‘Tis the time in the season where we all hit gift gathering crunch time. Are you checking your lists and just now realizing there is nothing on there to “WOW” them? I mean, I know they really, really wanted that sweater and those boots, but will there be anything under the tree to surprise them and make them squeal “this is the best!”?
Are you thinking, “That’s a great point, but I’m also tallying up my credit card statement and there’s not a lot of ‘flow’ left to my cash.”
Well, delight can come cheap and easy, my friend. That “may” have not come out exactly as we intended, but with this list you can be a hero on par with Santa for not a lot of reindeer chow.
These right here are the entire reason this post was written. A friend told Ellen about them, and she was amazed! Every person Ellen has told about them has been amazed! Virtual reality for UNDER $10? It’s amazing!
So this is the world of Google Cardboard. You download the apps to your phone, pop it into this viewer, and you’re off to play games, explore ancient temples, or immerse yourself in the world of Star Wars. Just with this little thing. Really. These sturdy gems come fully assembled, and the only real complaint at this price point is that the cardboard hurts your nose. Some genius in the Amazon reviews discovered that slitting a Nerf dart along its length and slipping it over the cardboard edge provides the perfect cushion for your $8.99 wonder.
If you would like a bit more of a comfort upgrade, you can check out this plastic model. Still under $25!
Got a baseball player, tennis player, golf pro, or musician on your list? This fun little gadget can get them in tip-top shape in the most conversation-igniting way possible. You basically have to provide resistance against its spinning. It’s more addicting than it sounds. Trust us.
Never again get caught in the dark searching blindly through your handbag desperately trying to find your keys, cosmetics or other items that settle to the bottom of a cluttered purse. This little light is motion activated and turns off after a couple of seconds. Genius can be found in the simplest of ideas.
Speaking of losing things, we feel like we keep buying USB cables because we keep leaving them like breadcrumbs everywhere we go. Even if we have a plug or car charger available to us, we don’t have a cable. This beauty clips onto your purse or backpack to always be handy in a form meets function kind of situation. Works for Android and iPhone (there’s even a lightning cable).
Okay, maybe the last three gifts weren’t so much “wows” as much as they were “that’s pretty cool.” But seriously, just get the virtual reality glasses, be a hero, and call it a day.
It’s that point in the busy holiday season where we are all calling which corner we want to rock in later when we get a free moment. We say that you can keep on railing against the gods of time suck or you can make some adjustments. While we can’t stuff your stockings, hang your baubles, or roast your beast, we can help you find happiness amidst the hullabaloo. In fact, finding calm in the Christmas chaos is as easy as putting down the paper and scissors and putting on your thinking cap instead. We’re gonna keep this short and simple, folks, because quite frankly, who’s got the time, but here are five things better to give than presents. It truly is better to give than to receive, and these will bring you back to the holiday spirit in no time. Promise.
1) The Gift of Experience
We both believe that experiences trump things. To that end, over the years, we have given concert tickets, special trips, museum visits, and special lessons. We could say that the memories from those special moments were as much a gift to us as to our kids. But spending special time with their awesome moms is the ultimate gift for our kiddos AND they usually end up with a souvenir AND we end up with great pictures! Consider this idea a win-win-win!
Bonus that these gifts don’t need to be wrapped either.
The lads and Ellen AND her kids had a brilliant Christmas.
2) The Gift of Tradition and Time Together
We both be-deck our halls and weight our trees with as many memories as the walls and limbs can stand, but we never underestimate the power of unplugging.Erin’s family kicks it old school with a new puzzle every year. After they work as a family to put it together, then they mount it, and use it for a Christmas decoration the following year. A foolproof plan for fun and festive flair!
We both also give games. Sure, one might argue that our deeply rooted competitive natures might be at the heart of this one, but we offer this counter-argument. The Great Scrabble Rout of 2007? The Epic Camel Slaughter in Parcheesi? The time the four year old won the UNO tournament? These memories all rival any trip we have ever taken in the annals of family fun. So bottom line, you can think what you want. And if you are coming over this Christmas, be prepared to pick a card.
