All posts tagged: Christmas

The Season of Giving In

I’m just going to come out and say it: I am not doing well. I am spent. I am drained. And now we are entering the season of giving? Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am tapped out. I’m a mom of two boys, two and four years old. They are brilliant little crazed monkey lunatics. My heart is on my sleeve and in my throat every minute of the day. It’s exhausting. Strangers see my tight face in the grocery store as my boys have a screaming match in aisle 9 and offer me, “These are the days! You don’t want to miss them!” Seriously? Cause I gotta tell ya, if I ever have a moment to myself, I am daydreaming about dropping them both off at a highly-rated Charter school with after-hour yoga care while I, I don’t know, take a hike or finish reading a paragraph in a magazine or simply do the dishes without someone clinging to my leg or wiping their nose on my jeans. I’m also gut-wrenchingly …

13 Homemade Gifts that Don’t Suck

I’d guess I was about seven or eight when I made my dad an ashtray for Christmas. I’m pretty sure everyone in art class made their parents ashtrays for the holidays that year. We might even have been told to. Who knows. Mine was quite the specimen. It looked like I had taken a misshapen ball of clay, jumped on it with a pogo stick, dropped it and then fell on it. Oh – and stabbed it in with an eraser and etched a shamrock on the side with a pencil (because I actually did those things). Had my parents smoked, it at least would have been a practical gift – function not form and all. (In my defense, the glaze was spectacular. A nice emerald green. Ye olde Irish ashtray.) Let this be a lesson: Don’t do stupid homemade gifts. Don’t decoupage anything, don’t use papier mache unless you actually have talent, and – whatever you do – don’t bedazzle anything. NOTHING. Hear me? If you’re dying to express your creativity or don’t have …

11 Gift Guides From a Few of Our Favorite Women Bloggers

We are smack in the middle of the alleged most wonderful time of the year, and I have one question: Are you still shopping? Because I am. And when I’m in this kind of cyber-December-retail mode, there is no enabler like the internet, home of gift roundups of every size and focus. Some of our favorite women online have made lists of the best gift ideas for anyone on your list. If you’re still out in the internet streets looking for the as-yet elusive perfect gift for anyone or everyone, I can help. Read on: 1. The gift guides at Petit Elefant include this one with great ideas for women. The Complete Works of Jane Austen in a beautiful hardcover boxed set and a blanket scarf from ModCloth are just two of the picks your sister, your mom, or your best friend are likely to love.   2. The gift guides at Girl of a Certain Age are a double treat—packed with cool presents, and fun to read. I’m loving her list of gifts that …

8 Gifts You Can Buy at the Drugstore Super Last-Minute

I know all of you smart people are done with your holiday shopping, and I’m proud of you, honestly. Every year, I fight my natural procrastinating tendencies; some years I win, some I lose. But even when I’m ahead of the game, I invariably find myself short one present on my way to a gift giving event with nothing but a drug store in front of me. This year, I decided to do something about that. Not buy my presents earlier, duh. I decided to plan for that moment, for me and for all of us. I plundered my own local drug stores to find gift suggestions for when you’ve literally waited until the last second to buy presents and you don’t want to look like the dummy you kind of are. 1. A digital camera CVS has a beefy photo and camera section where I found this cute Vivitar digital camera my own 9-year-old daughter uses. They’re small, durable and, best of all, inexpensive, so no need for monitoring, even with very young kids. …

Midlife Mixtape: Albums, Books and Other Music-Inspired Gifts

O Holy Night, it’s already end of November and I’ve done zero holiday shopping so far this year – whoops. Normally all that’s left for me buy by December 1 are the tangerines for the toe of the Christmas stocking (that go uneaten in favor of the chocolate, but at least I try for the healthy option.) Not this year –  2016 kept knocking me down every time I got up. Suck it, 2016. No tangerine for you. I do, however, have lots of ideas for Christmahannakwaanzukah gifts for the music lovers, book readers, and sense of humor-havers in your lives. Some caveats: I believe in paying creative people for their work, so I still buy albums and print books (for which the musician/author gets a much higher royalty percentage.) I encourage you to shop locally. And this year in particular, I’m trying to find products that are made in parts of our country where manufacturing jobs have been lost. Maybe if people weren’t so disaffected and hopeless about the economy, they wouldn’t have been …

6 Gifts That Give Back — With Style

There’s no denying that the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for self-defeating habits and thoughts: We eat too much, sleep too little, plan more than could possibly be done and then feel bad about all of the above. Really, though, the holidays are meant to be a time to feel joy and happiness and sweet relief from the daily grind. Fortunately, there is gift giving to help us correct the balance. There’s a particular thrill to getting just the right gift for a friend or family member you love—and we all know the simple trick of doubling your pleasure with a gift that “gives back” (with a portion of the proceeds supporting a cause you care about). But let me propose a third dimension of uplift and awesome: By buying one of these gifts that give back, we are also funding the thriving American ecosystem of idealistic entrepreneurs, the believers and doers who literally can’t sleep at night because someone is hurting, hungry or in need. Each of the below organizations is about helping …

8 Seriously Cool Subscription Services to Give This Year

In 2015, as Facebook algorithms remind us to ping each other with birthday e-cards and Amazon gets closer to making deliveries by drone, the idea of gifting someone a jelly of the month — an anything of the month — feels quaintly retro. Strike that: It feels right. Send your favorite humans some good-old-fashioned, curated-and-dispatched-by-real-people, recurring snail-mail love. (It doesn’t have to be jelly.) 1. Vinyl Me, Please The “best damn record club today” kicks off your recipient’s new bespoke music library with one of their special-edition color LPs (think Wilco’s AM in swirling marigold, or a limited-edition clear pressing of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear). Each month thereafter, they’ll send a new album, a 12”x12” art print inspired by the album and a custom cocktail recipe pairing. Starts at $99 for 3 months + 1 bonus album, vinylmeplease.com   2. One Story Your favorite bookworm might now prefer an e-reader to full-sized tomes — I get it, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to read War and Peace on the subway a few years ago …

