Becoming a mom is overwhelming. You have this tiny little precious human that is yours to keep and take care of, and most of us have no idea where to even begin. Add to that all the products that are marketed (and targeted) at new moms and it can get even more confusing to figure out what you really need.

In those first few months, I can't even count the amount of middle-of-the-night Amazon orders I made, desperate to solve whatever issue it was we were having in that moment. Some worked, some didn't.

Here are all of things I wish I had bought before baby came so I could be prepared for *everything*.

1. Snoo

snoo

Why we love it: I got the Snoo when our son was 6 weeks old and I was desperate for some sleep. He was terrible at sleeping at night and I was at a breaking point after yet another sleepless night. My friend recommended the Snoo and, after reading all the reviews, I decided it I needed one. It took our son a week to get used to the new bassinet, but at 7 weeks old, his overnight sleep stretches started getting longer and longer and I started feeling like myself again.

The concept of the Snoo was created by Dr. Harvey Karp and it relies on some of the 5S of the theory he created to help soothe babies—sound, swaddle and a gentle swinging. The smart bassinet rocks your baby through the night while playing white noise, babies are swaddled and strapped in to ensure the safest sleep possible. If your baby fusses the bassinet reacts and swings a little faster and plays louder white noise. If your baby really needs you -because they are hungry or have a poopy diaper, the bassinet will stop and alert you.

More to know: The Snoo has a 30-day return policy, so if you or baby hates it, send it back and get a refund. They also offer the option of renting it since it's only good for the first six months of life, giving you the flexibility to then purchase a longer term crib.

$1295

2. Baby Breeza Formula mixer

baby brezza

Why we love it: After it was clear that my breastfeeding journey was not going to be what I expected it to be, and we started formula feeding our son at 6 months, we were drowning in bottle parts to clean, bottle parts to use, bottles everywhere. What was more annoying is that I never really figured how to really mix the formula properly. Sometimes it had too much foam, making our son angry. Other times there were clunks of unmixed powder at the bottom, making me worry that he was not getting enough nutrition. The Baby Breeza gets rid of all those issue by perfectly mixing the formula in seconds, making it ready for baby. You can even choose the ounce setting and specify the type of formula you are using so it's properly mixed.

More to know: It's compatible with all baby bottles and formula brands.

$224

3. Tula Free to Grow carrier

tula carrier

Why we love it: I didn't know about babywearing until our son started getting a bit of a flat head on one of his sides and our pediatrician recommend us that we wear him more instead of pushing him around in a stroller. I was paralyzed because I am so, so, so, so clumsy, the idea of having a tiny baby strapped to my body seemed like a bad one. But the Tula is so easy to use, I was confident from day one. Wearing him became one of my favorite things. Even now with him being a almost 30 pound toddler, wearing him is one of my favorite methods of transportation for him.

More to know: The Free to Grow model is the most adaptable, allowing you to carry a 7 pound to a 45 pound child. They also come in the cutest prints ever.

$159

4. Nanit Plus baby monitor

nanit baby monitor

Why we love it: I made the mistake of initially purchasing only an audio monitor. It worked for the first few months, but once our kid could roll and move around the crib, we needed to know if his cries meant he was stuck or just having a bad dream. After a ton of research, we went with the Nanit Plus because it's Wifi based so you can keep tabs on your little one even when you are not home, which was key for us since we are both working parents. Nanit also gives you a report on how many hours your child is sleeping, which if you are obsessed with data like I am, it's amazing to have.

More to know: You can mount the camera from your wall and take it with you on trips so you also have an on-the-go monitor.

$285.80

5. Magic Merlin Sleepsuit

merlin sleepsuit

Why we love it: I mentioned we travel a lot, and also that we used the Snoo. Those two things are not compatible because the Snoo is not the easiest thing to bring with you on a trip. So for when we did go away from home, I discovered the Merlin Magic Sleepsuit that helped him keep sleeping through the night without issues. Bonus: It makes babies look like they are little marshmallows and it's adorable.

