The boys hem and haw, sometimes confer with each other in harried whispers, sometimes ask my advice and sometimes refuse any counsel. After they have selected what they want, I go over their plan with them privately while the siblings look the other way and talk amongst themselves. I ask them to tell me specifically who each gift is for, so that they can be sure they have it all figured out and that there are no double buys or accidental misses. I add no feedback or comments but simply make sure that they are sure they have everything they want to buy. There is no buying for yourself, although you are allowed to tell Mommy in furtive whispers if something catches your eye and is your burning wish for Christmas....it may get passed on to other shoppers who are stuck for ideas.
Once all decisions are made, we take the purchases up front and cash is handed out to each kid (I cover all tax and unexpectedly higher prices) and they wait in line with their things. They are coached through putting their goods on the conveyer, adding the divider between them and the next customer and waiting at the register for the cashier to ask for their money. I have them take the change and ask the cashier to count it back to them for good measure. Then they put their receipt into their own bag, thank the cashier and move over to the door to wait while their siblings complete their purchases.
So, now we have to put the tree skirt down! Its all wrinkly and I meant to iron it up over the weekend and get it down but I forgot. Now its time to get serious....there are things that have been earnestly wrapped but little boys and labeled with little phonetically spelled tags in determined, wobbly writing. These are worthy presents, every year I'm glad I do this....even when the customers in line behind us are sighing dramatically and looking at their watches, and Pom has crawled under a store display for chocolate santas and pouted that he was going to live there forever. Even then. This, is a great tradition.