Mom’s Christmas Hack To Prevent Toy Store Meltdowns Goes Viral

The holiday season is upon us. And while many of us will opt to do most of our shopping online, there are still some things that you need to go to a brick and mortar store for. And if you have a small child, it’s likely that he or she will demand to bring everything home. One mom found a trick that helped her child ease up on the tantrums—and she shared it in a now-viral Facebook post. The trick? Create a photo wishlist. 

“Pause for a second, comment on the thing they’re pointing out, and say, ‘Let’s take a picture with it and send it to Santa so he knows you want it!’ Note: you can send it to Santa, grandma, TeeTee Stephanie, or whoever it is you can pawn it off on. Totally up to you and can be different every time,” Kristina Watts of Belfair, Washington wrote. 

Kristina Watts/Facebook

The mom-of-three said she came up with the idea last year when she was helping organize a gift drive for her local school. 

“Our town was hit by Hurricane Michael, a Cat 5 hurricane, and it was devastating. I was approached to help find a way to provide Christmas toys for a local Title 1 Elementary school. The church that usually supplies Christmas gifts to Lucille Moore Elementary couldn’t do it last year because everyone was struggling so much. So I made an Amazon Wishlist for all 500 kids, kindergarten – 5th grade, and went LIVE on Facebook and called my friends to action. Within days, our house was filled with toys from people all over the US. Then we added a second school and before we knew it, we had our own USPS truck delivering toys for a week,” she told Bored Panda

Kristina Watts/Facebook

“We had about $45,000 worth of toys and Razor scooters in our garage and bedroom. Our kids helped my husband and I unbox and organize all of them. Of course, as a two-year-old, you want all the toys that are in your own house. Dolls, arts and crafts, everything you can imagine. It was like having our own toy store. [Emmie] wanted to open and play with everything and did not understand that they weren’t for her. I mean she was 2!” 

“So, I started to take pictures of her with the ones she liked and told her that maybe she can get one too,” Kristina said. “It worked. She stopped trying to get everything out of its package. She’d carry it around, take a picture, and put it back.” 

Kristina Watts/Facebook

Watts explains that the hack works because the child feels like they are validated and recognized: “It’s the modern-day version of circling all the toys in the JC Penney catalog. We never thought we’d get it all, but it’s fun to dream and feel like your parents are looking.”

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Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.