Category: Holiday Picks

Christmas stockings go handmade, and not a sequinned snowman to be found

More and more people are craving a handmade holiday season, from stockings to gifts. I understand the feeling of wanting to be surrounded by one-of-a-kind pieces that are unique and beautiful. When I was a young child, my aunt made my whole family handmade Christmas stockings with individual designs on each. I remember feeling so special when I saw my stocking. I want to do the same for my kids. One problem with that. I don’t sew. Well, yay for me! These handmade holiday stockings on Etsy are the perfect solution. These beautiful blue and green handmade Christmas stockings...

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Christmas cards go photobooth fabulous

How many of us are currently stressing out about our Christmas cards? Do we take pictures of the family? Do we keep it simple with card stock designs? Colorful? Plain? Traditional? Modern? Ahhh! Too many decisions! Well, let me give you some excellent advice concerning your annual cards. Pinhole Press, whom we already adore for their gorgeous holiday photo cards, has created this super fun option for all of us. I’m a fan! The Modern Triptych Photobooth card is a fun and playful way to show off your family’s personality. Create a modern gallery of your three most favorite images. Then...

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All the handmade advent calendars were hung by the chimney with care

There are so many ways to count down the days to Christmas, from beautiful artistic calendars, to fun DIY printables, to even 24 punk-rock tunes that’ll have you oi-ing around the kitchen. But if you want an advent calendar with loads and loads of “awwwwww”—and some eco goodwill tucked inside–look no further than these super-sweet diminutive stockings from this creative mama of four. And be sure to order soon in time for December 1! Cheerful Things designer Alicia Todd takes the best wool from rescued sweaters and scarves and turns it into the most adorable little creations like this colorful...

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Custom Christmas ornaments that you will swoon over

With Christmas just around the river bend (how very Pocahontas of me), the search for festive ornaments is underway. I like to hunt for ornaments, especially handmade ones, in unpredictable places, and my first visit is always Etsy. It’s my one-stop shop for unique and creative custom ornaments that won’t be seen on every other tree in my neighborhood. When I saw these pretty ornaments from Eleni Creative, I right away envisioned a rustic tree full of these beauties. Each one of these ornaments is handmade and takes her up to three hours to make–meaning it would take me twice...

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The most sophisticated Advent calendars for adults. (Truffles, anyone?)

I love Advent calendars as a way for my kids to count down to Christmas (did you catch our most recent picks?). But why should they be the only ones to have all the fun? If you’re looking for an Advent calendar that’s more sophisticated, here are some amazing options that you may want to grab before the first of December. –Christina I grew up eating waxy molded chocolates that I pulled out of the drugstore Advent calendar that my mom bought each year. Now that I’m grown up, I still love to find little treats, but I’d prefer them...

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Christmas is coming: better grab one of these six printable Advent calendars soon

I may still be full from the Thanksgiving feast, but I’m already thinking about decking those halls, trimming the tree, and getting my hands on an Advent calendar before December 1st rolls around. But no worries: You still have about a week to get ready for the start of December. The only tricky part? Picking which Advent calendar you like best from the printable gems we’ve found. Some of them are even free! –Christina This Santa Christmas Countdown from Inviting Printables is so cute. My kids would get a huge kick adding a cotton ball to his beard each day. I...

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The most gorgeous holiday cards this year are to die-cut for.

[Don’t miss a huge $250 Minted holiday card giveaway below PLUS an exclusive discount code for our readers!] There are those of us moms who swear we’ll get our holiday cards together in plenty of time this year, not have to race for a subpar photo, and not have to call them “New Year’s Cards”–and then…well, people who aren’t me. This year I’m vowing to start now. As in now. And the new collection from Minted gives me a good reason to actually do it. I’m so happy that this wonderful company is back as a sponsor, especially because...

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Clever photo gifts aren’t just for grandparents, you know. 5 great photo gift ideas that kids will love.

