Category: Holiday Picks

The Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide is here!

We’re kicking November to the curb and happily welcoming December with our highly anticipated, super spectacular 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! Whoo! For the 6th straight year, we’ve scoured the web for the best gifts ever–150 this year at every price point for everyone on your list — from babies to brothers-in-law, girlie girls and budding architects, the mother-in-law that’s impossible to shop for, yes even you. Because mamas need cool gifts too! [Don’t miss the amazingly huge giveaway after the jump!] As always, we’ve featured loads of indie artisans, small boutiques, and family-run businesses, so you’re in good hands....

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10 spectacular advent calendars worthy of Christmas

We may still have Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator, but December 1st is just around the corner. To my kids, this can only mean one thing: Time to get out the advent calendar so that they can start the countdown to Christmas. And just in time, we have tracked down ten (!!) gorgeous new advent calendars that might make your holidays a little more merry and bright. –Christina Love the different typography on each of the different DIY sacks from Oh Happy Day, all made with iron-on transfers affixed to little cotton muslin bags. Hang to the wall with...

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This advent calendar will stick around for years to come

Fewer things throw my kids into a tizzy of Christmastime anticipation as an advent calendar with its counting down of days. But the calendar grandma gets them with the waxy chocolate behind each door isn’t much to look at and barely makes it to the 25th. I think I’ve found the calendar worthy of such an important daily ritual that is both beautiful to look at and will make it through several annual countdowns. And while it doesn’t have chocolate, it does have something else my kids adore: stickers. The Yuletide Harvest Advent Calendar from Uusi walks that fine...

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Keep your elves busy with these Color-in Gift Tags

My kids really want to be helper elves when it comes to wrapping the gifts, but after a roll of tape and a yard of paper, I’ve learned to enlist their help in other ways. So instead of handing them the safety scissors and gift wrap, I’m going to hand them a box of crayons and let them get to work doing something they already love to do. The new Color-In-Sticker Gift Tags from CMP favorite and letterpress masters 9SpotMonk are the perfect keep-the-kids-busy project for the holidays because I can really use them on our Christmas gifts. Plus,...

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A little techy help with Thanksgiving weekend

If you haven’t visited Cool Mom Tech this week, grab a minute while the turkey is happily roasting. You’ll find a whole lot of posts that we think can help make your weekend even better, from the kitchen to the weekend holiday shopping, to the long ride back home on Sunday. –3 videos that help kids understand Thanksgiving including Schoolhouse Rock! –Apps to give you a little Thanksgiving help in the kitchen. Not that you need it. Ahem. –6 apps to help you survive your holiday road trips. (Not just for kids!) –The best tried+ tested apps to help...

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Happy Thanksgiving, Cool Parents

Just a quick note to wish you all a beautiful Thanksgiving, however you’re spending it. We hope you’re surrounded by all the people you love, reminded of all the many, many things we have to be thankful for. As for us, we can say with all sincerity that we’re grateful for you. –Liz, Kristen, +Team Cool Mom Picks [card via...

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Nifty holiday gifties at a spectacular price

It’s not even Black Friday yet, but of course the deals are already starting to roll in. And this particular pick is so special that we have to tell you about every time it comes available. After all, there’s nothing we love more than a great deal– unless it’s a great deal on seriously cute stuff. The Darlybird Goody Bags are back at CMP favorite Darlybird. For just $16 + shipping, you get at least $45 worth of eclectic indie finds hand-chosen by Rachel. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, vintage ephemera, hair bows, cupcake liners, stationery, journals–you never know exactly what’s...

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Handmade Charlotte for Anthropologie – hold onto your platinum cards

Is Anthropologie suddenly going the way of Jacadi, with upscale children’s clothes made by small designers? It certainly seems that way. In October they brought in Kico Kids, and now Handmade Charlotte is following suit. This splendid Handmade Charlotte for Anthropologie collection is everything I could ask for in a fancy little girls’ clothing collection–except cheap. And I mean, it’s really not cheap. The dresses and skirts start at $128 and go up from there. But boy, they’re beautiful. Whimsical and fanciful and twirly and magical with simply stunning details. If you’re the type who splurges on one beautiful...

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Beautiful ornaments with a past life.

Garfield has never been called elegant, nor is Snoopy considered stylish. And yet, in the right hands, the Sunday comics are being transformed into stunning holiday ornaments. The Sea Urchin Recycled Newspaper Ornament from kissadesign on Etsy is a fun new twist on traditional Polish folk art. In fact, the artist’s family has been hand-creating such decorations for over fifty years. This is serious crafting–each ornament includes eighty meticulously hand-formed points for a delicate and celestial look. Hang them from a tree, dangle them from a chandelier at a party, or even use them for a year-round splash of...

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Sew you want to be in pictures

This holiday season, you can do almost anything with your fancy photos: make books, cards, puzzles, even an afghan. But we found one artist putting a beautiful homemade twist on capturing your family’s image, and we think this one’s worthy of framing. Etsy artist Norma Andreu of Cara Carmina uses your details to hand-stitch fabulous art collages of your family using her sewing machine as her brush and black thread as her ink. The results are intricate, unique, and gorgeous. You can choose the hair and clothes, not to mention the words or sayings stitched along the top. Buttons, hearts, and old book...

