In first person…Her young sons quip helps to ease moms dread of holiday-shopping

I hate shopping. I especially hate shopping with my children. And the worst is shopping with my children at Christmastime.

It was unavoidable. I had to buy a wedding gift and there was no one to watch my 3-year-old son, Zachary. To avoid the perennial Christmas onslaught, I decided to call Macy's and order the gift over the phone.

They assured me they had it and would hold it for me at the counter. Before entering the store, I took a deep breath. Sure enough, there were Christmas trees at every display counter. Christmas music was blaring and there were throngs of holiday shoppers.

Miraculously, I made it up to the third floor without incident. The sales clerk rang up my purchase, and as she stepped around the counter to hand me my gift, she noticed my young son. "Oh, aren't you a cute little boy!" she said as she knelt down next to him.

I just wanted to get out of the store. I knew what was coming.

"Have you seen Santa yet?" she asked in that syrupy sweet tone of the season.

"No," my son replied.

"You haven't?!" she asked incredulously.

As she pointed to the dreaded Santa compound, Zachary innocently offered, "I haven't seen Santa, but I saw God. " You could have knocked the clerk over with a feather. Once she recovered, she stuttered, "I guess that's even better."