Every year, Grandma likes a photo with all of her grandbabies. It goes reasonably well most of the time. Not this year, apparently, but most of the time.
3) The Gift of Memory
Each year we both work our Shutterfly accounts like a boss to create calendars with pictures from the past year to guide us through the new one. We also both make family yearbooks. Because we started blogging in 2011, Erin is a little behind so her family is getting the 2011 yearbook this Christmas. Resist the urge to point out that we are now in the fleeting days of 2016. She knows. She KNOWS!
We like the also ran photos more than the album-worthy ones. These are the memories we hope we don’t lose.
4) The Gift of Acknowledgment
Every year Erin’s kids pick someone who has been an angel to their family. Then they give a plate of cookies and an angel ornament to that person. The conversation as they decide who to pick each year is a gift to them all as they realize how many wonderful people they have in their life.
5) The Gift of Each Other
As a general rule, the best gifts don’t actually fit in a box or bag. When Erin’s kids were young, they spontaneously created a play one Christmas Eve. Even as the kids have crossed over into Planet Teen, they have never given up creating a special performance for that night. It is, without question, the best gift Steve and Erin get all year and they are really hoping that one of the videos from these performances will hit it big on Youtube. Then it can keep on giving all the way to the Ivy League. How’s that for a Christmas wish?
Watching a little girl get all her big cousins to play trains with her is wish fulfillment of a different but equally great kind.
But that’s not all.
Our trees are trimmed to the nines with handprints, school pictures, and handicrafts of all skill levels. Our schedules are crammed with band concerts and Christmas plays and choral recitals. Our houses are full of trays of cookies, homemade decorations, and gingerbread houses.
Apparently when boys outgrow gingerbread houses, they get creative and start crafting things on their own. Like the TARDIS from DOCTOR Who.
We know that this is the good stuff. So we clean up the glitter glue and the paper confetti on the floor, work our crockpots to the max to get dinner to the masses before each performance, and buy more cookie sheets to keep our little cookie sweat shops cranking. The big wide world will be taking these kids soon enough.
For now, we will just take a deep breath, enjoy the chaos, and be grateful for our gifts.
And if none of this helps, we have found that nothing will help you get your holiday spirit on like a reluctant angel.
These are some things that have helped us find the happy sweet underbelly of Christmas in the midst of the madness. Think of them as the cookies before the main course. What? Cookies don’t come first? We’ll never tell. It’s the most wonderful time of the year after all.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wait, let me make that a little more accurate: It’s the most INSANE time of the year! Okay, now I feel like the Grinch. How about, it’s the most insanely wonderful, wonderfully insane time of the year? THAT feels right.
There is so much to do during the holidays that many of us try to pare down our to-do lists as much as possible. This can result in some great things for your well-being like booting the cookies from the roster that take 15 steps, a kajillion hours, and that special ginger picked by virgin elk herders in the Himalayas. However, it can also lead to some hasty decisions like cutting out your gift exchange with your girlfriends. While this may free up some minutes, it can also throw a sopping wet blanket on the spark of your joy.
Some of my best—fun, soul-nourishing, hilarious, sentimental—times are created during my gift exchanges with my friends, be they secret or open, local or spanning the country. So for me, the secret is not to slash my gift list, but to simplify . . . and to borrow a fantastic idea when I hear it. My friend, Andrea, hit on what could possible be the best gift exchange idea ever: SOCKS!
Hear me out. There are so many options, sizing isn’t stressful, they can be so thoughtfully personal, you can find FANTASTIC ones for under $10, Amazon is dripping with them (but you can also find great ones at Walmart and Target), and they don’t add to clutter. Socks are not just for girlfriends either; men, teens, and kids love them, too. This makes them a great gift exchange idea for extended family, the office, and school. See? Perfect. And whoever can find it in their being to complain about adding a pair of socks to their drawer really needs to be kicked out of your tribe. Look, either way, your gift list just got simplified.
So without further ado, here are my personal suggestions.