When you think of custom photo gifts, most people probably think of calendars for Grandma–sweet, but a bit predictable. So why not use photos to make gifts for the littlest members of your family too? Kids love to look at faces–especially familiar ones–so we think it’s a terrific idea to make custom photo gifts for our kiddos. For a few years, we’ve happened to love the quality of Pinhole Press holiday cards and photo products, so we’re thrilled to see some of the amazing new products they have out just in time for the holidays. Check out the collection...

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Ice cream in November? Heck, yeah.

As we head toward the season of celebration, I’m so excited to see the new fall flavors come in from CMP’s favorite little handmade custom ice cream shop, eCreamery. And to hear that they’re not too overwhelmed on shipping, now that their Shark Tank appearance fame is mellowing. If you’re missing Thanksgiving with the family this year, or spending time with one side of the fam instead of the other, it’s a cool way to ship a little love to their door…because goodness knows everyone can use more ice cream at Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Sampler Pack has four flavors...

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5 custom Mother’s Day gifts you can still get in time for Sunday!

With less than a week until Mother’s Day, you might have given up on the idea of custom Mother’s Day gifts, but that’s not actually the case. While you may pay a little extra for expedited shipping, you can still order a slew of cool personalized gifts from our Mother’s Day gift guide and get them on your doorstep in time for Sunday. But hurry!   The beautiful You Inspire Me bangle from Red Envelope (left) can be customized with a birthstone as well as special message, and is such a wonderful way to honor an inspiring mom (or...

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10 funny Mother’s Day cards for extra cool moms

Not every mom is a flowery, sappy Mothers Day card mom. There are a few of us who can appreciate something with just a little more sass, a little more sense of humor. For them, I’ve tracked down these ten cards that had me smirking, smiling, or flat out laughing. above: favorite mom so far $4 from 4four   swear card, $3.25 from michelle brusegaard motherhood is beautiful card, $3 from alternate greetings (inside: now let me pick that moist cheerio out of your hair so I can say it with a straight face.) my life would suck without you,...

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Easter eggs almost as natural as the ones that come out of a chicken

Every year, I try to find more eco-friendly alternatives to the ubiquitous plastic Easter eggs. And while I have seen reusable wood eggs and lovely handmade felt ones to fill, they can be pricey if you have to buy more than a few. This year, though, there is finally a real alternative that look just like those plastic eggs, but have a secret ingredient: Corn. Made here in the USA and started by candy-company owner and mama of two, Christine Lantinen, eco eggs look just like those plastic eggs we’ve hidden in the grass, bushes and trees for years. Only these...

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Five adorable Easter basket ideas for last-minute ordering

I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to Easter basket ideas, always shopping for my kids’ gifts a few days before the holiday and wishing I had planned ahead for once. But, this year, I’ve found a few special picks that you’ll need to buy now if you want to have them in those baskets by Easter morning. Related: 19 truly special Easter basket ideas that don’t include candy To start, you’ll want to make sure you have a basket, and I love Good Wishes Quilts natural cotton baskets that are just the right size for a few small...

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5 cool ways to ring in the Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year, mamas, or as my Chinese relatives say: Kung Hei Fat Choi. I’m doing a little extra celebrating this year because it’s the Year of the Dragon, which just so happens to be my own Zodiac sign. For those of you with babies being born this year, or kids who just want to get into the spirit, I’ve rounded up a bunch of cool gifts, crafts, books, and cards to help you and your kids celebrate The Year of the Dragon right along with me. I’m a huge fan of Tree by Kerri Lee, whose Chinese...

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Merry Christmas, cool moms!

From Liz, Kristen, and our entire Cool Mom Picks team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! We’ll be back to tomorrow with our Editors’ Picks of the Year. But today, we eat! Merry everything, happy always! {The lovely letterpress card by Vandalia Street...

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Christmas gift thank you cards – too early to think about them?

Okay so maybe I’m jumping the gun a little with the Christmas thank you notes, but hey–I know myself. Next week I’ll be carousing with family, New Year’s will hit, I’m back to work, and bam, no more free time. That’s when all the thank yous for all the generous holiday gifts for my family seem less likely to make it out of my hands. So I was poking around one of my favorite sites for custom photo cards, Paper Culture, and I had a great idea: It could be really sweet to make my thank you notes more...

