens. Either way they will think you are a genius.
Right. So let’s just take stock of where we are at. Party clothes? Check. School party food? Check. Mermaid Oil? Check. Presents for everyone? Check.
So now it’s time to head back upstairs and let the kids go crazy in that play area. There is method in the madness-we are wearing them out because mama is about to get her own present. So, sleepy kids back in the pram, do a few laps around Henry’s and grab some fresh produce. Stone fruit is in season and berries are always a winner!
Are they asleep yet? YES! Okay, time to go to Chelsea Nails and get your chill on. The Gel Colour dries instantly and lasts for ages! I’ve had mine on for 4 days and there is no chips-they are still perfect.
They have massage chairs there that they imported from the U.S and the owner will give you a chilled bottle of water and you can just relax and enjoy. PLUS if someone gives you a beautiful ring for Christmas, then you can show it off with amazing nails! Winning.
So, we are DONE. All finished. Kids are awake, shopping is finished and all you need to do is go and collect your amazingly clean car and get outta here!
If you are feeling the Christmas vibes and want to contribute to the community, then you can do THAT at Bayside too. Chelsea Nails has a box for donations to go to the Frankston Community Centre. This is why I love shopping small and local! So heart warming to see local biz supporting everyone in our community.
You can also donate work clothes to Fitted for Work. This organisation helps women look great and feel confident when going for job interviews. You’ll find them near Endota.
Good work people! You are ready for Christmas. Yay!