Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: 20-Something Mom Approved Holiday Gift Guide: 2015 ed.   

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

20-Something Mom Approved Holiday Gift Guide: 2015 ed.

               My husband has been having a good laugh at my expense because he says nobody posts a holiday gift guide the week of Christmas. Everybody is already done with their shopping and 3 sheets to the spiked eggnog wind by now. Even though this made me want to throat chop him a little, I had to admit that he's probably right. Unfortunately, a few of the items I was reviewing had shipping delays and it threw a monkey wrench in the whole process. Whatevs. Bygones. Even if you are done buying presents, you can keep these awesome items in mind for birthdays, or bat mitsvahs, or for the store credit you will get when you return that hideous Cat Sweater that Aunt Agnes will undoubtedly purchase for you.

             I don't know about you, but buying gifts for my family has gotten increasingly more difficult over the years. My kids already have a crap ton of toys and after nearly 11 years together my husband is still a total present-buying enigma. Neither of us is into the typical go-to gifts like jewelry or flashy name brand clothing. ( To drive home this point, I'm pretty sure he still has a pair of underwear that he wore in highschool. He says I can't throw them out because now they're vintage chic.) But I digress. Shopping for my fam involves copious research and covert ops. In an effort to save you the same hassle, I've scoured the internet, searched high and low, for the most epic gifts this holiday season. I've tested most of these out myself, so the following items gets the 20-something mom stamp of approval.

1. Yuba Mundo Bike

The folks at Yuba Bicycles were kind enough to ship out one of their brand spanking new Mundos for the boys and I to try out and Orange Cycle Orlando assembled it for us. I don't know how I possibly could have gone so long without ever even knowing that this beautiful beast of a bike existed. They call it the "mini van" of bikes, and for good reason! Depending on how you configure it, the bike can hold up to 4(!) small children. So theoretically I could pop out two more and we'd still be in business. Just kidding, husband. (mostly.) They also have all kinds of awesome accessories to pimp your ride anyway you'd like. From running boards, to child seats, to giant baskets that can hold like 80 lbs or something crazy. I don't even know what I'd haul that would weigh 80 lbs.... Maybe groceries...a pallet of boxed wine...a small bull mastiff...the possibilities are really endless. I'd be lying if I told you this is "just like riding a bike." There was definitely a tiny learning curve with it. I'm not used to balancing the weight of both boys behind me, so I spent the first few minutes of our ride getting accustomed to the feel of it and learning to balance accordingly. (When you're pedaling at a good rate, you don't even notice the extra weight. It's when you've stopped or slowed that it feels a bit different than your run of the mill bicycle. ) However, after that short adjustment period we were golden! Trust me when I tell you that you don't have to be some crunchy hippie to appreciate this mode of transportation. The boys and I had an absolute blast!

2. Grizzly Bear Bean Bags

I suppose these would technically fall under the unique "gifts for kids" section...but as my husband keeps catching me cuddling these adorable beasts...I'd argue that they are really a gift for the entire family. They are just as squishy and snuggly as they look, the cover is machine washable, and they offer the added bonus that if you leave them on the front porch you can scare the bejesus out of pesky door-to-door solicitors. When these bears first arrived, my kids played with them for two straight hours. If you have small children, superhumanly hyperactive boys specifically, you know how seemingly impossible of a feat that is. They can't even muster the 30 seconds of concentration it takes to go potty because invariably they will get distracted by something shiny and end up peeing all over the bathroom wall. Two hours with a toy has got to be  Guinness World Record. And now, weeks after the bears arrived, they still adore them and play with them daily. The four of us snuggle on them during story time, and they accompany us during family movie nights. They can be purchased individually (here) or as a mama and baby bear set (here). If you have more than one child, I'd strongly advise the set, as sharing such an epic toy is a lot to ask of little ones. I have to be honest, the price of these originally turned me off a little, but once they were here and I saw how sturdy and kid-friendly they were and the looks on my boys' faces, I totally understood what all the hype was about. You won't regret this purchase!