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A cool (not freaky) way to show your kids that Santa is real

We’re all about the magic of Santa Claus at our house but we’ve definitely dropped the ball when it comes to visiting him at the mall or even getting a letter from him sent to the kids. But I’m about to be completely redeemed when I show them this personal video message to my kids from Santa Claus himself. And even better, it didn’t cost me a dime. Portable North Pole was such a huge hit with my kids last year I’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest it again this year. To make your own personalized message from...

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Best babysitter gift at the last minute? Reader Q&A

I totally am stumped on what to give our favorite sitter in addition to some cash. Any last minute ideas? She’s really wonderful and we want her to know how much we value her but I don’t want to spend a lot because we’re already giving her money too. Thanks! -Alyssa While cash (generally a week to two week’s pay for a full time nanny or sitter) will be a most-appreciated gift, we like the idea of pairing it with a little something personal for those important caregivers in our children’s lives. If your child is old enough to...

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Last minute Hanukkah crafts from Martha Stewartstein

If you’re still scrambling for a little something to make your Hanukkah celebration a bit more dazzling and festive, Martha Stewart (of course) has the most amazing roundup of Hanukkah craft ideas. Here, just a few of my favorites that seem like you could manage to get together in time for latkes and your family’s Competitive Dreidel Deathmatch. For decked out dreidels (shown at top)  just coat regular wooden ones in glue and dip in glitter. Plop them all into a big glass jar or vase and you’ve got a great centerpiece. [see more great Hanukkah craft and decor...

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Last minute holiday gifts: Don’t panic!

We loved putting together our biggest ever Holiday Gift Guide for you this year. But we also know that with a few of you are still hunting for the perfect last-minute holiday gift, now that it’s officially less than a week before Christmas. (No judgments, promise!) Here, a whole bunch of ideas for everyone on your list that you can still have wrapped and under the tree by Christmas Eve. As for you Hanukkah revelers–well, you’d better hurry. Or you can look at it as an extension, if you’re still giving gifts on the eighth night this year. 1....

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Sprinkle your holidays with new kid-friendly tunes from The Jimmies

Last year, kindie music favorites The Jimmies came out with a five-song downloadable EP right before the holidays with the best holiday title ever: Mama Said Nog You Out. Well, like our favorite eggy concoction, The Jimmies are back for the holidays, but this time their collection features even more songs, more silly, and even a little something for your dual Chrismukaah celebrants. Mama Said Nog You Out is the musical equivalent of a tinsel fight and a Wear Your Goofiest Christmas Sweater party: Total fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s not to say all the songs are...

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Sponsored Post + Giveaway: Coffee as Holiday Survival Essential

There’s hardly a parent who doesn’t understand the essential joy of a cup of coffee in the morning. So Eight o’ Clock Coffee is doing one of our readers a humongous favor, in giving away a new Cuisinart coffee maker, and a year’s supply of their own coffee. (That’s a lot of coffee, for some of you!) First, here are five unexpected ways to bring the beans into your holiday revelry in delicious ways: 1. Make a coffee bar Instead of the typical cream and sugar, offer natural sugars, and toppings like fresh cinnamon, grated nutmeg, cocoa, even candy...

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Personalized gifts you can still get in time for Christmas!

If you caught our Editor-in-Chief Liz on TODAY this morning talking about those awesome last minute personalized gifts today that you can still grab for Christmas or Hanukkah, don’t panic if you didn’t catch every single URL! We’ve got them all right here. Just make sure to check the sites for shipping costs, as rush and overnight fees may apply to these dates.   WOMEN:   Custom Embroidered Initial Necklaces Last date to order: 12/18   Personalized Journals Last date to order: 12/18 Buy any three gifts at Minted and save 15% with code “TODAY15” through 12/16   Custom...

