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Too early to think of Christmas presents? You poor, naive fool..

It's far too early to be thinking about Christmas, isn't it?

Halloween is just over, for goodness' sake - there's plenty of time to get organised.

Unless, of course, you happen to have a child who wants Santa to bring an Elsa doll from the Frozen movie. Then I hate to break it to you, but your Christmas might already be ruined.

You see, the Disney princess is at the top of the toy wish-list this year. Children all over the world want to find her under the tree and, by all accounts, poor old Santa and his elves are going to be under huge pressure to meet the enormous demand.

SWEATING

Come January, there'll be a glut of the wretched things in every toyshop in the country, but that's fat all use to the panicking parents who are already sweating at the thought of their little darlings crying into their stockings on Christmas morning.

If Santa doesn't deliver on the day itself his reputation is up in smoke, that's the rule.

So, what will desperate parents do to ensure that their child isn't disappointed?

The answer is, just about anything. In the quest to track down their offspring's heart's desire, no stone will be left unturned.

They'll queue for hours with other frazzled parents, comparing tales of woe.

They'll drive for miles in a snow storm because the second cousin of a friend of a friend heard a crazy rumour that someone spotted the doll in a tiny hardware shop in the middle of nowhere. They'll spend sleepless nights on the internet, trying to calculate how much it would cost to get one shipped from America and whether it would even arrive on time.

In their sleep-deprived mania, they'll even contemplate flying to New York for the weekend to seal the deal.

In short, there's nothing the average parent won't do to ensure that their child has the perfect Christmas, shredding every one of their last nerves in the process.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Here are my top (tongue in cheek) tips for surviving the stressful season.

1Timing is everything

Encourage your kids to write their wish-lists early to snag the best toys. Forget the softly, softly approach.

Lay your cards on the table and tell them that Santa prefers organised kids best and if they lock in their preferences (preferably in writing) by September he'll make it worth their while.

2Befriend your local toy retailer

Start the charm offensive early. Yes, you might feel foolish if you 'casually' drop by with cupcakes in July, but your tactics could pay off handsomely in December when you score the toy that everyone else wants.

Is it worth feeling socially uncomfortable in order to guarantee your child's future happiness? You decide.

3Scaremonger

Making other parents believe that a certain toy might be unsafe is morally reprehensible, but it sure quells demand and increases your chances of success.

Hang around by the school gate muttering loudly about the toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Throw in a few quotes from fictitious scientific studies for good measure.

4 Sharpen your elbows

OK, so you bonded with another mother in the never-ending queue outside the shop.

You may have even swapped numbers and arranged a play date - but if there's only one doll left on that shelf then it's every woman for herself.

Forget about good will to all men and bring your A-game.

5 Try and get some perspective

Does it really matter if your child doesn't get the exact toy they asked for? They already have so much. It's not like they're going to be scarred for life if they miss out.

You got a Tiny Tears doll when you asked for First Love and you're perfectly fine, aren't you?

On second thoughts, maybe that flight to New York would make sense after all...


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