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Holiday cards that are truly a work of art

Every year after I spend half the day trying to get myself ready, and then wrangling my four kids and my husband for our annual holiday card family photo extravaganza, I vow to do something different the next year. I have found it! With one of a kind cards featuring original artwork of your very own family. I’m completely smitten with the beautiful one-of-a-kind holiday cards from Dear Ida. This is the brainchild of four friends, including mom, artist, and children’s book illustrator Lisa Mundorff, whose annual hand drawn Christmas cards were so famous among her friends and family that...

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Stunning photo cards for the holidays Ooh, swanky.

Though I normally don’t start thinking about my holiday cards until after Thanksgiving (or, ahem, later), I’ve got two reasons to be prematurely in the holiday spirit: An October snowstorm in the northeast, and the gorgeous new custom holiday cards from CMP favorite Hello Lucky, just released. {Don’t miss a special discount for Cool Mom Picks’ readers after the jump} We have long adored their uniquely cool letterpress designs–see our past posts on their holiday cards, birth announcements and even birthday cards. But this year, they are upping the I Want That One quotient by collaborating with even more...

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What to do with that extra Halloween candy

Like many of you, I’m waking up this morning, eying the huge pile of candy in my house and thinking, How can I get the darned stuff out of my house? We’ve got 5 great ways to help may your home a little less sugary over the coming week. Donate Candy to Children in Need Hospitals, shelters, food pantries and even churches often accept leftover candy, as we pointed out in last year’s post about donating leftover Halloween candy. All the ideas here are still relevant; just be sure to call them before you show up with bags of...

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3 Halloween apps for kids we love

Boy have we spent time at Cool Mom Tech this past week, culling down the throngs of Halloween themed apps for kids. Let’s just say there are a lot of people just throwing a pumpkin clip-art graphic into a counting app and calling it a “must have.” For those of you as picky as we are, click over and check out our cool Halloween apps for kids that we promise are the best of the best. They’re nice creative distractions for the kids this weekend, while you desperately try to dig up last year’s skull garlands from the back...

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Trick or Treating for UNICEF is sweet

Consider this your annual reminder from us about Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF. If it’s never something you’ve done before, the premise is that your kids can ask for more on Halloween than just another sugary treat, on behalf of kids who need a lot more than a mini box of Junior Mints. Just like I remember doing when I was a kid, UNICEF makes it so easy for kids to collect donations as they go door-to-door. Since they’ve been around for sixty years and have a name synonymous with Halloween, I know that most of my neighbors will have no...

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Gorgeous holiday tags that also help feed hungry kids

I’m often of the “do it quickly” school when it comes to holiday presents–I sometimes forgo the little touches (like tags!) in favor of just getting the gifts wrapped. (And yes, we’re thinking holidays already. Forgive us!) These beautiful gift tags, however, are inspiring me to be a more mindful wrapper–especially since each one helps feed a child in need. Share Our Strength, a nonprofit devoted to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015, has come out with the loveliest gift tags. These No Kid Hungry cards are printed on Crane’s Lettra Pearl White paper (that’s quality stuff, mamas)...

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DIY Babywearing Halloween costumes for new parents: Sling or treat!

Yes, there may be a tiny person attached to you at all times. But this month, if you’re creative or crafty, that could mean some amazing DIY babywearing Halloween costume opportunities, just for mamas (or dads!) with slings. So grab a sling, grab a baby. Whether you’re using a pouch, a mei tai, or a soft structured carrier, here are some great ideas for a parent-baby costume that will keep everyone happy–and get some laughs.   1. DIY Star Wars Costumes Follow in the big, booted footsteps of the fearless Darth Vader nursing a little Princess Leah from the D.A.D...

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The holiday cards for people who love paper

One of my favorite holiday traditions is sending and receiving cards in the mail — especially the photo kind. (I can’t possibly be the only one. Who doesn’t love getting real mail? And photos? Everyone does!) It’s the best part of December, by far. Here’s the thing, though: Most of the photo cards out there are a little meh for my taste. I’m kind of obsessed with good quality paper. I want to send crisp photos that my friends and family will treasure — after all, it’s likely to be the only printed photo they will get all year....

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6 reasons to love Harry & David more than you did before

I’m back in town from a delicious jaunt to the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon, and I’ve got all the dirt on one of my favorite holiday gift companies, Harry & David. (You know, the pear people. With all the catalogs?) So here’s my confession: I am probably the only person in America who can say this, but I never tried a single item from Harry & David until I landed there and found a gorgeous basket with my name on it in the hotel lobby. My only run-ins with gift baskets have been of the blue-light special variety, with...

