Actually SURPRISE Her This Year - SALTY HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE #01

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This is part of a mini series I'm doing for the holidays. I always try to include things I've personally tried or that genuinely appeal to me. It's important for us to support each other, so I primarily promote small businesses. If you see Amazon links, please know that if you click on my link, I receive a small percentage of what you buy at no additional cost to you - even if you don't buy the item I link - so really, you're still kinda supporting a small business in that way (me!). Thanks for reading. xo


THIS POST FOCUSES SPECIFICALLY ON MOTHERS, BUT I THINK MOST OF THESE SUGGESTIONS APPEAL TO WOMEN AS A WHOLE


What if your kids woke up on Christmas morning, ripped the wrapping paper off a bunch of gifts, and discovered a macaroni necklace and some crayon drawings? There's a slight possibility they'd be disappointed. Yet there's the expectation for moms to be satisfied with only receiving gifts of this sort. Now before I get hit with a bunch of messages explaining why handcrafted items from your kids are PRICELESS and I'm a terrible, selfish, cold-hearted person - hear me out.


Of course these handcrafted gifts should be cherished. Look, I literally have boxes and crates and trunks (oh my!) full of the stuff my kids have created for me through the years. It still legitimately warms my heart when one of my boys announces he colored a picture just for me. I mean, when your kid gives you something, it's a pretty big deal, because for the most part they are biologically programed to be thinking only of themselves.

I totally love my family even though they refuse to give me just one decent holiday photo.


Any time a kid shows thoughtfulness, it should always be appreciated and rewarded with enthusiasm. Having said all that, my point here is that there's nothing wrong with a mother wanting an actual tangible gift or something worth monetary value in addition to the sentimental stuff.


I talked to my friends, and I reached out to our followers on Instagram to ask what do you actually want as a gift (besides more sleep and some personal space)?


Here are the top answers I got.


A MASSAGE

No, not from you, honey. Your backrub might lead to more kids.


Nearly 50% of the women who responded to my post said they wanted either a gift certificate for a professional massage or a quality at-home massager. One woman said she wanted a membership that allowed her a professional massage once a month, and personally, I think that's a brilliant idea -plus, most places give you a discount when you sign up!


I received this heated massager from Amazon as a gift last year. It kneads the knots in my shoulders and back really well, and it plugs into the car so I can use it when we travel, which is particularly useful when I'm trapped in a vehicle with my kids.

I'm also partnered with Rad Roller, which has been really helpful with alleviating my neck pain and diminishing headaches. The last time I had a professional massage, the therapist told me I had an insane amount of tension in my jaw muscles (cue the jokes about me running my mouth too much). The small massage ball helps with my jaw pain, and it's the only tool I've ever personally come across that does that.


Here's my link (full disclosure, I receive 15% commission if you buy anything thru my link):


JEWELRY

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. The key here is to know your woman. Someone out there would really appreciate a pair of diamond earrings. Several women told me they wanted a ring with the birthstones of their children. One woman said she was really hoping for an engagement ring. Now for me, I don't like expensive jewelry. I look at a diamond bracelet and think about how many books I could have bought with that money instead. Also I'm so terrified of losing jewelry, I probably wouldn't wear it in the first place if it's expensive.


If your wife really has her heart set on a receiving a necklace, please don't buy her a vacuum or a candle. But if she's like me and doesn't care much for the expensive stuff, you can still put some fun jewelry in her stocking like these adorable- and super inexpensive - handmade earrings on Etsy. (The girl who makes these is only eleven years old! How cool is it to support such a young entrepreneur?!)


A GOOD BOOK

As I mentioned earlier, I have a thing for books. It's almost like I'm a writer or something. Anyway, I created this list of books that I think make good gifts. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE.

I hope you're paying attention, because this part is very important.


Don't just give her a book. You gotta make sure you actually give her time to read it. So include a note, maybe some wine or bubble bath, and literally block off a designated few hours where she is instructed to read, whether that means you distract the kids so she can lock the bathroom door or she gets to go to a coffee shop all alone.


My toddler is literally climbing on top of my head as I type this, so believe me when I say you have to do more than just buy her a book. Give. Her. Time. To. Read.

A Boudoir Photoshoot

It's funny to me, because this is typically considered a gift for a man ( what guy doesn't want sexy photos of the woman he's in love with, after all?) but the experience of a classy, sensual photoshoot is incredibly powerful for most women. We're all put up against so many unrealistic standards, it's hard not to let it affect our self-esteem. And for mothers, who go through so much - even if they didn't give birth- it's especially common for them to struggle with self-worth. Being the center of attention for a photo session and then having the photos to look at later, to remind herself she's still a woman more can be a very generous gift - the gift of restored confidence.