More to know: It's for babies from 3-6 months as long as they aren't rolling yet. There are also different type of fabrics to choose from, depending on the season to make sure your little one doesn't overheat.


$39.95

6. Pockit+ Stroller

pockit stroller

Why we love it: For when you do need a stroller—like for a long trip or a visit to the zoo—the Pockit+ was a game changer for us. We travel a lot, and our regular stroller was just too bulky and heavy to drag around. A fellow traveler parent recommended this one to use and we really put it to the test taking it on several plane rides. In all of them, the stroller fit either in the overhead compartment or under the seat, impressing even the most experienced flight attendants.

More to know: The stroller comes with carseat adaptors if your little one still doesn't have great head control to ride in a regular stroller.

$229.95

7. Fisher-Price baby dome

fisher price baby dome

Why we love it: We have two dogs that are super curious and for the first couple of weeks it meant that I was holding our baby in my arms all the time to prevent them from sniffing him too much (such a first-time mom thing, now they lick his face all day and he loves it.) It was exhausting and it meant I needed someone around if I wanted to go to the bathroom or grab a glass of water. Our friends gifted us the Fisher-Price baby dome and it changed it all. We used it a ton in our living room for our son to hang and play with age-appropriate toys, away from the dogs. We took it to the park where he snoozed shaded away from the sun thanks to the SPF canopy. We even took it to the pool, where we all chilled and enjoyed the day.

More to know: The whole thing folds in half making it easy to store in small places or even under the couch!

$65

8. Munchkin Inflatable duck tub

munchkin bath tub

Why we love it: The first time we gave our baby a bath we went for the sink approach. We all hated it. I cried, baby cried, husband did his best at trying to console both of us. We then tried the baby tub with a mesh insert, we still hated it. We decided to move to showers with dad to avoid more family trauma. Eventually I went through the baby shower gifts we received and found this inflatable duck tub and it was like magic—we suddenly all loved bath time again. It's easy to inflate, fits inside regular tubs and leaves enough room for baby to sit or slightly lean back without the enormity of a regular tub.

More to know: The tub comes with a sticker that changes color if water is too hot, giving moms even more peace of mind during baths.

$21.99

9. Zutano booties

zutano booties

Why we love it: Any experienced mom will tell you these booties are the best thing ever invented. They keep feet safe, come in all the colors you can imagine, and have rubber soles for those starting to learn how to walk. But best of all? They won't ever fall off your child's feet. Honestly, I wish they made them in adult sizes because they look so comfortable and are sooooo soft.

More to know: They are perfect for activities that require grippy socks.

$25

10. Avent glass bottles

avent baby bottles

Why we love it: Becoming a mom made me hyper-aware of how much waste children make. Also, how a lot of the baby products are made of plastic. When I realized that my future involved a lot of bottles, I opted to go with glass ones because it seemed like a better option for the environment. Plus, I'm lazy and these can be placed in the dishwasher with the rest of your dishes without worrying about the material getting cloudy or smelly (like it happens with plastic bottles.)

More to know: I was afraid of breaking them at first, but after dropping them multiple times (once on a concrete sidewalk) and the bottles coming out unscratched, I realized they were even better quality than I initially thought.

$35.74


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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As the saying goes, "failing to prepare is preparing to fail," and that seriously applies to parenting. With no fewer than one dozen items to wrangle before walking out the door on an ordinary errand, mamas have plenty on their mind. That is why one of the very best gifts you can give the mamas in your life this year is to reduce her mental load with some gear she can depend on when she's out and about.

Although it may be impossible to guarantee completely smooth outings with kids in tow, here are the items we rely on for making getting out of the house less of a chore.

1. Bugaboo Bee 5 stroller

This stroller is a dream come true for any mama on the go. (Meaning: All of us!) Lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver with just one hand, this is made for navigating busy sidewalks with ease—or just fitting in the trunk without a major wrestling match. It's designed for little passengers to love just as much, too, with a bassinet option for newborn riders that can be easily swapped with a comfy, reclining seat that can face forward or backward for bigger kids.

