I love the simplicity of brown paper packages tied up with string as much as the next person, but sometimes I’m in the mood for more creative holiday gift wrapping to make my presents really stand out under the Christmas tree or by the menorah. There are no shortage of cool gift wrap options and ideas out there; you just have to know where to look. And we’ve done that part for you! From free color-your-own printables to reusable bags, here are some of the coolest and most creative holiday gift wrapping ideas I found — including a way to pretty up a regular old brown paper...Read More
Tag: holiday decorations
Full disclosure: I was at Home Depot the day after Thanksgiving, picking out the perfect tree that I’ll probably keep until it’s brown and desiccated on Valentine’s Day. I’ve got plenty of space for a gigantic Douglas fir, no family members with allergies, and a dog who can usually be persuaded not to eat ornaments. But, if you’re looking for a modern Christmas tree alternative that by-Christma-passes the needles, the sap, and the enormity of it all, we’ve found some fantastic and beautiful alternatives, many of which will last for years and help create new traditions all your own. Related:...Read More
We’re pulling out the Christmas decorations and dusting off the ornaments around here, and I’m realizing that one easy way to spruce up my holiday decor is with a fresh, new tree skirt. But have you ever searched for a modern Christmas tree skirt? They’re nearly impossible to come by. So I’m delighted to discover the wonderful modern Christmas tree skirts new at Minted this year. The designs are so crisp and clean, they add just the right amount of color and fun to your holiday decor. (And don’t miss out on a discount code they’re offering, right now!) Related: 14 festive and fun advent calendars to count...Read More
While I think using an heirloom Hanukkah menorah that has been passed down from previous generations is a lovely idea, it’s also nice to have a menorah just for kids, to help get them as excited about lighting the candles as they are about eight days of gifts. And there are so many fabulous, kid-friendly menorahs out there this year, we could barely narrow it down. From cute menorahs for younger kids, to edgier options that will appeal to tweens and teens, take a look at these 12 cool options that Liz and I found, and see if one makes it...Read More
Houses up and down our street are starting to turn on their holiday lights, and it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in our neighborhood. My craft-loving kids would like for us to DIY everything holiday around here — cotton-ball snowmen, reindeer food, glitter wreaths…you name it. So when I discovered Papermade’s new book Paper Holiday, I knew I’d hit the holiday craft jackpot. The book includes 20 Christmas ornaments you can make in about 10 minutes each — just punch-out, fold up, and hang on the tree. No scissors, glue, or tape required. It even includes paper hooks. The ornaments are definitely Christmas specific,...Read More
One of our most favorite parts of the holidays (no, not presents, though we like those too) are the family traditions we celebrate year after year. There’s just something so special about looking forward to our annual holiday rituals, whether they started spontaneously one year and just kept going, or they’ve been passed down through the generations. If you’re like us, one of the best ever holiday traditions for families is to snuggle up and watch your favorite seasonal movies and television shows, which is something our newest sponsor Amazon Studios knows a whole lot about. Their two newest holiday specials, If You Give...Read More
I, like Buddy from Elf, loooove Christmas. Christmas is my favorite. So once November gets here, I start planning my holiday decorations, meals, and festivities. And one of my favorite ways to kick-off the season is with advent calendars. For my family, nothing creates more excitement than counting down the days until the Big Day. Getting a treat each day makes it even sweeter. Every year, Cool Mom Picks searches high and low for all kinds of advent calendar options for our homes so that our families — and yours! — can count down to Christmas in fun, festive style. From...Read More
Our favorite crafts around here are simple ones that don’t require an MFA, and it’s a big bonus when we don’t even have to head to the craft store for supplies. And if these crafts help us have conversations about the world around us, allow our kids to get in touch with nature or our community, or teach them the importance of gratitude, then even better. This cute DIY thankful turkey craft is a very easy and fun craft that fits all these categories. I’ll be making these with my kids this year while we wait for our turkey to cook, because we really do have...Read More
Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller: The party planning guidebook so inspiring it will make you celebrate…oh heck. Tuesdays.
The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s party season! I’m thinking all about Halloween this week, but before you know it we’ll be planning New Year’s parties. Not to mention the, oh… 1,285 family birthdays that my family seems to celebrate in November and December alone. I could use a little fresh inspiration to make each of these parties really special, and I’m finding lots of it in the wonderful new party idea book, Celebrate Everything, by Martha Stewart Weddings editor and party planner extraordinaire, Darcy Miller. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a fun cocktail recipe, a jolt of inspiration for a central...Read More
It’s officially that time when my kids beg to decorate our door for Halloween and here come our friends from Caravan Shoppe to the rescue! Mom and graphic artist Alma Loveland — make of the Ollieblocks we can’t get enough of — has just come out with a super affordable, giant printable Halloween coloring poster that I know will keep my kids busy for the next couple of weeks. It’s something you can have a group of kids go to work on at a Halloween party, or just leave it out for something creative your kids can do — besides...Read More
16 seriously creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas for all of the fun, none of the pumpkin guts!
