Category: Holiday Picks

A Chanukkah gift set from Vosges that takes the holiday cake or, er, chocolate.

Those of you who don’t celebrate may not know that before Christmas became the blockbuster that it is today, Chanukkah was a pretty quiet affair. And as hard as Chanukkah tries to keep up (at least in my house where we celebrate both holidays), it’s always a few steps behind Christmas. Until now. The Festival of Lights Chanukkah gift set from Vosges gourmet chocolates is swanky—and delicious—enough to make Chanukkah the winter holiday. At least that’s how eight days of chocolate makes me feel. Like everything that Vosages does, this gift set is beautifully designed. The lucite menorah, which I had the chance...

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10 creative ways to change up your holiday cards this year

We can’t believe it, but it’s time to start thinking about holiday cards–if you haven’t already. (And if you’re already done, we bow down to you.) We have to admit we’re a little excited though. Don’t you love checking your mailbox in December and seeing stacks of cards (i.e. not bills) inside? If you want your holiday cards to stand out from the rest, we’ve put together some creative ideas for you on behalf of our newest sponsor, Pear Tree Greetings. We’re so happy to discover how beautiful and surprising affordable their custom cards are. Check out these ten ideas, and we hope...

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Happy Halloween, cool parents!

          Happy Halloween to all the cool parents out there. Or anyone who has spent countless hours of their lives putting together costumes that come home ripped and stained with little chocolate fingerprints. Enjoy that candy stash. We can diet tomorrow. -Liz, Kristen, and Team Cool Mom Picks PS Still need last minute Halloween help? We’re here for...

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The ultimate last-minute Halloween idea guide: Costumes, treats, recipes, printables, crafts, decor, pumpkins and more.

We have featured so many fun Halloween posts this year–and years past, too–featuring our favorite Halloween ideas of all kinds. Including the last minute ones. We’re talking dozens of recipes for treats both healthy and uh….well, you know. Plus costume ideas, printables, decor, pumpkin carving ideas, crafts, music and apps for kids, even cocktails just for you. Can you tell we like Halloween? Since we tend to be among those parents out there who always need last minute Halloween help–let’s call us busy, not procrastinators–we’ve put together the kind of list we’d like to find ourselves, featuring more than 50 helpful Halloween posts (whoa!) to...

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Ideas for cool Halloween classroom treats that aren’t candy

My kids came home this week excitedly telling me they could hand out something in school to their classmates for Halloween, provided it was gluten-free. So I started perusing the candy aisle before I thought…wait a minute! I’m supposed to give out Halloween classroom treats now, too? Between parties, other classmates and then the actual trick-or-treating I hardly think our little fun-size sugar-filled whatever would be appreciated. However, because I am so not the kind of mom who is going to spend half a day hand-creating 54 impressive little DIY mini pumpkins for my kids to hand out, I looked for some fun simple idea that the...

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A twist on holiday photo cards that’s shiny and bright (and pretty darn neat)

Holiday photo cards have become such indelible parts of the season, they’re right up there with shiny wrapping paper, gift-giving, Cyber Monday sales, and gingerbread lattes at Starbucks. (Take a seat, PSL™, you’ll have had your time by then). Since some of you are already asking us about cool holiday photo cards–and we bow down to you–the first really newsworthy ones have come across your desks. This year, the talented folks at Artifact Uprising, whose gorgeous photo books our readers have all gone nuts for, have added a cool twist to the usual holiday greeting tradition with a clever new 3-in-1 Photo Card. It’s...

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A Halloween gingerbread house? Oh yeah.

I typically think of gingerbread houses as a Christmas tradition, but my family is usually so slammed with other activities then that we don’t get around to it. So this year I’m thinking, why not build a candy house for the holiday that’s all about candy? As in Halloween. And now making said Halloween gingerbread house  is super easy with the Haunted House Decorating Kit from our creative friends at Sweet Thrills Bakeshop.   We were so happy with their edible menorah kits last year that we’re sure this Haunted House kit will be delicious too. It includes everything you need, from black gingerbread pieces to make...

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8 of the most outrageously creative Halloween invitations: Vampires, ravens, and voodoo, oh my.

Halloween is coming soon, and it’s time to plan our parties. First up: invitations. And not just any Halloween invitations, but seriously impressive, over-the-top, creative Halloween party invitations this year. If you’re not up for the print-and-ship status quo, as cool as those can be, find inspiration from thee invitations that tell your guests this is one party not to be missed. Then make sure the party lives up to the promise. Note: we recommend sending these by owl post instead of regular old Muggle mail.   There’s something that makes me feel a little uncertain about vintage medical supplies, and this amber apothecary...

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Minted foil pressed holiday cards: Order now at a discount, personalize later. (We know, you’re busy!)

Even though it’s just the beginning of fall, before you know (and we hate to say it) the holidays will be here soon. If you’re like us, that means when they crees up, you’ll be doing your best to frantically knock as many items off of your holiday checklist as possible in the least amount of time. We admit it, we’ve been there. We will be there again until probably forever. And we know we’re not alone. Thanks to one of our very favorite partners, Minted, you can tackle a big holiday to-do list item right now: ordering holiday cards. If you’ve got that gorgeous photo...