7 Handmade Gifts for Your Girlfriends

Here at TueNight we love to think of ourselves as crafty and creative, but the fact is we’re busy and distracted and still haven’t quite finished that scarf we started knitting in 2007. That’s why we’re grateful for our relationship with Great.ly and the textile designers, artists, jewelry makers, knitters and carpenters who actually put their tremendous skills to use. There’s no better way to say “I care” than by giving something handmade while supporting a true artisan. You can finish that scarf next year. 1. Flower Designs Coloring Book For your work friend who knows more about your daily life struggles than your mom does. These grown-up coloring books are ravishingly pretty yet inexpensive enough to justify as a sweet treat. And there’s a reason these books are trendy among stressed-out adults; they’re highly meditative. $15, great.ly 2. Gold foil lip print There’s something so Debbie Harry about these luxe gold lips. Remind your old college pal of your youthful indiscretions with this fabulous minimalist print. $43, great.ly 3. Leather and copper air plant …

10 Hostess Gifts They’ll Actually Want to Use

Our household throws a lot of parties. And although I’ve never expected a hostess gift for our efforts, it’s always lovely to receive something thoughtful. Host gifts are tricky gifting — you don’t want to clutter up someone’s home, but you also don’t want to be the odd guest out who arrives empty-handed. With those caveats in mind, I’ve pulled together my dream list of host gifts — all for less than $50. 1. Linen Dish Towels I love receiving gifts that are a luxurious upgrade to life’s regular, cruddy routines. These natural linen hand towels are the luxurious upgrade you didn’t know your dishes wanted. $32, Etsy.com 2. Footed Aeirum Upgrade your host’s desktop with this adorably footed container for some sweet little plants. Moss, lichens and Tillandsia will change as they grow, or you can add an air plant (starting at $14) for even more magic. $32, floragrubb.com 3. Multi-function Cake Stand Responsible for bringing a dessert? Leave behind this multipurpose cake stand, which also becomes a chip-and-dip platter, punch bowl and salad …

Gift Wrapping Tips For Every Type of Gift (You’re Welcome)

Growing up, my mom and I had the best agreement a person with a love for wrapping could hope for: I wrapped ALL the presents and, in return, not only did I get to know what everyone was getting but my mom would also indulge my every wrapping-supply whim.  For me, wrapping presents always starts with the theme. Yes, that’s right…THE THEME. I’m pretty sure it all started when I was about 13 when she dared to suggest I use the — gasp — leftover paper that had been sitting in the wrapping bin for, like, the last 100 years. And, in true teenage fashion, I’m sure I gave her that look that only teens can give that said, No Way. Mom then decided my wrapping skills were worth a few extra rolls of new paper. Each year, I chose a set of colors and/or design attributes — a theme. Some years, it would be the classic red and green or silver and gold or a delightful plaid. I would gather my supplies, turn on a …

12 Gifts for Aspiring Bartenders & Drink Lovers

Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, moving some to try their hand at making these drinks at home for gatherings or for themselves; avoiding the $15 per drink cost. For those who want to revive the lost art of home hospitality and entertaining, or for those who just love the art of drinks, here’s a list of gifts that any expert or novice would love. 1. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds  Ice is one of the most important things for bartenders to consider. If a stirred drink calls for a cube of ice or someone requests a whiskey on the rocks, a good bartender will reach for one solid hunk of clear ice both for appearance and to provide the slowest dilution rate possible — no one wants a watered down drink. Though bartenders in Japan will hand carve these spheres, these silicone molds are the easiest way to make them at home. $10, amazon.com 2. Cocktail Kit with Canvas and Leather Tote For those who love to travel and show off their …

Comfort and Oy! Raising Kids in a Mixed-Faith Household

When my daughter was eight years old, she came home from school troubled. “Someone in my class said that Santa is not real,” she said. Her younger brother laughed. “But of course Santa is real! Otherwise, who’s that guy at the mall?” Thankfully, my daughter seemed satisfied with this answer. I sighed with relief and, not for the first time, thought, “I am completely unequipped to handle this Santa stuff.” I grew up Jewish, in a suburb of Boston. We celebrated Chanukah. We did not have a Christmas tree, or give each other Christmas presents. On Christmas day we did what all Jewish people do: we saw a movie and then went out for Chinese food. Many of the kids in my neighborhood, and in my school, were Jewish, so it never occurred to me to feel left out, or different. I married an Episcopalian, and while neither of us is terribly religious, both of us feel it’s very important to pass our family traditions on to our children. So we celebrate both Easter and …

Role Reversal: When My Mom Went Back to School

Four days prior to Christmas, I was the idiot running around Target with a cart full of decorations to put up around my home because apparently I need to invest in a calendar to tell me that a major holiday is fast approaching and perhaps I should think about, you know, participating in some way. Here is photographic evidence of my 10 p.m. Friday night shenanigans. Unfortunately there is no selfie of my look of panic as I decided how many strings of lights I needed for a yet-to-be-purchased tree. This past holiday season was the first in which I had to take the lead. There was no mother around to purchase a tree and make sure the cat didn’t try to use it as a jungle gym. She wasn’t there to put out the photos my younger brother and I had taken with Santa or to tell me which ornaments should go where. I don’t know about your mother, but my mother always just made the spirit of Christmas and all that encompasses it …