ABBAPAPA's "Gifts They'll Love" Guide, Part 1
Check out these five parent-pleasing presents. We know they're great because we received them and loved them ourselves. Real deal recommendations for the holidays. ...
In the eight years I was the Editor in Chief of InStyle, much of each summer was spent in conference rooms filled to bursting with the best of everything. You see, a group of specialist editors and I would have to make our way through hundreds of options for the magazine’s coveted holiday gift guide. (A monthly magazine’s lead time requires a summer selection process in order to comfortably make production and publication deadlines to ensure a mid-November reveal.) We would go through rounds and rounds of inspection, evaluation, and deletion. That final list was solid gold, and we presented it with confidence and seasonal glee. Because it was so well-received, so many of the objects on the list would sell out soon after the issue hit mailboxes. In fact, we often warned retailers and brands who had been tapped ahead of time to make sure that they had enough inventory on hand because, as we would share, “Our reader shops.”
Well, this is not that list.
This list is a humble, albeit heartfelt, list of a handful of gifts that Brandon and I have received as parents, for our son. Gifts that we have absolutely loved, that Cielo has absolutely loved, and that others are sure to, as well. As you shop for families, kids, or for yourself, check out these selects and have confidence that we genuinely rejoiced in these presents. Nothing here is sponsored. (Check out Part 2 next week!) Here we go:
A subscription to Babybug magazine ($21.95 for a 1 year, 9 issue subscription, ages 6m-3y), or High Five magazine from Highlights ($29.64 for a 1 year, 12 issue subscription, ages 2y-6y). Cielo likes the spontaneity in receiving mail he’s not anticipating. And both publications include varied content (songs, stories, poems, crafts), diverse subjects with broad representation, and recurring characters. Just when your bedtime routine starts feeling a little rote, one of these issues arrives with a spark of newness.
Yair Emanuel’s Anodized Aluminum Train Hanukkah Menorah ($124). A family friend who lives in Israel sent this to Cielo right around the time he was born. It has remained a mainstay “toy” for Cielo these past three years—first he loved the wheels, then he loved the colors, now he loves to drive it around our kitchen table. What’s so nice about the gift is that while it’s a plaything for a child, it’s also a yearlong touchstone to the holiday calendar. Having it around provides opportunity for us to talk about Chanukah or Shabbat or another Jewish festival that may be around the corner. Just this morning, Cielo said “I can’t wait” the week to light the candles of his train menorah. We can’t either!
Infants' and Toddlers' L.L.Bean Hi-Pile Fleece Jacket ($59.00, sizes up to 4y). I mean, is there anything cuter than winter gear with bear ears? There’s no struggle getting Cielo into this warm and cozy layer. And because it’s L.L. Bean it features performance-quality material and front-hand warmer pockets. Plus, it can go in the washer and dryer. It’s a winner all around. Cielo’s jacket is in the natural color, but it also comes in two blues and and a deep pink.
Insect Lore’s Butterfly Farm with Voucher for Live Cup of Caterpillars ($34.99, no redemption fee and shipping is included). The only thing parents love more than a gift that brings nature into the home is a gift that ultimately puts that nature right back outside. This exciting lesson in pet care and metamorphosis yields 4-5 butterflies that your family eventually release into the wild. Each kit includes a farm habitat, an educational pamphlet, and—important—a voucher for 5 caterpillars that are shipped to you a week or so later. When we had our kit this past May, Cielo loved to lavish attention on his kaleidoscope of butterflies, feeding them orange slices and playing Dolly Parton’s song I Am a Rainbow for their enjoyment.
The Honest Company’s Diapers and Wipes Bundle Subscription ($79.95 for a month, subscription pricing). Give the gift a new family needs. Bonus, parents will thank you for not adding more stuffed animals or toys to nursery clutter. Each monthly diaper bundle includes 7 packs of Honest’s super-absorbent, hypoallergenic, and eco-friendly diapers plus 4 packs of their durable, plant-based baby wipes (made with +99% water). Caregivers choose baby’s size and the diaper prints they want. There’s never any last-minute running to CVS because you’ve run out. Brandon and I actually continued our subscription well after our gift sub had completed: that’s how convenient it was. Also, Cielo never had a leak or a persistent rash using these.
Ok, be sure to check out next week’s ABBAPAPA for Part 2 of our “Gifts They’ll Love” Guide. And tell us, what are your go-to gifts are when it comes to shopping for families and kids? Leave your recommendations here …
From the Archive …
Despite our gay-dad best efforts to raise our son with gender neutrality in mind, his fascination with all things wheels has prompted some soul searching. It does happen: When your kid’s wish list may not be entirely your own. Read Cielo Wants A Car here.