Oh my goodness these are cute. And it’s a set! You could take care of 5 friends in one click! You can get on Amazon and search your desired breed too. I may or may not have these puggle socks in my cart.
One final funny that doubles as pretty sound advice too.
I could go on forever with these, but that last pair seems like a good place to stop. Don’t see anything you like here? Get yourself over to Amazon and search out any interest under the sun. I guarantee there’s a sock for that.
Here’s a little something extra for that person in your life you REALLY like. They’re all cozy in their new socks, why not give them a good—no great—book to cuddle up with? My friend, Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts, wrote a book that makes a perfect gift for anyone in your life who is a parent. This hardcover book is gorgeous and substantial. It’s filled with humor, truth, and actual real-life advice such as this gem for how to sneak in a nap: “I tell my son that his brother is better at giving back rubs than him. Then I close my eyes and enjoy the competition.” Get your copy of “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting” here or fill out the form below to win one on us!
This giveaway is for one copy of The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting. Open only to residents of the continental United States. Winner will be notified by email at the end of the giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
Our trees might be rejected as centerfolds for Southern Living, but they take center stage in our hearts because they are chock full of memories.
Don’t get us wrong. We love the balanced, color-coordinated perfection of department store trees. We praise our friends and family who are able to miraculously pull off similar feats without an ounce of snark in our hearts. In fact, Ellen has a second tree in her dining room that is pretty darn coordinated and themed . . .
And THIS is Erin’s version of a themed tree. Yeah, that is Yoda up there reigning over a tree full of Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments. May the force be with you.
But these aren’t the trees that our celebrations center around. Our main family trees are more than just decorations, they tell the stories of our lives. Each baby, marriage, vacation, and milestone is represented. Our lives are messy jumbles of events and joys and our trees have evolved into reflections of that.
We are behind on our photo albums, and there are more than a few children between us without completed any baby books, but dammit, decorating our Christmas trees is like the best walk down memory lane each and every year.
1. Caorach—That’s Gaelic for sheep if you were curious. When Steve and I were traveling through Ireland on our honeymoon, I was impressed by the beautiful countryside, the friendly people, and the sheep. Lots of sheep. This little fella has been part of our flock for 16 years now and I love seeing his simple unfinished wood wrapped in Irish wool every Christmas. It always takes me back to that special time when we were just starting out.
2. Whatever, Martha! Oh, sisters are the absolute best, and I have been particularly blessed to have a great one. But in addition to being a long distance swimmer and full-time university professor, my sister is crafty. I did not get this gene, but it doesn’t usually smack me in the face until Christmas arrives. This is when we receive my sister’s beautiful gifts handmade with love. They contrast nicely with my gifts which usually look like my seven year old wrapped them. I love everything she has made us, but these are particularly cute. She made these for everyone (and I have a big family!) customized with hair color, eye color, glasses, and colors of their favorite sports team. Aren’t they adorable?? Don’t you all want to hate her just a little bit?
3.Angelface — When I was a little girl, my dad went to a Christmas party and one of his friends gave him 2 angels to give to me and my sister on Christmas day. My sister’s had blond hair and hung side by side with my angel at the top of our tree under our star until I married Steve and took my angel with me. This humble little angel is probably one of my oldest possessions and I love seeing her on our tree every year and remembering all of her Christmases past.
4. Sisters Are Special—The Series— Remember what I said about sisters?? This is just one of a series of ornaments we gave each other. They are all pretty cute and extol the virtues of sisterhood, but this is the only photo one.
5. Family — Steve and I moved away from Maryland to mid-coast Maine a month after we were married. When we moved back home to Maryland, we had two kids and I was 8 months pregnant with the 3rd. We moved into a small apartment right before Christmas, and I couldn’t get to any of our Christmas decorations. I shoved a small artificial tree that someone was throwing away into a Nordstrom box, and bought a strand of lights (the tree was so small it only needed one). Then I took the box of extra photos (you know, the ones you didn’t use for albums or gifts before everything went digital) and started making ornaments. I showed you one of Ace as a baby here, but we still hang all of those crappy ornaments from our first Christmas in Maryland on our tree. It makes me happy to see how young we were and remember myself as a young mom determined to have a tree no matter what.
