Month: December 2013

18 little holiday joys with your kids–mostly free. As most little joys are.

As much as we love shopping and big surprises and our seasonal visit to the Nutcracker at BAM and shopping some more, I’m well aware that some of the greatest treats of the season are the little things. So I hope you’ll like this list that I put together as a contributor to the Amex Tumblr: 18 Little Holiday Joys with Your Kids. I thought about the small joys that shouldn’t be overlooked in the craziness of the season, like sharing favorite holiday movies together, knowing every lyric to Partridge in a Pear Tree, or watching a child suspend disbelief...

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10 of our favorite subscription gift boxes. Because it’s never too late to give gifts in the future.

Last year, we brought you 10 of the best subscription gift boxes we could find. And this year, we’re adding on to the list because there are so many new exciting entries. (Geez, remember when it was just Birchbox? Although we do still love them.) So put down that boring last-minute gift card and instead give a card promising indulgent goodies into the new year, even after all that Christmas glitter has worn off. For the classy dame who’s not afraid to take beauty risks: Bergamot This is hands-down my favorite subscription box ever. Each month, three carefully curated artisan...

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Printable Nutcracker paper dolls bring the magic to a coffee table near you.

Forget overpriced seating and an emergency potty break right before the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. Thanks to these gorgeous printable Nutcracker paper dolls from CMP favorite Sarah Jane, now you can enjoy the magic of one of our favorite holiday traditions any time, any place, and with the most beautiful or ridiculous dances your kids can devise. The Nutcracker Paper Dolls and Puppet Theater includes PDF printables of the stage proscenium and 13 Nutcracker characters. Just print them out on heavy card stock, cut and assemble. Then, crank the Nutcracker soundtrack from Spotify (The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra recording...

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Great experience gifts for kids, because memories make for awesome presents.

When we’re asked for ideas for a great gift for the kid who has everything–or even those who don’t–the first thing that comes to mind for me are experience gifts . They don’t have to be expensive at all, or they can be super splurgey. An experience gift can be an activity you do with the kids, or something they do on their own. So broaden your mind if you’re still stumped for gifts–we’ve got some fun idea starters, along with some thoughts on how to package an experience gift so your kids have more to open under the...

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One toy in, one toy out: Used toy donations to help kids in need this holiday season

Especially with so many services that help facilitate toy donations, there is nothing more sad to me than seeing a perfectly good plastic toy sitting by the curb on garbage day. And yet, if you’re like me, you’re not quite sure who to call about the sand table gathering wet leaves in the back yard or the pile of electronic guitars and singing cars your kids accumulate over the years that you might be clearing out, especially with the new gifts coming in for Christmas. Now there’s a way to pass your formerly loved plastic toys on to children...

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6 chic, affordable accessories for New Year’s Eve. Plus, a way you could score them for free.

Featured Partner With all the holiday shopping I’m doing for everyone else, it’s been hard not to snatch up a few things for myself too. But then I remembered my New Year’s Eve plans, and oh look! Another excuse! Still, I may want a glitzy sequin bag for New Year’s but hey, I’m a mom. As much as we like splurges around here from time to time, I’m not about to spend $300 on a fancy clutch that I know I won’t use too often. I presume you’re the same way? Which is why I always like sharing smart ways...

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How to make Game of Thrones snowflakes. Because winter is coming.

We do not snow? Think again. Those Star Wars snowflakes from last year were out of this world, but now that we’ve discovered Game of Thrones snowflakes., we realize that we knew nothing, Jon Snow. Thanks to these free patterns, anyone can create beautiful snowflakes to celebrate their favorite — and least favorite — Game of Thrones family crests. (The Lannisters clearly belong in the pile with the yellow snowflakes.) Interactive designer and storyteller Krystal Higgins is our moon and stars for creating these 8 free printable JPEGs.  Houses include Baratheon, Greyjoy, Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, Martell, Tully, and Arryn. And...

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Gorgeous modern holiday table settings for some festive inspiration. And uh, hold the Waterford.

When I’ve spent hours working on the perfect Christmas meal, a great holiday table setting is important to me. Serving it on plastic Santa Claus plates with paper napkins is not really my thing, since I want to show my friends and family how much love went into the meal. Still, I want it to be simple enough that kids feel welcome, and I’m not ignoring my family all day to make the table look like something out of a too-perfect magazine spread. I’ve been inspired by these beautiful holiday table settings and the creative details, and I hope...

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15 of the funniest christmas cards. Zero fruitcake jokes.

As much as I love loving, sweet, from-the-heart holiday greetings, there are those family members of mine I can always count on to send the funniest Christmas cards. Here, 15 cards that made me laugh out loud. No guarantees we have the same sense of humor — but I do promise you no fart jokes, fruitcake references, or allusions to Christmas balls of any sort.   Above: Christmastopher Walken Christmas Card ($4.25, Seas and Peas) (Just who you want coming down your chimney in the middle of the night.) I’ve Been Watching You Christmas Card ($5, Finch and Hare) Hot Cocoa Christmas...

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The building blocks of our nation. Way more fun than that sounds.

I remember one of the first times I was interviewed by a media outlet, and they surprised me with an off-topic question: What’s the best safe toy for a child? I paused, then stammered, “Uh…blocks.” Not my finest moment. But the truth is, I do love giving blocks to kids. They’re perfect for toddlers, they grow with their imaginations as they hit kindergarten, and now even my young grade-schoolers can spend hours creating fantasy lands, stories, and made-up games with them. I’ve been a long-time fan of Uncle Goose Blocks, which not only have some incredibly creative and educational...

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