[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to welcome author Julie Hammerle to the site today. She has some amazing ideas for what to gift the mom in your life. Take it away, Julie!]
Over the weekend, I started forming my Christmas list, which looks a bit different this year. Last year, back in the naïve, halcyon days of 2019, I asked for fun, sparkly, going-out clothes and, lol, a lipstick gift set—like I’m going to bother putting on lipstick under my mask while running to the grocery store, i.e. the only place I go anymore.
But, when it comes to thinking about what I, a work-at-home mom in the year 2020, would like to see wrapped up with my name on it this December, I’m all about enhancing my mind, body, and spirit. I’m looking for comfort, and I’m looking for something to do. I want objects and activities that will fill me up, energize and challenge me.
Here are a few things I think would be great for the woman in your life, who’s just trying to keep it all together.
Peloton App: Back in the early days of the pandemic, Peloton offered a three-month free trial for their exercise app, and I signed up. I’d always assumed Peloton was just about the bikes, but no. They have all kinds of exercise classes—cross training, hip hop, yoga, Pilates—available and ready for you whenever you have time. The subscription is $12.99 per month.
MasterClass: MasterClass offers online lectures from experts in a number of different fields (Shonda Rhimes talks about writing for TV and Simone Biles teaches gymnastics fundamentals). Right now, you can purchase a subscription for someone else ($180/year) and get a free subscription for yourself.
Headspace: I’ve used Headspace for a few years now. It’s great for meditation, but what I really love are the Sleepcasts—listening to someone describe a peaceful setting, like an antique store or the surface of the moon—and the Sleep Music, which are great tracks to write to. Currently Headspace is $70 for the year.
Sports Lessons: Some of these are moot right now, depending on where you are, what with the cold weather and the Covid restrictions, but maybe try looking to the future and purchase some golf, tennis, or swimming lessons for next spring and summer.
I’m not a big “thing” person. I went through the KonMari process a few years ago, and I’m always leery about bringing new stuff in. But there are a few possessions that have brought me joy during the pandemic.
Electric Kettle: One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my electric kettle. I use it to make tea to the exact right temperature, to boil water to clean out my drains, and, recently, to make hot toddies. Yes, I could do all of this with a boring old kettle on the stove, but this shuts off automatically when I inevitably forget that I’ve put it on. It’s a little luxury, and I enjoy it.
Nail Polish: Since mani/pedis have been a no-go, I’ve been splurging on fun nail polish colors. There are lots of gift sets out there these days, but I love this set from Pear Nova, a Chicago-based company.
Puzzles: I’m trying to back slowly away from mindless video games (hey there, Homescapes) to more traditional analog puzzles. I love a good crossword puzzle, so why not give a book full of solvable Monday puzzles to get started. Or a Mandalorian jigsaw for the Star Wars geek in your life.
Hammock: I asked my Facebook friend what kinds of things were getting them through the pandemic, and somebody said emphatically, “Hammock!” There are a lot of options out there, but this one stuck out to me.
Restaurant Gift Card: One of my favorite holiday traditions has been trading restaurant gift cards with my brother and his wife. We’d then make plans to go out together and put the gift card toward our double date. Back in October, we ate outside at Girl and the Goat (one of my favorite restaurants) in Chicago’s West Loop. This year the dining out landscape looks different, but restaurants, especially locally-owned ones, still need our support. So why not give someone a restaurant gift certificate to use for carry-out or delivery?
Comfy sweaters, hoodies, or fleeces: I’m all about a hoodie. I pretty much alternate between the same two every day, so I’m always looking for variations. A friend of mine highly recommends this pullover from Costco. Why not pair some Bombas with it, while you’re at it?
Wireless earbuds or headphones: I use my headphones every day, whether I’m talking a walk or jumping on a Zoom call. I love my Beats, and so does my dog, who chewed up my first pair.
Bath bombs or fancy skincare products: There are so many fun gift sets out there these days, you really can’t go wrong. And these are the kinds of splurges I normally don’t make on myself, so I always love to receive them as a gift.
Moccasins: Spending time in the house means I need a really good pair of slippers, ones I can wear while running out to the garbage or the garage. Moccasins are the answer.
Wine subscription: This isn’t for everyone, but when my parents bought a house out in the country, I joined the local wine club. Every four months, I get an assortment of wine, plus discounts. Wineries are among the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, so throw them some support during the holidays, if you’re so inclined.
What are some of the gifts you’re hoping to receive this year?
About the Author:
USA Today best-selling, RITA nominated author Julie Hammerle writes romantic comedies for adults and teens. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, aside from writing, she ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.
Connect with Julie:
Write Before Christmas by Julie Hammerle, out now!
You’ve probably heard of me.
Reclusive fantasy author turned famous when his series got developed into a mega TV hit.
Except now I’m way behind deadline, and the whole world is waiting to see what I’ll write next.
The pressure is getting to me, and I. Can’t. Write.
Cue: small town where people don’t recognize me.
Cue: my assistant insisting on a personal chef to keep me fed and nothing more.
Cue: finding the first bit of inspiration I’ve felt in months whenever she’s around…
Am I a walking cliche now, or what?
Dani Cooper seems to have her own hurdles to jump this holiday season. Newly divorced, looking for her next move. She’s the first person who’s seen me for me in way too long. And I see her, too–as way more than just an employee, a divorcee, a cook. She’s becoming my muse…
But when my Christmas deadline hits, will it spell the end of us, too?