$699

2. Bugaboo wheel board

This wheel board will let big brother or sister easily hitch a ride on the stroller if their little legs aren't quite up for a full walk. We love the smart details that went into the design, including a slightly offset position so Mom or Dad can walk without bumping their legs. And because toddlers have strong opinions of their own, it's brilliant that the wheel board allows them to sit or stand.

$125

3. Nuby Keepeez cup strap

If you know a little one gearing up for the major leagues with a killer throwing arm, this is a must-have so parents aren't buying new sippy cups on a weekly basis. Perfect for tethering to high chairs, strollers, car seats and shopping carts, it allows Mama to feel confident she'll return home with everything she left with in the first place.

$6.99

4. Bugaboo footmuff

For those mamas who live anywhere where the temps regularly dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, this ultra-soft, comfortable footmuff is a lifesaver. Made with water-repellant microfleece, it keeps little ones dry and cozy—whether there is melting snow, a good drizzle or simply a spilled sippy cup.

$129.95

5. Bugaboo stroller organizer

Because we know #mombrain is no joke, we are all for products that will help us stay organized—especially when out and about. With multiple zipper pockets, a sleek design and velcro straps that help it easily convert to a handbag when stepping away from the stroller, it helps keep essentials from spare diapers to the car keys within reach.

$39.95

6. Bugaboo Turtle car seat

It may be called a car seat, but we love that this one is specifically designed to securely click into a stroller frame, too. (Meaning there is no need to wake up a sleeping baby for a car-to-stroller transfer!) More reasons to love it are the lightweight design, UPF 50+ sun protection shade and Merino wool inlay, meaning it's baby and mama friendly.

$349

7. Chicco QuickSeat hook-on chair

This hook-on baby chair will almost certainly earn a spot on your most-used list. Perfect for dining out or simply giving your baby a space to sit, it's portable and beyond easy to install. (Plus, it's a great alternative to those questionably clean high chairs at many restaurants!)

$57.99

8. Bugaboo stroller cup holder

Chasing after kids when out and about can work up a thirst, just like neighborhood strolls in the chillier months can get, well, chilly. So we love that this cup holder will help mama keep something for herself to drink close at hand. Designed to accommodate bottles of all sizes and easy to click onto any compatible stroller, it's a perfect stocking stuffer.

$29.95

9. Bugaboo soft wool blanket

Fair warning with this luxe stroller blanket: It's so cozy that you might want to buy another one for yourself! Made with Merino wool that helps it stand up to any elements parents might encounter during an outing, it will help baby stay warm during the winter and cool enough as the temps start to pick up.

$109.95

10. Munchkin silicone placemats

Made to roll and stow in a diaper bag, these silicone placemats will make dining out a (relatively) less messy experience. With raised edges that will help contain spills and a grippy bottom, they will stay in place on tables so that parents might be able to enjoy their own meals, too.

$8.99

11. Bugaboo Breezy seat liner

Designed to keep baby warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm, this seat liner will minimize fusses during all seasons—which is one of the very best gifts you can give a mama. Because accidents of all types can happen on the go, we also love that this seat liner is reversible! With a number of colors, it's also a fun way to help a stroller to stand out at the playground.

$79.95

12. OXO Tot Handy stroller hook

If you ever catch yourself thinking it would be nice to have another hand, these stroller clips are the next-best solution for when you are out and about. Perfect for lugging a bag or anchoring a cup, you'll want a set for every stroller you own.

$14.99

This article was sponsored by Bugaboo. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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We can't lie to you—the idea of matching family holiday pajamas gets us all sorts of giddy inside. They're the perfect early holiday present for kids to wear on Christmas morning and the best excuse to wear loungewear all day long.

So snuggle up next to the fire 🔥, grab some hot chocolate ☕, and get ready to rock these comfy, cozy matching PJs this holiday season. Shop our favorite looks below!

1. Hearth & Hand with Magnolia

matching family pajamas target

Matching family PJs designed by one of our fave design couple powerhouses Chip & Joanna Gaines? Yes, please. Even the family dog can get in on the fun. Starting at $9.99.