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From glitter dreidels to cinnamon birds, why are we not surprised that Martha Stewart has you covered

I have a chronic and embarrassing condition called “failure to plan ahead”, which occasionally leaves me without a hostess gift, cute wrapping paper, or party decorations. Good news! There’s a cure, and it comes in book form. Martha Stewart to the rescue! Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts is one of those books as beautiful as it is helpful. With projects that start with New Year’s and end with Hanukkah and Christmas, you’re sure to find something beautiful to make for every holiday and the seasons in between, including lots of fun crafts for kids. The Christmas section is especially...

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A star to top the one on top of the Christmas tree

While I love the silhouette ornaments in our Holiday Gift Guide this year as a fabulous grandparent gift, here’s one more idea. And if you’ve got up to 5 cousins (or kids) in the family, even better. The customized star ornament from CMP fave Lisa Leonard is a beautiful way to commemorate a new baby’s first Christmas. But since you’ve got five lines to play with, another lovely idea is to engrave the name of each of the kids, and send it off to all doting grandparents. Or heck, just write something heartfelt about loving Grandma and Papa. That...

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Celebrity designed holiday cards that give back. And they’re actually nice!

OK, so you’ve probably never wondered what a holiday card designed by Jennifer Aniston or Zoe Saldana would look like, but here’s a hint: They’re stylish. Stylish enough that it surprised us. And stylish enough that they are carried by paper goods powerhouse Tiny Prints this holiday, and come with a fabulous charitable component too.  You are familiar with Tiny Prints, aren’t you? They brought hip back to cute paper goods, and this celebrity-designed line of cards is no exception. The irony (and I mean this in a good way) is that these celebrities have come together to raise funds...

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Life is like a box of handmade snowflake ornaments

Because I live in the desert, snowflakes are as rare as… well, snowflakes in the desert. We dream of white Christmases but they don’t often happen. So snowflakes are my holiday totem, and I absolutely love how they’ve come together in this affordable, handmade set of wooden ornaments. The absolutely gorgeous mini snowflake ornaments collection from Timber Green Woods are the closest I’ll get to the real thing–and I’m perfectly content with that. Made with sustainable wood harvested from the company’s family farm, each unique design is laser-cut and finished with nontoxic oil. Then they’re all popped into an...

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Bananagrams go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!

While bananas are not normally something you find associated with Hanukkah, this year we have good reason for you to reconsider- Bananagrams have gone Hebrew. This awesome modern word game already exists in English and in Spanish so we’re excited to see Hebrew Bananagrams  in time for the holidays. I mainly love Bananagrams because it’s a game I can beat my mother (the queen of Scrabble) at. But besides that, it is a great game for the family, which after all is a big part of what the holidays are all about. Plus, it travels in a banana bag,...

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Three words: portable ping pong

I have this one person on my list that I can’t stand holiday shopping for. Why? Because she already has everything. Really. If it’s something she likes, she buys it before anyone else has the chance. It’s the worst.  But, for the first time ever, I may have found something that she doesn’t have. And her kids will love it, too.  This Pongo Portable Ping Pong set found at Mxyplyzyk is the best. Its paddles with retractable handles and handy drawstring pouch mean you can tote it with you and set up anywhere. And it’s got a weighted net,...

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Animoto – The holiday cards guaranteed to make grandparents cry.

Life with four kids means there are a lot of last minute “oops” happening around my place when it comes to gifts and cards. This is also why I’ve been a fan of Animoto since we first featured them on Cool Mom Picks a few years ago. Their super easy-to-use video slideshow maker has saved my butt more than once, with remarkable professional looking video “cards” that have replaced gifts on more than one occasion–with raves from my lucky recipients. Well, we’re delighted that they’re our newest Cool Mom Picks sponsor (we love it when our sponsors are the stuff we love anyway) and just in time for the holidays, they’ve got an awesome free service that we’re excited about. Yes, free. You can see what I made with it right here. [Don’t miss a very cool free gift for all of our readers after the jump!] Basically you just grab the photos you’ve taken all year long, whip them up into a video, and shoot them into your family members’ inboxes like digital holiday cards. Super easy. Truly the best part about Animoto is that you don’t need to be tech savvy at all to do what I did here. It’s even simple to add text boxes and pick music from their own selection or something you’v’e already got on your computer.  You’ll get 30 second videos for...

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