How to Make the Most of Your Christmas Morning

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Christmas brings out the crazy in the best of us. That’s why this year I have a plan. I want Christmas morning to be magical and memorable – and I want those memories to be good ones! Since having my girls, I have come to realize that you can’t prevent chaos, but you can do little things to make these special days more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are my tips for making the most of your Christmas morning:

Enjoy the Alone Time with Your Spouse Christmas Eve

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the night before when mom and dad magically become Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Yes, building toys can be super annoying, but I do enjoy the quiet time in the evening with my man drinking wine and anticipating the joy on our girl’s faces the next day.

Prepare Breakfast Ahead of Time

All the Christmas morning fun is always followed by breakfast. But who wants to cook an elaborate meal on Christmas morning? No one! Instead, plan breakfast ahead of time. Choose to go with something simple that only has to be reheated (or served cold) or cook a breakfast casserole overnight in a slow cooker.

Having Your Morning Beverage Supplies Ready to Go

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Opening presents requires a grown-up beverage. If you are a serious coffee drinker, have your special Christmas coffee supplies ready to go. Better yet, program the coffee maker in advance. If you prefer hot chocolate, have supplies to make it extra Christmas-y. For a celebratory beverage, have supplies on hand for Christmas morning mimosas.

Wrap a Giant Box for Trash

Unwrapping presents in a hurry leads to a giant mass of wrapping paper and trash. You can avoid having to clean up afterward by simply designating one large box as your trash box. But you can also step it up by wrapping the outside of this box. This way instead of having trash or a garbage bag in all your pictures, you will have an elegantly wrapped festive box.

Don’t Forget Batteries and Scissors

When it comes to children, it is impossible to survive the present opening fun without having batteries and scissors. There is going to be a present your kid has to open immediately – hence the scissors. And there is always at least one present that requires batteries.

Wear Cozy Pajamas

Now, it’s time for bed. Put on your coziest (and cutest) pajamas. Get as much sleep as possible and be prepared to roll out of bed ready to go. Just don’t forget to wash your face and brush your hair quickly. You’ll thank me when your husband snaps a pic of you unwrapping a gift.

Don’t Expect Perfection

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When it comes to Christmas morning, a lot of women have high expectations. We dream of Pinterest-perfect, insta-worthy Christmas mornings. But, here’s your reality check – it will not be perfect. Go ahead and accept this fact and embrace Christmas morning for all its perfect and imperfect moments.

Spend Time with the One's You Love

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Everyone’s Christmas Day looks differently, but it is important to spend time with the ones you love. Even if you do not have plans to be with all your loved ones on Christmas Day, make a point to speak to them on the phone (or better yet, video chat).

If you know of any other tips to help Christmas morning be more magical and less frantic, let me know in the comments. Merry Christmas!

What to Do in NYC as a Family this Holiday Season

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While there are always plenty of things for families to do in New York City, the holiday season ramps up the fun. The city comes alive even more and making it feel like NYC its truly the best place to be for the “most wonderful time of the year.” Each year, I try to plan out things to do with my family to celebrate Christmas in NYC. Here are my picks for 2018:

Shop at American Girl Place

My daughters have hit the age where American Girl dolls are all they want. Thankfully, there is an American Girl Place in NYC. If you have not visited the store before, it is a whole experience in and of itself. Visiting the store with my girls this time of year also helps me check something off Santa’s list.

Watch the Nutcracker Ballet

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

It is a tradition to take in a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet. All whole family loves watching The Nutcracker, and New York City Ballet has the best of the best.

Observe the Trains at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a city tradition that my family always enjoys. This train display is unique because it travels around over 175 New York landmarks.

Make a Wish List by Visiting FAO Schwarz

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

FAO Schwarz has newly reopened, so we are so excited to go visit this famous toy store. Not only will our girls get to make their Christmas wish lists, we will get to see first-hand the toys they really gravitate to making our Christmas shopping easier.

Marvel at the Gingerbread House in Madison Square Park

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Making gingerbread houses is fun, but seeing a life-size gingerbread house is even better! Head to Madison Square Park to see those giant gingerbread houses.

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Another New York City tradition is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes – and for good reason! It is such a fun show to see as a family! We look forward to it every year.

Go Ice Skating

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Throughout New York, there are several ice skating rinks. The most popular is the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. In addition to being iconic, it is also one of the most Christmas-y spots in the city.

Have Holiday Tea at the Plaza

If your kids have read the children’s book Eloise, the holidays are the perfect time to visit the Plaza Hotel and experience Eloise’s life in the hotel. In addition to holiday tea, they also have a cute setup for kids to write letters to Santa.

Visit Santa at Macy’s

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The most popular place to visit Santa is Macy’s. Everyone should visit the iconic (and giant) Macy’s Santaland with their children at least once.

Search for the Best Hot Chocolate

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While you trek around NYC in the cold weather, search for the best hot chocolate. While Serendipity 3 is the most well-known frozen hot chocolate spot, you are bound to find some others that serve warm delicious chocolate-y goodness in a cup.

Which Christmas Festivities Does Your Family Most Enjoy in NYC?

Why Grown-Ups Should Make Christmas Wish Lists Too

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Have you ever received a bad Christmas gift? Or a duplicate gift? Or a gift that made it seem like the gift-giver did not know you at all? This happens all the time! I have received questionable gifts even from the people who know me best! This is just one of the reasons I believe we should keep making Christmas wish lists – even as adults!