$9.99

2. Hanna Andersson Deer Collection

hanna andersson pajamas

Iconic brand Hanna Andersson pretty much wrote the book on matching family PJs, and we could not love them more. There are so many Insta-worthy styles to choose from, you're going to have trouble choosing just one. Plus, they're on sale right now! Prices start at $28 for kids.

$28

3. Feliz Navidad Collection

feliz navidad matching pajamas

However you say Merry Christmas, celebrate in style with this gorgeous green set. Prices start at $8.39.

$8.39

4. Sleepyheads Holiday

matching pajamas

Made for lounging, Sleepyheads' pajamas have the cutest polar bear designs. These would make the most adorable Christmas morning pictures! Infant pajamas start at $16.99.

$16.99

5. Hanukkah

hanukkah family pajamas

You don't need to celebrate Christmas to get in on the matching family pajama game! We love these coordinating Hanukkah PJs to kick off the Festival of Lights. And, yes, there's a matching piece for your pup! Pieces for your little ones start at $10.49.

$10.49

6. Wondershop Winter Wonderland

matching family pajamas

Nothing adds to the magic of the holidays like mama and a little winter wonderland. How gorgeous are these colors? Prices start at $8.39.

$8.39

7. Harry Potter

harry potter matching family pajamas

Add a little extra magic to the holidays with this Harry Potter set. Mischief managed by mama, of course. Prices start at just $9.09.

$9.09

8. PajamaGram Snowfall Plaid Set

matching family pajamas

These comfy plaid snowflake-filled PJs will keep everyone nice and warm this season. The snowflake theme isn't holiday specific and can be worn all winter long! Prices start at $29.99

$29.99

9. Plaid Collection

matching family pajamas plaid

The perfect pair for your holiday Instagram photo. Prices starting at $8.39.

$8.39

10. Gray Striped Collection

gray striped matching pajamas

If you're not into the holiday colors, or want sets that work outside of the season, we love this minimalist gray striped set. Perfect for cozy days all year long. Prices start at $8.39, mama.

$8.39

11. Jammies for Your Families

khols matching family pajamas

How fun are these festive fairisle prints? There's something everyone in your family will love. Prices start at $19.99.

$19.99

12. Hanna Andersson Stripes Collection

hanna andersson stripe family pajamas

For a classic look, these stripes would be adorable on any family. And, we can't resist that elf hat for your littlest family members. Prices start at $20.

13. Burt's Bees Baby Family Jammies

matching family pajamas burts bees

Made of 100% organic cotton, you won't believe how soft these jammies are. Plus, they're breathable so if you're the type of overheat at night, these are a great option. Prices start at $16.95.

$16.95

14. SleepytimePjs Fleece Deer Plaid

matching family pajamas

You can never go wrong with buffalo plaid and this set doesn't disappoint. The baseball tees offer a more modern look and the deer head is such an adorable touch. Prices start at $6.99.

$6.99

15. Frozen Pajamas Collection

matching family frozen pajamas

If you prefer to have a little Disney on your Christmas morning, we love the classic look of these pajamas. The cold won't bother anyone in this set. Prices start at $9.09.

$9.09

16. Red Buffalo Check Collection

buffalo check family pajamas

There's nothing more classic than buffalo check during the holidays. This one even has nightgowns available! Prices start at $8.39.

$8.39


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Winter is coming, mama. Okay, sorry for the pun, but winter is really coming considering a good chunk of the country is now feeling polar temperatures this week. But don't worry, we've you got covered (literally).

I did extensive research on cozy boots and coats for the upcoming season that are practical and will keep you looking stylish so you don't have to go into an internet frenzy search once the snow hits the ground. I've also included some maternity styles for those of you who are pregnant this winter (like me) and need to keep their bump covered. Plus there are some for the kids, too!

