My Holiday Gift Guide is Here!
Every year, the same thing happens. I think I am going to spend a few hours putting together my holiday gift guide (gotta get it together in a timely manner, especially since Hanukkah is practically on Thanksgiving this year!) and then I disappear into a holiday gift vortex for several weeks coming up with ideas, building out categories, checking out all the “hottest new toys,” surveying my audience, creating graphics, making sure all the links work correctly… until FINALLY, I emerge. A bit disheveled and without a shower, but there I am.
“MOMMY!!!! Where have you been???”
“I’ve been right here, guys. I’ve just been ignoring your needs for the last few days so you started going to Daddy.”
My holiday gift guide is finally complete. My Maid TV Club discussion was temporarily put on the backburner. I apologize to my paid subscribers. If it makes you feel any better, know that the TV Club is in good company with Harlow’s birthday party, Mazzy’s Bat Mitzvah planning, an eye appointment I need to make to get my license renewed and an email I was supposed to send out four days ago as class parent. There is more, but I won’t bore you. I did however text my whole to-do list to Mike when he asked if I could walk the dog yesterday afternoon. That my long way of saying, “I CANNOT.”
Anyway. Now that the gift guide is complete, I have some good news and bad news to tell you. I’ll start with the bad news first, which *spoiler alert* isn’t really that bad.
THE SEMI BAD NEWS:
I cannot send the gift guide directly to you through your Apparently subscription, because newsletters on Substack simply can’t contain that many graphics. It’s too damn big. So, you will have to pop on over to Mommy Shorts (remember Mommy Shorts?) to see the guide in its entirety. I promise, it’s worth the click.
THE GOOD NEWS:
If you have seen my holiday gift guides in the past, then you know. I’ve got kids, adults and even grandparents covered, split up by age and interest categories so it’s easy to look through. This year, I really focused on building out the categories for big kids, tweens and teens, because they are the hardest and the people who really care about their presents. I always think my job is both to get my kids what they want and to get them stuff that just says I am paying attention. For instance, Mazzy went onto Amazon the other day, put a Genshin Impact sticker set in the cart and was shocked to see that it was already there. That’s a $8 item but would have told Mazzy a lot if I had surprised her with it. In that vein, we’ve got gifts for comic book fans, wizards in training, the anime obsessed, amateur gamers, theater kids, future Etsy shop owners, tweens switching up their room decor aesthetic, kids who need to get off the couch and so much more. CHECK IT OUT.
THE EVEN BETTER NEWS:
As the gift guide gets bigger and bigger every year, some of the really good gifts that have been successful for us in previous years can get buried under the latest toys. So today, for Apparently subscribers only, I would like to tell you about a few gifts that have really had staying power for Mazzy and Harlow. There are the slime making kits the kids love and use once, and then there are the gifts they are still using a full year (or even years) after receiving them, like these…
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Customized Pet Pillow - Mazzy even took her Frankie pillow to sleepaway camp this year.
Hamilton Stickers - Harlow plays with them like they are dolls and just used them to decorate her binder for school.
Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing - Mazzy was not that into the Switch when she first got it, but has become addicted ever since she discovered Animal Crossing, which is an oddly cute and innocent game that I don’t even pretend to understand.
Pineapple Roller Skates - Mazzy wore hers constantly (in the apartment, on the street in our neighborhood) until they no longer fit.
Helen Keller Barbie - The newest addition to Harlow’s famous people in history collection. She also has RBG, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.
Say Anything Game - My family laughs so hard whenever we play this game. We even take it with us when we are invited to people’s houses so they can play it too. It says 13+ but I have no idea why. Harlow loves it and it’s as age appropriate as the people you are playing with.
The Apple Pencil & a subscription to Procreate - Hands down the best thing I ever got Mazzy. She uses it daily and has become really good at graphic drawing.
The Book with No Pictures - This book by B.J. Novack (designed to show how words can be just as interesting as pictures) was our favorite forever. We also love My Book with No Pictures, which lets your kids fill in their own nonsense words.
How to Draw Cute Animals - My whole family has regular cute animal drawing competitions since Harlow got this book for her birthday a few years ago.
Micro Kickboard - I don’t think I need to explain how much we use this! Kids have been riding since they were toddlers and Harlow still rides hers back and forth to school.
Karaoke Microphone - Truth be told, Harlow rarely uses the karaoke part; she just loves singing with VOLUME.
Strong Girls set of Ordinary People Save the World - This series by Brad Meltzer is Harlow’s absolute favorite. We are slowly collecting all of them.
Wreck this Journal - Only journal Mazzy ever got that she filled out the ENTIRE thing.
Doughnut Maker - Harlow loves doughnuts and this little machine allows us to make them safely and easily without frying.
LED lights - Mazzy got these to decorate their attic room in the house. Easy to put up and the kids have loved showing off the different remote control color options to their friends ever since.
Okay, now click on over to the Holiday Gift Guide and see what else I’ve got!
Please tell me in the comments below, what is the most successful gift you have ever given to your kid?
Apparently is a newsletter by Ilana Wiles. If you’ve been enjoying it for free, please consider supporting it financially by upgrading your subscription! As a paid subscriber, you’ll get to access to my new TV Show Club. So far we’ve discussed Nine Perfect Strangers, Ted Lasso Season Two and Only Murders in the Building. Next up is Maid, which I’m posting tomorrow!