6. Bermuda Moon Gate — My husband, Frank, and I got this on our honeymoon in–wait for it–Bermuda. Its complete circle symbolizes unity, peace, and happiness. The idea was brought to Bermuda in the 1800s by a sea captain who had visited Asia, but the island quickly adopted it as their own. Newlyweds who pass through a moon gate hand-in-hand are said to have everlasting happiness and good fortune. We were married twenty-one years ago, so I guess they were onto something.
7. You Can Find A Gift Shop Anywhere — After I graduated from medical school, Frank and I went to Italy. Not surprisingly, one of the most breathtaking sights was St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the views of Rome from the roof and the cupola were equally spectacular. Imagine our surprise when we turned from the panoramic vistas to find a gift shop on the roof (I hear they also have a coffee bar now, too). We purchased this mosaic cross and it has had a place of honor at the top of tree ever since.
8. Sharing Family History — My grandparents and their families were from Chincoteague Island, Virginia. While growing up, I spent every summer visiting down there. This ornament commemorates taking my first born daughter there when she was one year old. She never got to meet my grandparents, but she did get to meet my Great-Aunt Ruth and enjoyed herself immensely on her first beach trip.
9. Talking Easter on Christmas — In 2007, we were lucky enough to go to the White House Easter Egg Roll. And yes, it was fabulous. Thank you Aunt Allaire for the tickets. There were children’s authors, the Easter Bunny, Hannah Montana, and the Jonas Brothers. This was when the wrecking ball was just a gleam in Miley’s eye. It really was like a festive old timey country fair . . . well, except for the aforementioned Disney-fest.
10. New York Whirlwind — This ornament commemorates the awesome two day New York City vacation I took with my daughters in 2011. In just over 48 hours, we visited my sorority sister in Princeton, NJ, caught the train to Penn Station, rode a taxi to our swanky Times Square hotel ,The Sanctuary, took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry, rode the (free!) ferry round-trip to see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, lunched at Mars 2021, rode the Ferris wheel at Toys R Us, dropped a fortune at the M&M store, got swept up into The Transformers: Dark of the Moon premier, ate at the Shake Shack with Aunt Donna, got caught up in a Year of the Rabbit party in our hotel lobby, ate breakfast at a diner, went to the Top of the Rock, took a carriage ride through Central Park, sat five rows back at Wicked, dined at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, took the subway to Penn Station, and got our fannies home. I can DO tourist.
My 14-year-old wanted me to include her favorite ornament. It makes her happy year after year because it never loses its bubble bath scent. And because she makes my heart happy, I’m including it. Plus maybe this will make her like the blog better. She’s not a huge fan.
Is your tree a Pinterest dream or a hodgepodge?
Tell us about YOUR favorite ornament!
From The Sisterhood to you, we wish you a Merry Christmas filled with love and happiness.
It was an especially busy week last week. Winter concerts backed up to fall sports banquets (don’t even ask) which piled on top of all of our regularly scheduled things to create a perfect storm of frenzied activity that looks, even in hindsight, exhausting. So it’s no wonder that I almost forgot about the Christmas pageant altogether and even more believable that I nearly overlooked that it would in fact be our very last one too.
In our school, the kids participate in a Christmas pageant from preschool through third grade. This means, if you are a person who likes to keep count, that my family has been in a Christmas pageant every year for nearly forever. We have pinned more than our fair share of ears on our little stable animals, rehearsed lines, practiced songs, and eased stage fright worries. One of the gifts of a larger family is that we move more slowly through childhood. We don’t simply move on from some ages and stages like more economically sized broods. Life and logistics means that we get to stay here a little longer, that our big kids get to linger in little kid land an extra beat, that we get chance after chance after chance to straighten those robes and adjust those halos.