These are the coziest boots and coats our team is buying this winter:

J.Crew Nordic boots

Nordic Boots

I got these when I was pregnant with my first because I was really terrified of slipping on ice, but also wanted to look stylish and let me tell you, they were a hit. That was two seasons ago and mine are still in great shape. Each boot comes with two pairs of shoelaces so you can dress them up or down depending on your mood (and outfit!) They are super warm and look cute with pants or dresses.

$198

Sperry saltwater shiny quilted boots

https://www.zappos.com/p/sperry-saltwater-shiny-quilted-black/product/8899214/color/3

These Sperry boots will have you jumping in puddles with your kids without getting your toes cold. They are fully waterproof, have micro-fleece lining on the inside for extra warmth and a zipper for putting them on and taking them off easily.

$107.90

Garnet Hill kids wool slippers

Baby Boiled Wool Slippers

These wool slippers will keep the tiniest feet around warm and protected. Plus, they come in a variety of fun animals that will keep any baby entertained.

$28

The North Face ThermoBall™ vest

The North Face ThermoBall\u2122 Vest

This vest is ideal for layering on really cold days, as it is super thin but mega warm. It's also great to wear as an outer layer when you go out running since it won't get in your way. Also, it's designed to be packed into one of its pockets, making it great for travel or putting away when the warmer days come our way.

$89.40

J.Crew Chateau parka

Chateau parka in Italian stadium-cloth wool

If you are looking for a pop of color during the dark days, these parkas from J.Crew come in vibrant colorways. They are super warm, stylish and practical—I still haven't found a coat that has better designed pockets as this one. The price is steep but I've had mine for almost four seasons now and it's still in rotation because the quality is so good.

$375

Dr. Martens fur-lined boots

FUR-LINED 2976 LEONORE WYOMING CHELSEA BOOTS

I've been wearing Dr. Martens since I was in high school (not the same pair, but almost) and I cannot speak highly enough about their quality and resistance. These shoes are made to last you forever and endure all types of weather. These are my fave because they are fur-lined inside to keep your toes warm and require no laces to tie, which is ideal when you are super pregnant.

$150

Bog kids boots

Bogs Kids Classic High Waterproof Insulated Rubber Rain and Winter Snow Boot for Boys, Girls and Toddlers, Multiple Color Options

These rubber and neoprene boots will let your kids splash around in all and every puddle without worrying about their feet getting cold and wet. They are also super durable and light so they can be passed on to younger siblings.

$55.39

Kylie metallic hooded puffer coat

Metallic Hooded Puffer Coat

This is a head-turner jacket and I'm obsessed with it. I's water-resistant and comes with thumb holes to make sure the sleeves keep you warm and covered. Plus, it's on sale right now!

$169.99

J.Crew Chateau puffer jacket

Chateau puffer jacket with PrimaLoft\u00ae

This puffer is everything. The colors are bright and cool, the design is amazing and the hood comes lined so you won't need to carry a hat that will definitely mess up your hair and give you static. It's inspired by the wool coat mentioned above, but what's even better about this one is that it's filled with eco-friendly "PrimaLoft," meaning each coat keeps 15 plastic bottles out of oceans and landfills.

$198

Orolay down jacket (the most-wanted jacket on Amazon)

Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket

This puffer is a hit on Amazon with more than 7,000 reviews that say it's a 4-star coat. Literally every influencer has had this coat and there is a reason why it's a bestseller every winter. It comes in six cool colors that are easy to dress up or down.

$139.99

Orolay children's hooded down coat

Orolay Children Hooded Down Coat Girls

Plus you can also match with your little ones since Orolay just launched the kids' version of the Insta-famous jacket.

$129.99

Lamo kids classic boot

KIDS CLASSIC BOOT

This is one of Lamo's all-time popular boots. It comes in three neutral colors that are easy to match with any outfit and the exterior is suede, while the interior is soft and comfortable for tiny toes to wiggle in and stay warm.

$57.99

Native Shoes Lhotse boots

Save the Duck Native Shoes Lhotse Boots

These boots by Native (yes the brand your kids love) are just amazing. They are wind- and water-resistant while also being super duper light and soft. The faux-fur lining keeps toes warm and they don't have laces. Plus, I kind of love how they look like astronaut shoes.