3. Little Passports


 There's nothing I love more than a gift that keeps on giving. Enter Little Passports. A subscription based service that puts the entire world at your child's fingertips. The company caters to 3 different age brackets focusing on kids from 3-12 years of age. After ordering, destination-specific packages will arrive every month filled with letters, souvenirs, activities & more. These days, my boys' favorite sight is the mailman lest he have a package from Little Passports! This subscription is all about play-based learning, which is big in our house, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

4. Shipt


 You know that nervous breakdown-y feeling you get in the grocery store, when one kid is screaming for Coco Puffs and the other is simultaneously hollering that he has a potty emergency, and passerby are staring at you in horror because you can't seem to manage to keep your little cubs quiet? Shipt is the remedy. Some brilliant beyond brilliant person got the hair-brained idea that we parents just might enjoy a service that allows us to avoid the god-forsaken grocery store, where souls are lost, and have our groceries delivered right to our door for a reasonable price. Although, I've got to tell you, even if it wasn't reasonable (which it totally is btw), I would not be above whoring my husband out as a male gigalow in order to afford this life-changing service. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go now and become a member of Shipt. Its an investment in your sanity...which is kind of priceless.

5. Hello Fresh

I am a terrible cook. I mean no one has ever died or anything....but I'm definitely no Julia Child. I was raised by a single-mother and she didn't have much time to show me the ropes in the kitchen, so my skills are seriously lacking. When I DO try and cook, I typically end up getting frustrated with the complex recipes that involve weird/unfamiliar ingredients because I can't find them in the store and then the recipes do not break it down for my feeble cooking mind. Enter Hello Fresh. A subscription service where you get to pick out 3 recipes for your family, and they send all the food AND the recipes in a temperature-regulated package right to your door. Like everything! Even any crazy weird spices or herbs you might need.  The recipes even have pictures which each step so you really can't screw this up even if you try. This is actually a lot of fun and you get the added bonus of being able to prance around and say things like "look at me julienning the shit out of this carrot." Its a very accomplished feeling. Trust me.

6. Twinkle Brews

If a present for Mommy and a present for Daddy had a baby, Twinkle Brews would be that baby. Easily one of the coolest and most unique small gift ideas I have come across thus far. Essentially, they take your favorite craft beers and create candles, inside the old bottle, that smell just like that beer! I know, right? Pretty amazeballs. Total sensory overload. The business is actually so popular that they've had to suspend taking orders until after Christmas. (But keep them in mind because Valentine's Day will be here before we know it!)

7. Adult Coloring Books

I feel like "adult" coloring book sounds like I am tracing pictures of giant schlongs and big, floppy boobies, and I'm sure they probably have something like that, but please don't put it in grandma's stocking and tell her I suggested it. They have a ton of these out this holiday season and they look like so much fun. I can totally see it as the playdate of the future. The kids play while the mommies laugh and chat and color elaborate lion heads and down mimosas. A girl can dream. 

8. Melissa & Doug Trunki

 If you are traveling to dear old Grammies, or anywhere for that matter, these trunkis are a lifesaver! Especially if you have a kid in that weird "I'm too big for a stroller, too gigantic to carry, but I get whiny and unreasonable if forced to walk too far" stage. My kids love riding them and its the perfect size to tote around all their stuff.

9. LILLEbaby doll carrier

Am I a total renegade for buying my son a baby carrier and a baby doll for Christmas???? Maybe! But I'm a member of the "toys are genderless" camp and besides, I do what the hell I want. I still wear my 2 year old in a carrier and he gets such a kick out of wearing his own little baby around. Do you know what I think playing with a typically girl toy will do to him when he gets older? Make him effeminate? Give him a proclivity to crossdress? Nah. Probably won't have any impact at all.....but I sure hope its at least laying the foundation for him to be a kick ass Dad one day. These carriers are equally adorable; whether you have a little girl or a little boy.

10. Rockabye Lullaby Renditions By __________

It doesn't get more Millenial Parent than lullabies, for babies, that are set to your favorite tunes from the 80's, 90's, and today. Daddy will certainly appreciate the Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Jay Z , ballads while he rocks your precious bundle to sleep. Mommy might prefer the comparatively mellow pace of the Journey, Blink 182, or Dave Matthews Band's lullabies. No matter your musical taste or inclination, there is truly something for everyone, and these compilations will make a seemingly never-ending bedtime routine a little more bearable.

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