I almost did it.
I almost bought book 6 of the 39 Clues series at a mall book store the other day for nearly $13.
Then I stopped myself.
Wait, I said.
Wait for Cyber Monday.
The wait paid off.
Today, I ordered the same book online for $6.50, about half the price, and book 7 for $8.76.
I love Cyber Monday.
And even more than that, I love online Christmas shopping.
I first became familiar with online Christmas shopping when my oldest children were four months old and 22 months old. My infant daughter was allergic to milk protein and had an intolerance for soy.
She could drink only breast milk and she refused to take it from a bottle.
I don't mind nursing in public, but nursing in a crowded mall at Christmas time while trying to entertain a toddler was just no fun. So, one day, I put my son down for a nap and my daughter in her vibrating infant seat and started clicking.
I couldn't believe it.
In about an hour's time, I was done.
Not only had I finished my shopping, but I was easily able to comparison shop, and most online retailers offered free shipping. I saved a bunch of money. I knew then and there that I would never fight the Christmas throngs at a mall again.
That doesn't make me a Scrooge.
I know that the whole mall-battle thing is part of the holiday tradition.
I still enjoy wandering its halls on a weekday evening (never on a weekend) during the holiday season, checking the displays and the quirky novelty items that retailers somehow convince us everyone needs (How about a hand deodorizer? Or maybe a fancy set of nose hair tweezers? That will impress your significant other.).
Sometimes, I pick up a few stocking-stuffers, or wander into a book store and spend way too much money (I'm addicted to book stores). Or maybe I'll just have a slice of pizza in the food court and buy a Far Side calendar for my husband from a kiosk.
But I don't have to buy anything.
I feel no pressure.
And I don't have to stand in line for a register.
I can just leave if I want to.
I can take the twins on a Monday afternoon, let them ride the carousel or the train (with the money I saved online), let them play in the kids' play area, then slather their little hands with sanitizer and buy them some ice cream (with some more of the money I saved online).
Or I can take the older kids to the temporary game store (You know. The one they set up for Christmas with all the cool stuff you usually see only in catalogs.) and let them peruse the aisles as long as they want.
Maybe I'll take them to Hallmark, where they'll wistfully examine all the Webkinz and press the buttons on all the silly little talking ornaments that cost a fortune. We can even wave to Santa and pass by the line that snakes down past the customer service desk, knowing they'll get a chance to chat with him at an upcoming Cub Scout pack meeting.
Better yet, thanks to Cyber Monday and to this whole online shopping craze, I can stay home if I want to.
I can tickle my twins, play board games with my older kids, or settle on the sofa with my husband after they've all fallen asleep, watching A Christmas Story for the zillionth time and sipping on juice glasses half full of Baily's.
All this, while my friends, neighbors and relatives are at the mall.