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Sweet Chocolate Jesus Saves Your Easter

Lent is over, Easter is here, and while the kids are swimming in jelly beans and Peeps, we think it’s only fair that the adults get a little indulgence of their own. And that’s where the Chocolate Jesus comes in. This is no ordinary chocolate Jesus (should you be accustomed to the ordinary ones). Handcrafted at Bond Street Chocolates in NYC from solid chocolate and covered in gold foil, he’s primed to steal the thunder back from the Easter Bunny in all his delicious, chocolate-y glory. Plus, one would hope he’d be more forgiving of his own calories. You...

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16 of the most adorable Easter basket gift ideas for kids: It’s raining bunnies and chicks!

Make your kids’ Easter baskets a hundred times more adorable by adding some playful chicks and bunnies to your list of Easter basket gift ideas for kids–of course along with some of our favorite Easter candy and Easter-themed gifts. Our recos are almost entirely indie-made, and we promise that none of them include a five-foot purple stuffed rabbit. Though we can’t guarantee that won’t be the grandparents’ pick.     Wee Gallery’s new set of 12 animal kids’ animal tattoos makes a nice alternative to more candy in the basket. Featuring a bunny, dog, and cat, they may end up on the...

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Not just chocolate covered matzah…chocolate covered buttercrunch matzah. Best Passover food ever?

In years past, we’ve strongly suggested that you bring chocolate covered matzah as a gift to your seder hosts. Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers? Because this time, I say you keep this Chocolate Buttercrunch Matzah from Undercover Chocolate all for yourself. Selfish? It’s the matzah talking! Just look at this genius Passover treat we spotted at Mouth, all layered with buttery toffee, dark chocolate, and roasted pecans. Can you blame me for wanting it all to myself? I suppose you could buy two boxes, one for you and another for your host. That’s definitely the more generous...

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Happy 2014, cool moms!

Thanks, from the bottom of our hearts, to all of you for spending your 2013 with us. Whether you’re here daily, once in a while, or one of those super awesome parents who check in 18 times a day to see what’s new. (Not that we favor one reader over another.) Here’s to an amazing, and we hope pretty caffeinated 2014. Peace. -Kristen, Liz, and Team Cool Mom...

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Merry Christmas, cool moms and dads!

We hope that whatever you end up doing today (and whatever your kids are playing with) that your day is full of joy, love, and, if you’ve been very very good this year, a big fat afternoon nap. Wishing you a very merry Christmas! -Kristen, Liz, and Team Cool Mom...

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Link Roundup: Last minute holiday help. We’re here for you!

We’re winding down around here for the holidays because hey, we’ve been so busy putting together helpful posts for all of you, we have our own families to start tending to! If you’re like us, and still scrambling a bit, we hope these links can help you out.   Easy treats for Santa so quick, the kids can help make them too. Need a great gift for a kid? Check out the best books for kids of 2013. Free printable gift tags and gift wrap. 14 Creative gift wrap ideas… and then 12 more gift wrap ideas. Holiday Pinterest boards filled...

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Last minute gift ideas: Lots of ideas when you have little or no time to spare

Last minute gift ideas are always the toughest. You have all these last minute people you forgot about (with no offense to them–we get busy!) and suddenly you’re stuck with whatever you can find in the drugstore aisles. Fortunately the drugstore chains have gotten way better with the gift selections if happen to be any left by now. But as an alternative, try any of these gift ideas you can pull together fairly easily. I promise they’re actually quick–no tracking down beeswax to make candles or breaking out a sewing machine. And of course, make sure you wrap it...

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Mitten stockings: creative stocking idea in a pinch

Every so often, we end up with an unexpected visitor on Christmas who would of course need his or her own stocking. Once it was a friend’s child, once it was our dog who we forgot to hang a stocking for–who knew my kids would be so adamant about that one. So I think this mitten stocking idea at Martha Stewart is super clever. No, you don’t have to scramble for knitting supplies right now; even a leftover pair or an inexpensive pair at a local discount store could do the trick, unless you want the mittens themselves to...

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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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Hallmark rewards you for sending the cards you’d send anyway. Hey, thanks!

– Don’t miss a $500 giveaway we put together just for Cool Mom Picks readers! – As big proponents of sending cards (and saving the ones we receive ourselves, for all of eternity), we’re pretty excited to see just how many beautifully designed, modern cards are being offered by our partner Hallmark these days. Because let’s be honest, we’re often the ones in the local drugstore days before Christmas, stocking up for all those last minute invitations and visitors. And we are picky. As you well know.  No, we didn’t design this but we want to hire whomever did.  ...

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A cool modern take on the holiday wreath that’ll never wilt or shed

I had a lovely Christmas wreath once. But then the cat got to it. You can only clean up so much pine barf before your door goes naked. And that’s why I love this fabulous and unexpected take on the traditional door-hanging: it’s natural, but not too natural. Our pals at Cardboard Safari have taken their laser-cut recycled cardboard creations to the land of the holidays and emerged with a variety of holiday wreaths and tabletop Christmas trees. Each one comes in white or natural brown cardboard and can be easily assembled at home. The white ones can be...