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This mummy is yummy

My kids won’t even go into the basement by themselves, so let’s just say we do Halloween Lite around here. For our kinder, gentler Halloween, I’ve found a tee shirt from CMP favorite Threadless that would fit in just fine to our version of the spookiest of holidays. My kids would eat up (heh) Ramen’ses Return tee shirt.The undead has never looked cuter as it takes off from the bowl. Let’s just hope my kids don’t try to recreate it with their next bowl of noodles. Now, that would be scary. –Christina Ge this hilarious  kids mummy t-shirt for...

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a dinosaur?

Halloween is just around the corner and the overpriced costume catalogs are rolling in. As I do not own a sewing machine, I of course will be buying. Personally I am hoping to acquire something affordable, easy to get on and off, reusable and without any pink or glitter. Easier said than done right? Or is it?  You know, I never even considered a cape costume until I saw this clever little creation by Pip and Bean. Their Etsy shop sports capes of various concepts, but the coolest by far is this adorable dinosaur cape. This inspired little creation...

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The Kids Grow Up… way too fast

As my oldest daughter fast approaches her 7th birthday, I have become more acutely aware of how fleeting childhood really is. And the urgency to bask in her little-ness is now even more present after seeing a fascinating new must-see HBO documentary. The Kids Grow Up is a documentary from dad and award-winning filmmaker Doug Block, who offers a rare look from a father’s perspective at the emotional side of parenting, as he chronicles his only daughter’s last year at home before college. (Something we all know is coming, but don’t really want to think about.) Early in the...

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Father’s Day Gifts – made from children’s artwork

This is part 6 of our Father’s Day Gift Guide series. There’s really no better way to celebrate dad on Father’s Day with a special gift just from the offspring. While of course they can “give him” nearly anything at all, we’ve found a bunch of awesome gifts from children’s artwork that are actually made by the kids. (Well, mostly.) And all you need is a printer, paint, and a bunch of little hands to make this adorable DIY handprint tree PDF. Add a frame and it’s such a cool gift. ($10) Let your budding artists make their own...

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Dad’s greatest hits, from his greatest fans

Ask my kids what songs make them think of their dad, and they’ll rattle off a bunch of Rock Band tunes–which gives you a hint as to one of their favorite pastimes. Chances are your kids too can name some songs that make them think “dad”, and for this Father’s Day, I love this inexpensive and personalized gift that puts all those tunes in one place. Blogging mama Brenda has a clever Mix CD tutorial over at Alphamom just in time for Father’s Day. I also love her instructions for recording a personal greeting on the CD. Her daughter...

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7 last minute Mother’s Day gifts – don’t panic!

Okay, so you just realized that tomorrow is Mother’s Day. (It’s possible.) Or maybe you’ve just been so swamped that you haven’t grabbed the perfect gift for the mom in your life just yet; word has it parents get busy from time to time. No need to freak–here are a few of my own favorite last minute gift ideas that are easy to cobble together in the next 24 hours. 1. A gift card to a local spa. It can be a whole day of beauty or just a gift card for a pedicure or a massage. To make...

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One of the greatest Mother’s Day gifts of all – Cutting down maternal mortality

It’s true that we moms spend most of our time giving–time, love, presents. And while Mother’s Day is all about our kids thanking us for that giving, the tragic fact is that there are some mothers who never get the chance to give to their babies in the first place. Amnesty International USA reports that every 90 seconds, a woman in the world dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. And, sadly, women in the United States aren’t exempt–giving birth here is now more dangerous than in 49 other countries. (Eek.) And here’s what’s really striking: most of those deaths...

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We all scream for Mother’s Day ice cream

Mother’s Day breakfast in bed is nice. Mother’s Day breakfast in bed with ice cream for dessert? A thousand times nicer. Which is why you need to send the following info to whichever loves of your life are hoping to impress you this Mother’s Day: eCreamery. Specifically, their Mother’s Day sampler packs. Order deadline: Tuesday, May 3 at 10 p.m. A simple e-mail or text should suffice. And if your loves are last-minute types like mine, then they don’t have anything for you yet, anyway. The yummy-sounding blends from this CMP fave would be right up my alley, particularly...

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Talk about a sweet Mother’s Day card

What mom doesn’t love getting cards on the most important holiday of the year? Of course I’m talking about May 8th, (that’s Mother’s Day honey, in case you forgot). And while I’ve loved every glitter-laden handmade card I’ve ever received, I must say that this one might take the cake. Or chocolate. The chocolate postcards, by CMP Fave, Rogue Confections, would be a most welcome addition this year. Not only are they decorated with swoon-worthy Victorian themes, but they’re made of pure Belgian chocolate. Semisweet for the purists, milk chocolate for the masses, and white chocolate for…well, I’m not...

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The perfect Mother’s Day: French toast, bacon and just the right card

Now that I’m a mom myself, I realize that Mother’s Day is not just about getting breakfast in bed (not that I would turn that down) or a day off from housework (also, sounds awesome). Rather, I want to do something to honor my mom for all her hard work and I want her to feel appreciated. With a great card being a must (don’t all moms save all their cards?) CMP favorite, Shutterfly, has an incredible selection of Mother’s Day cards that will make any mom or grandma weak in the knees. You can upload your child’s artwork...

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