But our youngest son is in third grade now, so this year represents a chapter turning. He has worked himself up from the most reluctant angel to a fairly recalcitrant cow to a barely mumbling narrator to nab himself a primo role as the wiseman Caspar this year. On the one hand, I marvel that the boy finally fits that crown on his head, that he actually delivered his lines, that he sang his song so loud and clear. My heart swells, love grows, pride overflows. On the other hand, well, I miss that little bugger of an angel.
For me, this yearly ritual has been a bit like visiting a favorite vacation spot. We have measured ourselves against this familiar signpost for so long that leaving this Christmas pageant stage behind is going to be a bit of an adjustment. The tree can sparkle like Clark Griswold himself lit her up and the cookies can arrange themsleves in their pretty tins, but the season has not really begun until I see some angels squirming onstage and hear some off-key but earnest singing. This has been as important to my holiday heart as cookies or carols, uncomfortable chairs be damned. My heart has needed the messy, loud, uncontainable thing I witness at these performances to degrinchify it and get it back to the size it should be just in time for Christmas.
But I am going to have to find a new frame of reference, because this Christmas pageant ship has sailed. Lucky for me, I am getting really good at the whole bending, changing, and growing up thing. This time last year my oldest was a senior and getting ready for college. I wasn’t making resolutions because I was just hoping I could become the mom he needed me to be, the one that could let him go.
Now, my oldest son is home after finishing his first semester of college and we are all a little in awe that we are here. We are a new improved version of the “us” I have always known and loved, but we are all getting to now the new individuals we have become in our time apart. Moving beyond the Christmas pageant phase of our life is not the same as moving a kid out of the house, I know, but parts of it feel the same. Just like last year, I feel us all stepping forward into a brave new world.
Now we are no longer a “little kid” family. Toys R Us is not the mothership anymore. We are growing up from top to bottom, so I’ve decided to take my cues from the carol “Auld Lang Syne.” Not just a song about old friends, I like what it says about being graceful and open to the passage of time. I like the parts about moving into the future without denying the past. Sure there has to be a last Christmas pageant, just like there was a first, but there is no use fighting it or crying about it.
Auld Lang Syne. Time goes by. So it does and so do we right along with it. There is nothing to do but turn this chapter and wait eagerly for what is to come.
‘Tis the season for gift guides, and we are pros at it. We have lists for the teens in your life: boys and girls. We have a guide for men and a specific one for kitchen gadgets.
But there is one gift we want to recommend that is so fabulous, it could be on any of the lists we’ve published: Jord Watches!
These beauties are made from all natural, untreated wood except for the the clasp and back which are stainless steel. How unique is that? And just look at how they’re packaged! The gorgeous gift box is silky smooth wood with a lid that slides back to reveal your timepiece nestled on its very own pillow. It really broadcasts from the moment it’s unwrapped that this is something special.
And it truly is. This is the gift for the people on your list who:
You love the most and want to “wow.”
Are the hardest to buy for because they have everything.
Are very style conscious.
Like only natural products to touch their skin.
Jord was kind enough to share two watches with us for our honest opinion, and honestly, we love them! We wear them all of the time, but it was so much easier to have our lovely daughters model them for photos. Now the only problem is they want to wear them all of the time. We should have known better, but there are birthdays and graduation coming up in the new year. Hmmmmm.
Erin received this stylish Zebrawood one from the Cora series:
I keep having to steal this watch back from my daughter. It is stunning when you put it up against her gorgeous red hair, so I understand why she would want it. But as a teacher by day, I love looking down at my wrist and seeing this watch’s pretty face to keep me on track. It totally brightens my every day, so she can’t have it to herself just yet.
I love being able to see the inner workings of my Dover watch. After years of using my cellphone as my timepiece, it’s nice to get back to something that feels so organic. I get compliments every time I wear it, including one from my hipster graphic designer brother-in-law. He noticed it right away at Thanksgiving. It’s not often I feel that cool.
So seriously, if you love someone, get them the perfect gift: Jord Watches. Shipping is free, even internationally, and Jord will even size it for you before it is sent out. With its one year guarantee, you can feel secure giving the gift of style this holiday season.