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Holiday decorating and entertaining made stylish and easy thanks to The Prowl

With only 15 days left until Christmas (yep, we went there), we’re in full-on holiday decorating mode, which is why we’re loving how easy our partner The Prowl makes it to find everything we need, or uh, might have forgotten. All with just a few clicks. And no packing up the kids in the car to run to the store either. -Don’t miss a great $500 giveaway below!- The Prowl  has taken social shopping to a whole new level, and it’s not just checking out your friends’ boards to know what to buy her for Christmas (though that is a...

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Presenting the 2013 Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide, with more than 200 of the coolest ideas. Whoo!

We are beyond thrilled to launch our 8th annual Holiday Gift Guide, with more than 200 gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. We did not mess around this year, mamas. And we’ve got an awesome new format to make it even easier to find the things you love. You’ll find all sorts of cool, unique holiday gifts for all the special people in your life, from all those cool kids in your life, to sentimental grandparents and the BFF who needs a little extra love this year. From your favorite fashionistas to guys with an uncomfortable obsession with...

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This cute and crafty DIY calendar kit has us in stitches. Literally.

I’ve always been pretty crafty. Problem is, I’ve also always been kind of unmotivated to gather up all the materials required for said craftiness. So I’ll get these great ideas for homemade holiday gifts and then never follow through. Until now! I’ve found an adorable embroidery DIY calendar kit from Heather Lins Home that will leave me with no excuses but to cross-stitch my heart out as soon I get my hands on it. The 2014 Year in Stitches Calendar Kit comes with everything you need to stitch your way through the months of the year. All twelve months...

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Reusable gift bags that could fit in Santa’s pockets

I like to keep a stash of gifts on hand to give to those last-minute people I totally forgot to shop for— bottles of Essie nail polish for my kids’  room moms, or Starbucks gift cards for the piano teacher—you know, just in case. But it never fails that I have the gift but no reusable gift bag to pop it in without much fuss. The Etsy shop 1 Pixie Place has a huge selection of muslin bags, and I’ve scanned through them to choose some of my favorites. Whew, it was hard to pick just a few! They’d be perfect for...

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Gifts that give back: These ornaments could change the world. For real.

Some of our favorite ornaments this year are more than just pretty baubles for your tree. They just might cure breast cancer, save an endangered species, or transform the life of women living in extreme poverty. Pretty impressive. The shiny green and red heart ornament (above) was designed by Mariska Hargitay and supports Child Mind, a non-profit focused on transforming mental heath care for kids everywhere. Love that. ($40) This adorable little bigfoot yeti comes from Ten Thousand Villages, an online retailer sourced completely by disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries worldwide. This particular guy was crafted in the foothills...

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How do you explain Thanksgiving to kids? 3 great videos to help

I know I’m not the only parent who wonders how do you explain Thanksgiving to kids, beyond, “well, we eat turkey and stuffing and Uncle Fred always drinks too much of his special juice.” (That’s hyperbolic by the way; I don’t have an Uncle Fred. That you know of.) So here are two of my favorite resources that have really helped me explain the historical significance of Thanksgiving in a fun, engaging way, even if I still need to fill in a few blanks.   First of all, Schoolhouse Rock is still a go-to educational source for me, all...

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Mailing a lump of coal is expensive. Send Santa’s Black Letter to your naughty list instead.

With just a little over a month until Christmas, it’s a great time to send a letter from Santa. In this case, not so much a typical “you’ve been good this year” note, but a cheeky warning message to someone who’s landed on your naughty list. And we’ve found just the folks to do it. Santa’s Black Letter is a customizable missive that arrives with all the pomp of a Hogwarts Howler, minus the shrieking. You select from three letters, choose your font, and add custom messages in the body. If you have something more specific to say, you...

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Baby’s First Hanukkah Gift Ideas. Just the good ones.

Yes, there’s always that “Baby’s First Hanukkah” bib that you’ll use for 8 nights, max. But we dug to help find gift ideas for your baby’s first Hanukkah that are just a wee bit cooler than some of the others. Hebrew letter blocks  ($34, Uncommon Goods) Uncle Goose makes some of our favorite blocks, including a great foreign language selection. The Hebrew ones are perfect for baby — and could give her a leg up on identifying the Gimel on the dreidel quickly.     Little Pim English/Hebrew DVD Set ($59.99, or $34.99 for Digital Download, Little Pim) The very...

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Our free holiday shopping survival guide notebook template from Springpad helps keep you sane.

featured partner If you’re like us, then you’re already swimming in holiday to-do lists. With Thanksgiving and Hanukkah running right into December, we’re feeling a little behind. Or actually a lot. And so, we look for holiday shopping tips and lists to help us out. But as much as we love pre-made lists, they’re definitely not one-type fits all, which means we use them for a few days and then often end up ditching them. You too? That’s why we’re so excited to tell you about our new collaboration with Springpad, who we’ve loved even before they became one...

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