I will caution you to maybe talk to your lady about this in advance and not just spring it on her. Or, in the very least, when you give her the gift certificate, include a personal note. Make sure it's something she's comfortable with and that she understands your reasoning. It's kinda one of those things like giving fitness equipment or an appliance. There are plenty of women who actually want those things (several women requested an Instant Pot for example, and last year, I was excited to receive a Keurig Mini ) but some might understandably misinterpret the meaning behind your gift, and that sucks for everyone.


If you're in the Atlanta area, I cannot recommend my friend Ariane enough. She specializes in boudoir photography and is an expert at making her clients comfortable and happy with the results of their session. If you live further away, you can still follow her instagram account just to get tips and insight on the boudoir experience, but as this trend is growing in popularity, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a photographer in your area.


Also, if your lady isn't comfortable with boudoir specifically, you can still gift her a fun photoshoot, to remind her how stunning she is.


SUBSCRIPTON OR SERVICE

The gift that keeps giving, buy your girl an Amazon Prime membership or a monthly subscription service for makeup or wine or whatever hobby she's into, or go with the massage service I mentioned at the beginning. If you're in the Atlanta area, check out

Bella Cosmetic Tattoo Center - They offer discounts for moms and teachers on all kinds of sessions from scar and stretchmark camouflage to BB Glow Facial (which is like getting makeup foundation put on your skin that lasts over a month) to ombre eyebrows and lash tinting.


Getting permanent eyeliner is on my personal wish list, but I think these things appeal to a lot of women, because anything that saves us time in our daily routine and makes us feel more put-together is useful as fuck.

P.S. Tierra, the owner, is one of the most delightful people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. If you schedule with her, make sure you tell her I said so! PLUS, if you reference me, you get an extra 10% discount.


You could also give her a gift certificate and/or register her for some virtual yoga classes - honestly, what woman doesn't deserve some stress-relief this year? Most of us are really bad about not properly allotting ourselves time or money for self-care, but if somebody else does the scheduling or purchasing, then suddenly we give ourselves permission to do some stretching and reflecting.


It's sad, but it's true. I worked a deal with Here Yoga to get special pricing for my followers. Click this link and look for the Salty Package. You're welcome. Namaste, bitches.


COMFY, CUTE STUFF TO WEAR

It's hard picking out clothes for someone else, I get it. You don't know what size will fit just right or if they'll like what you choose. Having said that, there are certain items that are a pretty safe bet - fun t-shirts, pajamas, and cozy socks, for example. Here are some of my favorites. I'm biased since I designed some of these, and I know the people who designed some of the others, but still - these are legit, and you get the bonus feel-good of supporting a small business.

VISUAL SUGAR



ALL STAR PARENTS


AllStarParents also has a funny Instagram account if you wanna follow!



A FUNNY BUT USEFUL TRINKET

We love the sentimental stuff, we really do, but if we're gonna survive mom life, we need something that makes us laugh. Since we have to reheat our coffee about 8 times a day, we might as well get a chuckle from the mug we're using.


Besides funny coffee and tea mugs, there are equally cute and hilarious tote bags, makeup bags, pillows, wine glasses, tumblers, sunnies, and other daily items we use.


Here are some of my personal faves.


Visual Sugar


Oh So Salty (that's my Etsy store!)

Sashayandco

I am OBSESSED with these sunnies I purchased from my friend @Sashayandco She has a rotating inventory, but she generally sells sunglasses, jewelry, and other accessories, as well as slippers and full outfits.



GIFT CARDS WITH A CLEVER DELIVERY

If you absolutely don't feel comfortable picking out a specific item (why waste your money or risk being rejected?) you can't really go wrong with gift cards. Probably 30% of women who answered my Instagram question said they wanted gift cards/certificates that gave them permission to shop for themselves. This way you're giving them both an experience and tangible items.


My suggestion is to personalize it a little more by writing a sweet note with it and maybe putting it with her favorite candy or using a fun gift card holder. There are some cute card holders on Amazon, but you can also find them at places like Target, Ross, and even Dollar Tree. If you wanted to get really creative you could send her on a treasure hunt, hide it inside another gift , or even layer it in some stacked boxes, so she still gets to unwrap something.


STOCKING STUFFERS


Here are a few items I personally love. Most of them are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a stocking.


The best self-tanner I've ever used


Get the tanning mitt too, it makes a huge difference


Easy-to-use tanning water (I really don't like being pasty)


Long-lasting nail polish


The most effective way to soften feet


Also for the footsies - foot peel for insanely soft feet


Fiber Mascara that gives you fake lashes


Magnetic faux eyelashes


A funny journal that lets her vent:


Clever bath bombs


Face masks - the spa kind


Mermaid pop socket


Makeup brushes


Cute headbands


Booklover socks


Mermaid hair accessories like this starfish barrett or this beautiful crystal quartz hair comb


I hope you found this list to be helpful! Feel free to comment or message me on Instagram if you were inspired by something in particular or if you have other suggestions.


Jenn Scott Pickett is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting and lifestyle content. She is half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time -  Wait. She's a mom of three. She doesn't have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.




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