Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

Like me, you may be in the middle of creating the holiday experience for your family, including spending a lot of time looking for gifts for kids. Seems like moms can get a little left out this time of year, so although world peace and the GOP candidates getting a 12-month case of laryngitis would be nice, get all material & tell me: what are you hoping to find in a pretty box this year?

I have a few things bouncing around my head. I’d like a new laptop. I’m interested in a Kindle Fire but don’t know much about it. I’d like a device for turning photos, slides, & negatives into digital files. I’ve wanted a standing jewelry case for a while, and I never turn my nose down at jewelry, particularly homemade or vintage. I’ve been thinking about one-cup coffeemakers. But a gift card for Barnes & Noble, Archivers, or iTunes will suit me just fine. What’s on your wish list? I know you all have been exceedingly nice this year!


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

First of all, there was a lot of questions and confusion yesterday as to how the Senate will pass a healthcare reform bill, which President Obama said is “on the precipice” of passing. In order to get the bill to a final vote, the Democrats need 60 votes, including that of two Independent senators, according to CNN. Right now, Independent Joe Lieberman has said he will not vote for any bill that has a public option or Medicare buy-in for people 55 and up. He is literally the hold-up. Once this bill is up for a final vote, it only needs a simple majority of 51 votes to pass the Senate. Anyways, this story cleared a lot of things up for me.  

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is Time Person of the Year.

In an 11-2 vote, the Washington D.C. Council passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, according to the Washington Post. If the bill survives a 30-day congressional review period, it will become law in the spring.

Here is an actual example of good corporate behavior. General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs, plans to reduce the amount of sugar to single-digit grams of sugar per serving in its cereals marketed to children, according to the Associated Press. However, the company gave no timeline as to when the sugar reductions will happen.

The Mamasource newsletter had a good thread on homemade gifts for teachers.

A writer at Open Salon recommended anthologies and other book ideas as gifts for writers.

The life of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s 19th baby hangs in the balance, according to People magazine. Josie Brooklyn was born three months early on December 10 and weighs only 1 lb., 6 oz..

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Late-Night Liberty: Sexy Holiday Gifts Edition

Now, here is a thread I look forward to reading. From the Mamasource newsletter:

Hi there..
I’m searching for ideas for a romantic and unique Christmas gift for my hubby. He loves surprises and since we have 2 little ones, I want to spark up this holiday 😉
Any cute, romantic ideas out there? Thanks so much!

I keep waiting for the responses, but so far, none have appeared in my inbox. What do you think? What are some sexy or romantic holiday gift ideas?


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Mamapedia has run a lot of good columns lately with holiday gift ideas. The latest one suggested presents to the hostesses of holiday parties.

The Mamasource newsletter — related to Mamapedia — had a fascinating discussion on a couple wondering whether they should have more children. One of them — the mother — doesn’t want more than the two children they already have, but the husband wants four children total.

Levi Johnston — yes, he is in the news again — plans to sue ex-girlfriend Bristol Palin for joint custody of 10-month-old son Tripp, according to Salon. This could not come at a more inopportune time for the baby’s grandmother and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who is on tour promoting a new book.  

This is icky — and eye-opening. A new report by the British charity ChildLine states that the number of children reporting sex abuse by women has risen 132 percent in the last five years, according to Salon Broadsheet. Two-thirds of those complaints were against the children’s mothers.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Giving Holiday Gifts to New Significant Others

While it has been years since I was at the beginning of a relationship and having to read his mind, MSN gave helpful tips on what to give a new significant other for the holidays:

Take the easy way out. When you’ve just started dating, you may not even know the person well enough to make a great gift decision. “My girlfriend and I just started dating after Thanksgiving,“ recalls Carlos Perez of Scottsdale, AZ. “I wanted to do something for the holidays, so I gave a gift in her honor to a local charity. The card didn’t have an amount on it, so there was no pressure, and I didn’t have to worry about the size.“ It’s hard for even the most materialistic person to begrudge you for helping others at the holidays.

Show some thought. “The worst is the gift you know your date just went out to buy out of a sense of obligation,“ says Tom Gray of Suffern, NY. “Like a pair of socks or a box of candy. I’m not saying you have to break the bank, but show me you thought of me a little in the process.“ Maybe you can replace that Dave Matthews CD he mentioned he lost, or you can give her a big bottle of that olive oil she loves to cook with.

Manage your money. “Less is more,“ counsels Lisa Cohen, president of Dating Designers in Woodland Hills, CA. “It doesn’t matter if you give him a card—if he’s fond of you, what you give him won’t change his mind…“

Get creative. Put your effort into making something to share the spirit, suggests Marc Charles, an artist in Richmond, VA. “You don’t have to be super-talented—in fact, sometimes that’s even more meaningful. A small, hand-made card or gift shows you like the person enough to invest some time, even if you didn’t spend money.“ There are craft classes galore at the holidays, if you want some schooling. Or visit the local paint-your-own pottery place and make a fun ornament for his or her tree.

Put your apron on. In a similar vein, baking is a low-cost way to say, “Happy Holidays, I like you,“ notes Ann Sobeski of Cincinnati, OH. “I’m not a great cook, but baking is pretty easy, so I make several kinds of Christmas cookies every year and give them to friends and co-workers. This would be a great low-key gift for someone you’ve just started dating, too.“

This column rekindled some fond memories on when I first started dating DH. We started dating in October and I fussed over his holiday gift to the point I annoyed the heck of a salesman at Filene’s. “Do you want the tie or not?” he asked me. I ended up buying it, but also wrote him a poem, which was a hit. Making a card or your own gift is a good idea!

But now I find myself fretting over the significant others of my sisters. They have not been in a serious relationship for more than a year at a time so I am never sure what to get the boyfriend — who they always bring along. Is it even appropriate to get the boyfriend something?

This year I am going to cop out and give my siblings prepaid Visa gift cards. “Just take your man out to dinner,“ I am going to tell them.

How do you handle holiday gift giving to a new significant other, MotherTalkers?


Holiday Gift Ideas

My husband and I agreed we would not buy each other holiday gifts since we incurred a lot of costs this year. But normally, I fret about what to buy him since he owns every gadget known to man.

And I am not alone. Gadgets are expected to top shopping lists this holiday season, according to eScrip’s Smart Shopper magazine. The expected biggest sellers, according to the magazine, are the following:

Cell phones with the latest extras can be great for parents and kids. “There are lots of prepaid plans so parents can control how much they’re used,“ says (gift expert and author of The Giftionary, Robyn) Spizman.

Digital cameras are good for everything from creating family albums to taking pictures of Dad’s old power tools to post on eBay.

Eco-friendly gifts such as reusable canvas shopping bags and filtered-water pitchers allow families to reduce their plastic consumption.

Gadgets that make life easier, such as car GPS devices (Elisa’s Note: See pictured. I swear by it!), can help Mom or grandparents with driving directions.

Laptop computers with wireless Internet access help “cut down on arguments between kids over whose turn it is to use the computer,“ (personal shopping assistant Robbie) Baldwin says.

CNET.com, by the way, has published a holiday gift guide for all gadgets and price ranges.

But I still need gift ideas for other family and friends. What do you plan to make or buy your loved ones, MotherTalkers?