I’ve already started Christmas shopping. Yes, I have become one of those mothers. I didn’t mean to. After last year’s debacle, I vowed to start earlier. The girls don’t ask for much, but I don’t want to get caught empty-handed when a toy is in high demand. Plus, it evens out the cost over a few months.

Christmas shopping is a little easier this year because Simone and Nadia have been asking for items all year long. In the past, I’ve shouldered the responsibility of finding fun toys that just so happen to help them learn. Now the commercials have kicked in and so have all of the requests. No worries. I will still pick a few learning toys for good measure.

New toys are released in August, and it takes a while for them to catch on. After they take off, if the manufacturer hasn’t taken the bet that they will be popular, there won’t be enough. It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come to this. Call me skeptical, but I promise toy manufacturers play with the numbers and push demand high for a toy when they already know it’s going to be popular.

That’s one of the reasons I am calling in reinforcements early this year. Send in the grandparents. They soon will be armed with their own shopping lists. They can buy what they need anytime they want to between now and Christmas, and they won’t have to be do hand-to-hand combat with shoppers if they don’t want to. Who knew Christmas required this much organization?

This year, with any luck, I will not be standing in line, in the cold, in the wee hours, hoping to get a toy. If all goes well, there will not be a sprint to the back of the store to find an empty shelf. Christmas will be merry even if I have to start thinking about it, organizing it, and shopping for it in September.