So you decided one fine December that it would be super swell to make photo books as holiday gifts for the grandparents, siblings, and aunts. And it was . . . but it was so much work. So. Much. Work.
But they loved them, and they fawned over you, and now it’s your thing. Your stressful, time-sucking thing. But you know in your heart it doesn’t have to be that hard. If you just knocked them out earlier in the year it wouldn’t be so bad. Right? RIGHT?! New Year’s resolution time: jump on Shutterfly in January and BOOM, Christmas shopping will be done before the calendar even flips a page.
But things come up, time gets away from you, and then suddenly . . .
It’s dawn on December 5th when you realize the 50% discount–THE BEST OFFER OF THE YEAR–ends at midnight.
Procrastination be damned and with Shutterfly as your witness, you will get the photo books done today!
But first Facebook.
NO! FOCUS! Must start culling through 30 bajillion photos. Because digital.
Declare Part B of your new New Year’s resolution is to delete bad photos as you go along.
(No, you won’t.)
Figure out that NOT ONE of the 50 pictures you shot on burst for the family portrait has everyone looking good (or at least looking at the camera) at the same time.
Spend an hour on PicMonkey frankensteining a photo that is album cover worthy.
Hell, while you’re at it, touch up your roots and whiten your teeth in that one fab picture of yourself in front of the tree.
Crap, you need to get the kids to school.
Okay, focus. Just pick some pictures so a book can actually happen.
Start upload of 331 photos.
Celebrate with your 4th cup of coffee before 10:00 AM because now you can begin the fun stuff of designing your book.
Come back with your 5th mug of coffee and realize not all of the photos are on the site because your internet connection glitched in the middle of your upload.
Go through the tiny thumbnails and figure out what’s missing.
Schedule an appointment with the eye doctor to see if you need glasses.
Start another upload.
Swear you’ll upload your pictures immediately after Christmas this year.
(No you won’t.)
While upload is completing (you won’t dare walk away this time because your broken spirit is too heavy to drag along), pick out the perfect theme.
Treat yourself to a 6th cup of coffee because you picked out the perfect theme in three minutes.
Oh nardbolts, it is one that costs extra.
Go back and settle on a different theme. Convince yourself that your basic family will like the basic theme.
Check on the upload.
Accidentally pause upload because your hands are shaking.
Make yourself a sandwich to soak up the caffeine.
Start the book.
Forty minutes later panic–because while they are PERFECTLY placed–you only have three pictures in your album and it’s now time to pick the kids up from school.
Grind on the homework/dinner/practice/bedtime hamster wheel.
Grab a latte to get you through.
Four hours later get back on Shutterfly.
Add a shot of Bailey’s to your coffee because you realize you only have 45% of one page created.
Pass out on the keyboard because you are EXHAUSTED.
Wake up at 4:00 AM. Succumb to gnashing of teeth and rending of garments BECAUSE YOU MISSED THE DEADLINE!
Start Google search to see how much you could get for a kidney to pay for full price photo books.
Check email and see–can it be true??–the 50% deal has been extended by ONE DAY.
Fall to your knees weeping the praises of Shutterfly and promising to use this second chance to end your procrastinating ways once and for all.
(No you won’t.)
Get the kids to school and crank up that Keurig because momma’s got a photo book to complete.
Bust through 30 pages like a woman possessed by ignoring your family and squashing all semblances of holiday cheer. Hit submit at 11:52 PM.
Revel in those eight minutes to spare.
Be stricken with complete amnesia when those glorious orange boxes show up on your doorstep.
Teens are a notoriously tough crowd, so we get the sheer panic at trying to buy a gift for them. A stack of gift cards or a card stuffed with cash would certainly be appreciated, but there is no need to shy away from at least trying to surprise them. In the past, we have created lists just for teen girls and teen guys, but this year there is something for everyone in our teen gift guide. Miracles can happen. Perhaps you will find just the right gift to make your holiday sparkle a little brighter this year. Take a look!
Just For Fun
Don’t forget that teens are just kids who shave and drive. Get them back in touch with their inner child with some of these fun gifts!