$135

Penfield kirby jacket

https://www.backcountry.com/penfield-kirby-jacket-womens?CMP_SKU=PNF00EP&MER=0406&skid=PNF00EP-BK-M&mr:trackingCode=D6FA3406-FBC0-E811-8107-005056944E17&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=plaonline&iv_=__iv_p_1_g_13362760597_c_92885917477_w_pla-578706444955_n_g_d_c_v__l__t__r_1o2_x_pla_y_7811_f_online_o_PNF00EP-BK-M_z_US_i_en_j_578706444955_s__e__h_9004338_ii__vi__&CMP_ID=PLA_GOc001&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PLA&k_clickid=_k_EAIaIQobChMIyNbr2ejn5QIVGm6GCh1uiAsdEAQYAiABEgLUmfD_BwE_k_&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyNbr2ejn5QIVGm6GCh1uiAsdEAQYAiABEgLUmfD_BwE

If you are looking for a jacket that can be worn every day with any outfit, this one is it since black is the easiest color to dress up or down. It's fully insulated for the cold and wet days. The pockets are also fleece lined so no need for gloves (as long as you keep your hands in there!)

$195

Bird Rock Baby moccasins

Confetti Baby Moccasins

These baby moccasins are just the cutest out there. Great for the littlest ones in the family to look stylish with some tights or while hanging out at home playing. There are colors and patterns for everyone's taste and the quality is outstanding.

$25

Elora maxi puffer coat

ELORA Women's Winter Warm Full Length Fleece Lined Maxi Puffer Coat

If you are going for a full coverage look, this long coat is for you. Sure, it looks like a sleeping bag with feet, but there is no denying that you will be warm, cozy and dry while wearing it. Plus, the 5-star rating from 215 other people means that you can't go wrong.

$110

Native Shoes Johnny Treklite

Native Shoes Johnny Treklite

An alternative to the classic Timberlands, these Native Shoes boots come in a super cute light pink to lighten up any outfit you put together. It has a rugged tread to prevent slips and falls while still being comfortable inside.

$94.95

Canada Goose trillium parka

Canada Goose Women's Trillium Parka

If you are looking for a major investment this is the jacket for you. It's made for extreme weathers and will keep you warm and dry regardless of what you are wearing underneath it. It's built to last, I've had mine for over six years now and it's still like brand new.

$950

Timberland jayne waterproof teddy fleece boots

Timberland Jayne Waterproof Teddy Fleece Fold Down

These Timberlands are a more feminine version of the classic and iconic boots. It's fully waterproof, although since it's nobuk I would take super good care of them to keep them looking as pristine as day one. Inside is a soft fleece lining to keep your feet cozy. They can be worn folded down to show off the fleece or rolled up for extra warmth.

$110.07

J.Crew leather mid-calf high-heel boots

https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/shoes/boots/leather-midcalf-highheel-boots/AB109?color_name=black

If you're looking for boots that will dress up any outfit, these leather ones by J.Crew are a total hit. They are comfortable and will pair well with just about anything in your closet.

$298

Patagonia fleece pullover

Re-Tool Snap-T\u00ae Fleece Pullover

This fleece pullover is perfect for layering under a coat in really cold days. The colors are super cute and the brand is known for its great quality so you'll have this for years to come.

$119

Stonz kids boots 

Stonz Scout Scout Cold Weather Snow Boots Super Insulated, Rugged, Lightweight, and Warm (5T-9T)

These boots are awesome for kids all ages because they're easy to put on and take off, keep feet super dry and warm and won't get in the way of playing with the snow. My son loves them!

$69.99

Universal jacket extender

Universal Jacket Extender for Maternity and Baby-carrying, fits MOST zips, black, one-size

If you, like me, don't want to buy a maternity winter coat that you will only wear for a couple of months, you can get this jacket extender that allows your belly to fit in any of your favorite coats without issues. Bonus points for turning any jacket into a suitable one to also baby wear once baby is out in the world.

