Soshally Awkward: how to survive a holiday shopping trip to Ikea

Head straight to the do not want to be "hangry" in IKEA.
Head straight to the do not want to be "hangry" in IKEA.

Christmas is coming and perhaps you find yourself still in need of a couple of gifts. You may say, Well, you know what, Charlotte has an IKEA. Let’s run up there, get a bunch of cool yet inexpensive European-inspired gifts and all will be merry and bright. This is a great line of thought - in theory.

My husband, daughter and I have been to the Charlotte IKEA once. We will never go back. It nearly destroyed us.

We’ve traveled with our daughter since she was a month old. We’ve flown with her. We’ve gone to the beach, major cities and Disney World, all with nothing more than an occasional, quickly-resolved squabble. However, had I found a divorce lawyer sitting behind one of the simple Bekant desks, I would have quickly explained to my daughter that although her mom and dad still loved her, that we simply couldn’t live together any longer.

Our one and only trip happened a couple of years ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon. We headed up I- 85 brimming with the positive thoughts that inexpensive, streamlined, Swedish furniture brings. We were in a heated whisper-argument (you know the kind you have when the kid is in the car).

We needed a new computer desk. We didn’t get anything, not even a meatball.

We tell the story jovially now but a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this year showed that my husband and I are not an IKEA exception. Relationship experts cited in the story stated that those IKEA arrows will lead you to straight to a big, fat argument.

How Your Family Can Survive IKEA Charlotte:

Attack and conquer. IKEA is not just big. It is expansive, like the Serengeti or Antarctica.

You wouldn’t just show up at either of those places with nothing more than some flip flops and cargo shorts. No, you would come with a plan and supplies: map, compass, tent, supply of water, machete, walkie-talkies, MREs, and a flare gun.

This is also what you’ll need for IKEA Charlotte. Stuff your stroller and your diaper bag full, take a deep breath and set out on your harrowing journey.

Eat! Eat! Eat! IKEA has a restaurant. This restaurant has some good food at great prices. Go straight there. Eat meatballs until you can do nothing but smile and nod contentedly. You do not want to be "hangry" in IKEA.

Pick a day, any day. Except for Saturday. For the love of all things holy do not go on Saturday.

Remember that family is the most important thing. You loved each other before you went to IKEA. You wanted to raise your family together before you went to IKEA. You will learn to love each other again. Take a happy family picture with you. Look at this picture often.