Welcome to the no-stress portion of our Halloween coverage, as we track down some of the coolest, most creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that are perfect for kids. After all, for me, Halloween’s swarming bats, cackling witches, and stumbling zombies provide plenty of that fun, healthy spook factor without having to add in children wielding sharp objects at pumpkin carving parties. We’re big fans of low-stress pumpkin decorating parties that are safe and fun for the whole family — and if you are going to carve, there does happen to be some really good kid-friendly carving tools you can use. But if not?...Read More
This year, with all five of my nieces dressing up as Star Wars characters, I couldn’t think of a more perfect Halloween craft than creating Star Wars Halloween pumpkins together. So I’ve searched the web for them — and all of you! — and rounded up some of the most fun, DIY Star Wars pumpkin projects for a front stoop that will impress the galaxy. We’ve got droids. We’ve got Stormtroopers. We’ve got Yoda. And if you’re still wondering, Where is Rey? Well, we’ve got her here too. Related: 13 fabulously easy no-carve pumpkin ideas for the kids. We recently spotted this little BB-8...Read More
11 easy Valentine’s Day crafts for preschoolers and younger kids, most with supplies you already have at home.
While I’m not sure I’m ready for my house to look like it exploded in hearts, Valentine’s Day is coming sooner than you think. And since my kids’ own language of love is craft projects, I’ve been looking for some easy Valentine’s Day crafts for younger kids that preschoolers and even toddlers can make, that still have a fun, cool vibe. And most of all, that have supplies I already own or are pretty easy to find locally or through Amazon. In other words, no professional equipment needed. I bet even your older kids will want to help out — well, maybe if you have cookies and pink...Read More
We had the best time over the past month, partnering with Amazon Free Time to throw a couple of fun press and blogger holiday cocktail parties in Philly and Atlanta. Our aim was to give parents a little more me time (Get it? Free Time for me time?) in a completely adults-only environment. Remember that? Of course the great company and the chance to meet some of our favorite publishers and editors from around the country was the absolute highlight. But we thought we’d share some other fun things we did that could inspire some fun holiday party ideas for your own gatherings this season....Read More
Easy DIY ornaments for kids: 9 terrific ideas for turning those plain ornaments into something special
I have had such a great time this week looking for ideas for DIY ornaments for the kids. After all, one of my favorite parts about decorating for the holidays is seeing the Christmas tree ornaments my kids have made over the years and hey, we’re always open to new ideas. So here are 9 really easy, fun ways to turn those plain round ornaments into holiday keepsakes for anyone in your family, their favorite teachers, or even a BFF. I really like that these DIY ornament ideas make great group projects too, if you’re looking for a classroom or playdate project for a bunch of creative...Read More
Now that it’s officially December, I will soon unpack and set up my childhood nativity set, even if our holidays are largely secular nowadays. However after three kids who turned my nativity into a sort of dollhouse toy each year, it’s time for me to consider something new. Which is why I have been looking around the web for a beautiful and unique nativity set for families that won’t be easily destroyed, should the kids get a little handsy with the Wise Men. In other words, no $800 porcelain figurines painted with 14k gold leaf. So I came up with seven nativity sets I really...Read More
Since I’ll be busy in the kitchen (i.e. my happy place) next week, cooking and baking and getting ready for our big family dinner, I’m going to put my kids in charge of the Thanksgiving table decorations, which is not my happy place. Craft projects and art are usually a fun way for them to fill their down time when they’re home from school, and what I like about these fairly easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids is that I think they can double as adorable table decorations to make dinner more festive. There’s something really nice about the kids’ table feeling kid-like, or, if you all sit...Read More
Even though I’m still finding Halloween candy wrappers hidden under the couch (kids!), I’m keenly aware that December isn’t that far away. Which means that it’s time to start thinking about which Advent calendar we want in our home to help us count down the days to Christmas. As we’ve done for the past seven (wow!) years on Cool Mom Picks, in 2015 we’ve searched high and low for all kinds of options for your home. From clever DIY calendars, to fun kid-like designs, to gorgeous pieces you can reuse each year and treasure, here are 15 of the best Advent calendars I really love this year....Read More
As the holiday season gets kicking into high gear, we’re reminding ourselves to simplify as much as possible so that we can really enjoy the holidays with our families. That means cutting down the time we spend running — or clicking — from store to store to get everything we need. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Which is why we’re excited to welcome our newest sponsor The Container Store, who we happen to love. (Seriously, has anyone in history ever walked out of that store with only one thing? Exactly.) They are far more than bins and organizational needs, if you...Read More
Our ultimate last-minute Halloween help guide: Fun costumes, delicious treats, free printables and crafts, pumpkin decorating ideas and more!
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and probably yours too, if you’re one of those people pinning Halloween costume ideas and treat recipes back in July. (You know who you are!) But you know, best intentions and all. And hey, we’re all busy parents! So if you need some last minute inspiration for Halloween costumes, treats for an upcoming party, printables and Halloween crafts to keep the kids busy, even apps to bring a techy element to the fun, we’ve got you covered! And hey, whether you’re going the DIY route or the Target-help-me-quickly path, it’s all good. All...Read More