$99.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, there are some clear favorite products that have been in everyone's cart. Personalized gifts were a hit this year and so are Montessori presents for the little ones so it's no surprise that this wooden name puzzle is one item that everyone is buying for their kids this season on Etsy.

The puzzle is totally customizable—you can pick up to 10 letters and choose from four different color schemes and come up with your own.

You can shop it now to get it just in time for the holidays:

Personalized wooden name puzzle

Wooden Name Puzzle with Bear and Mountain, Christmas Gift, Personalized Gift for Toddlers

The puzzle will help little ones learn letters, colors, shapes and how to spell their names. It will also help them with their gross motor skills as they put letters into place. Plus, this store has more than 7,000 5-star reviews. 🙌 The price ranges from $29.99 to $47.99 depending on how many letters you choose. It also comes with a cute bear and a mountain for extra cuteness.

$29.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Suffering from Elf on the Shelf anxiety this year? Yup, it's a thing. Are you overwhelmed by the tiny red man with great big demands? Did you run out of time to hatch a magically Pinterest-worthy Elf plan this holiday season? Or you completely forget to move the elf for days at a time?

Mama, we hear you and totally understand.

Elf on the Shelf—though awesome in so many ways—isn't for everyone. And if it's feeling more like a chore than a charming Christmas tradition this season, we've got four ideas that are just as fun but a lot less work. So don't let that Elf get you down, mama! Remember, even the smallest things can spark holiday magic in the eyes of our little ones. Don't stress, have fun, and enjoy the season.

Christmas Is Coming! An advent-style podcast from Pinna

Christmas Is Coming!

All you need to do for this one is download and hit play—it doesn't get much easier than that!

Pinna, a new screen-free and ad-free storytelling app for kids, features award-winning series, interactive game shows, audiobooks, and children's podcasts. Its show—Christmas Is Coming!—is an advent-style podcast with a new episode released daily from December 1st through Christmas Eve.

Each day, kids can tune into the North Pole's radio station, WXMAS, and listen to breaking Christmas news.

We got the chance to preview some of the episodes, and our kiddos were hooked! We love the creativity of the storyline, the screen-free entertainment, and the ease of just pressing play.

$7.99

Christmas Countdown Surprise Box

Christmas Countdown Surprise Box

A Christmas Countdown Surprise Box, originally posted on the Teach Me Mommy blog, is just that: a box filled with bags for each day of December that each hold a small surprise. All you'll need is a cardboard box (or any type of box, really), 25 envelopes or brown bags and some blank stickers. And of course some small surprises for inside of the envelopes.

We love this idea because you can do as much—or as little—as you'd like, and you can customize the bags' content depending on the age of your kiddos. If you want to get creative, you can decorate the outside of the box and the envelopes, but you definitely don't have to.

The best part will be watching your little ones' faces light up as they open a new surprise each day. Download the free template and find most of the item needed in your home.

$0.00

Random acts of kindness Christmas calendar

Random acts of kindness

We love anything that builds our children's sense of social consciousness. The Random Acts of Kindness Christmas Calendar, is a simple way to show kids that they can have a powerful impact on others.

All you'll need for this one is a blank calendar so you can fill in your own acts of kindness. Each day can be customized based on your children's ages and what sorts of activities you think you and your family are up for.

It's not only easy, but the payoff is huge—you're teaching your kiddos about helping others, and that's a lesson that will last longer than any holiday gift ever could.

$4.99

Christmas book countdown

Christmas book countdown

Have a little bookworm on your hands? We love this idea both as a holiday activity and a way to build your family's holiday book collection year over year.

Countdown to Christmas with a different holiday book each day! Or, to make it easier on yourself, open a book "package" every few days, or even sub a few books with your family's favorite holiday movies.

You can use a mix of new books and books you already own—trust me, your kids will most likely have forgotten about them since last year! (Same goes for the movies—use the ones you already have, or include a little note instead that gives kids a few movie downloads.)

All you'll need is wrapping paper for each book or movie, and a cute way to display them. It's easy and adorable!

$10


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