Teens love water and electronics, but these two things don’t mix well. An especially good idea for your favorite lifeguard or swimmer, this shuffle will deliver their tunes and help keep their other electronics safe.
This is the perfect gift for any audiovisually inclined teen. The microphone works easily with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras alike. This mean that whether he’s recording his video game reviews or she’s showing off her dance moves, your future YouTube sensation will have supersonic, crystal clear audio.
Screw these into any can or track lighting, and you have awesome Bluetooth speakers plus a light show. By downloading an app, you control it all from your smartphone. Teens will appreciate the two-in-one approach to the fun.
Just use the app to connect this printer to any smartphone. Simply choose a photo and it will create a small, instant Instax print of the photo. Lots of people can connect to it at once which makes it great for parties and a winner for any tech-y, photo-loving teen.
Games Teens Play
Here’s a tip: a plain old deck of Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards is a great stocking stuffer. Our teens love good old-fashioned cards, but if you want to get a little fancier, here are some winners we like.
Your teens will love it as much as ours do. They love teaming up as disease-fighting specialists in this one. If the disease spreads, everybody loses. If they contain the outbreak, they all win. Family fun and peace in one box. Fa-la-la-la-la.
Looking for some active fun? This game combines elements of virtually all outdoor games and lawn sports. Throwing, catching, strategy, teamwork, offense, and defense are part of every toss in game play.
Watney’s humor and humanity breathe life into this well-paced and thoughtfully constructed story about a man’s struggle for survival in an unforgiving environment. His plucky ultimate underdog self will win teen hearts as the real science sprinkled throughout engages their minds.
This story of first love is peopled with high schoolers the way we remember them and know them now. Funny, sweet, vulnerable, flawed, and deeply striving for love, acceptance, and independence, these are characters to cheer for and your teens will. The Barnes and Noble sales rack calls this a teen romance. It’s so much more. A buoyant, wonderful read that makes a perfect gift.
If you have a music-loving teen, this gift is thoughtful and practical. No ads, total control over what songs they hear, and the ability to keep the music playing even without phone service make Spotify a winner.
Got an athlete? This combination step tracker + GPS sport watch tracks steps, pace, distance covered and calories burned. It will even tell you to get up and get moving if you have been hanging around too long.
Made from super-strong, orange nylon webbing, this camera strap attaches to the camera’s tripod socket. Hanging upside down at your side rather than around your neck and available in two versions, one that goes over your shoulder and another that goes across your body like a typical R-strap, this is a special gift for your photo-junkie teen.
Hope these help you have the happiest of holidays!
Do you feel like the holidays are one raging whitewater current sweeping you up in October and dumping you onto the barren shore just south of New Year’s Eve? Or is it north of? Either way . . .
Picture us yelling that at you with a Charlie Brown style force sufficient to send you somersaulting backwards. Which reminds us, we need to dig out our copies of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Pronto. Oh wait, that’s what Netflix is for. Look at us, we just wiped one thing off of our to-do lists.
Anyway, what we really want to convey is that while we loooooovvve the holidays, they can be a bit overwhelming. And we’re thinking we aren’t alone. Doesn’t everyone’s festivities land somewhere between any Hallmark movie ever and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?
We tell you all about it in this podcast (player is at the bottom of the post). In fact this book served as a launching pad for recounting our own holiday stories of hijinx.
We’ll tell you about
The year Thanksgiving dinner came out of a blender.
Why “BOOM GOES THE TURKEY LEG” is Erin’s personal battle cry.
The Pilgrimages to Poland for mechanical Santas. (You can SEE what we are talking about here.)
The year Ellen buzzed through Christmas on her Jazzy.
And finally, the miracle that will whittle down your outside decorating efforts to locating one extension cord: Star Shower Laser Lights. Ellen gives you the highlights in the podcast, but since we know you will want one, you can get your own here on Amazon. See how it shows up even on Ellen’s brick house? Amazing. You can use the green setting during Halloween and the red and green setting for Christmas.
If you have a hankering for our full buffet of holiday fare, behold.