After years adulting, I am at a place in my life where I basically have all I need. And, I often just got to the store or online to buy the things I want. I’m definitely not the only one! Our generation is used to getting the things we want when we want them – without waiting for Santa to place it underneath the Christmas tree.

But, this kind of takes the fun out of receiving gifts at Christmas time. Not only does it make it especially difficult for others to buy you gifts at the holidays, but it also takes away the fun of receiving gifts. Instead, I have started making my personal Christmas wish list alongside my daughters each year. Here’s why.

Your Wants Change Overtime

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As the years go by, what you want as a gift will change. When you are just starting out, you will want to fill your home with the basics. When your home has all the basics, you’ll want things that are more personalized. And, when your home is simply filled with things, you’ll want fewer things and more gifts of experiences (such as tickets to Paris). To help the people in your life know what you want this year, fill them in!

No More Guessing

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Having a Christmas wish list takes guessing out of the equation. If you are married or in a relationship, you have no doubt hinted at the things you want for Christmas. But, as any woman can tell you, just because you hint doesn’t mean your man is going to get it. You know what he will get? A wish list in writing.

No More Filling Your Home with Stuff You Don’t Love

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I try to fill my home and closets with things I love. However, at Christmas, I receive gifts that I am less than crazy about, but then I feel guilty about not using them. This is another reason why I craft a wish list that covers a small variety of things I truly love to share with my family and friends. This helps them find something I will love and use rather than having to guess and purchase something that isn’t my taste.

No More Unnecessary Stress

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I love to shop, but Christmas shopping can be stressful. As a shopper, I love to shop and find the perfect presents for the ones I love. But this is a busy time of year and the less time I have to spend browsing the racks to find the perfect present, the better. If someone gives me a wish list, it makes my holiday shopping so much easier. I figure I am doing the same by giving my loved ones a wish list.

The Best Ways to Make a Grown-Up Christmas List

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Now that you understand my reasons let’s talk about the appropriate ways to make a grown-up Christmas list.

  1. This is not a kid’s wish list. It should be tasteful and brief. Do not list a ton of things. Stick to the items you would really love to receive as a gift.

  2. With that being said, try to cover different budgets and leave the more extravagant items to those you know can afford it and are likely to make these types of big purchases.

  3. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for gift cards, but you should specify the stores or restaurants you frequent (or those you wish you could).

  4. Use a service such as Giftster. Giftster is a free online gift registry that makes it easy to share your wish lists with family and friends. (Plus, this service can be used for any occasion – think birthdays, too!)

The Hottest Toys This Holiday Season

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As a mom, there are few things I love as much as seeing my daughters’ imaginations run wild. And, when I purchase the right toys, I know I am providing my daughters with endless possibilities for them to have fun and be creative. I’ve learned as a mom that the best toys provide hours of entertainment. Plus, the right toys mean mom gets a break, too.

My Visit to eBay Toytopia

Last week, my family went to the eBay Toytopia pop-up in Chelsea Market. This unique pop-up event showcased the hottest toys of this holiday season. Guests got to see what toys are currently trending, and I got to see what toys my daughters are most hopeful they will receive this Christmas. Kids even got to play with the most wanted toys! It was so much fun to see my daughters playing and feeling excited about the upcoming holiday.

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I attended the eBay Toytopia event, and now I am prepared to fill you in on which toys are expected to be the biggest toys of the year. Having my daughters alongside me also helped me see which toys my little princesses are really hoping Santa brings them this Christmas – and it gave me an inside look into which toys your kids are most likely to want, too. For instance, Fingerling Hugs were a big hit with the whole family, as well as a cool electric guitar designed for kids. You can hop over to my Instagram to see my daughter rocking out.

The Surprise Toy Hits for the 2018 Holiday Season

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Every year there are some surprise toy hits that all kids want for Christmas. Often, they are so popular that they run out leaving parents searching frantically to find them before Christmas morning. To help you avoid this mess, here are three of the surprise toy hits for 2018.

  • WowWee Fingerling Hugs – Fingerling Hugs are bigger, huggable, interactive stuffed versions of last year’s popular fingerling toys. These swinging monkeys make the cutest sounds when you play with them and come in bright colors. My daughters love them!

  • Feisty Pets – If your kid has not mentioned Feisty Pets yet, they will soon. Feisty Pets are cute stuffed animals until you squeeze them, and their feisty side comes out – complete with scary faces.

  • Soggy Doggy Board Game – Last year was all about Pie Face, this year expect your youngest kids to want the Soggy Doggy Board Game.

You can find all of these at eBay Toytopia.

The Toys You Won’t Feel the Least Bit Guilty About Giving

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While I am all about giving my girls toys that are simply fun and encourage imagination, I am even more excited to give them a toy that helps them learn. Thankfully, parents don’t have to look far. There are so many STEM toy options designed to help kids play and learn at the same time. For instance, my girls loved the Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot. There are several STEM coding toys on the market now, and your kids will love these fun challenges.

The Toys That Never Go Out of Style

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At Toytopia NYC, I was also happy to see that there are some toys that will never go out of style. While they are continuously being improved from one generation to the next, some toys will always be well loved by children. Kids will always love playing with dolls and action figures (whether they are Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, or Transformers), LEGOs, and game systems (such as PlayStation).

What toys are on your kid’s wish lists this year? What wish list items surprise you?