Holidays are just around the corner and for many stepmoms, that means stress, pressure and a need for massive alcohol consumption. But I see the holidays as an easy opportunity to shine. Kids can be so complicated sometimes but one simple thing they all share is a love for presents. This is a perfect time to nail the gifts and look like the superhero stepmom. Growing up my stepmom sucked, but one thing I always respected her for was her amazing gift selections for me at Christmas/Hanukkah time. If you give gifts at other times of the year to try to get on your step child's good side, it could come off as a cheap attempt at bribery. But at this time of year, you have a free pass to buy people's love and affection! Of course in the ideal world stepmothers and stepchildren would love each other for who they are, but we don't live in ideal world do we? I think we should give ourselves full permission to put ourselves in the best light possible and if being a great gift giver gets us there, then hello department store!
So become the Sherlock Holmes of Christmas/ Hanukkah and cleverly find out what these kids want most! I always start with my husband. I question him until I am blue in the face. Of course he usually isn't too much help so I move on to other resources. Call me a stalker but I'll go into their rooms when they are not home to see if I can get any clues about their currents interests. Sports magazines laying around? Cosmetics in the bathroom? I have even checked their internet history to see what sites they have visited recently. Maybe you see they keep visiting baseball statistic websites. Or maybe you see they keep checking the same items on amazon. Of course these investigative tips apply more to the older kiddos. The younger munchkins are easier. Just add candy to every present and you are golden! The take home message is to put a little effort into finding out the children's specific interests and buying accordingly versus typing into google "presents to buy an 8 year old" and going with something totally generic.
Another superficial yet effective trick is wrapping the presents like a rockstar. Presentation points matter! Take two minutes on Pinterest and get some creative ideas. Wrap a shirt in a box but then make a wrapping paper tie to stick on it. Wrapped into the ribbon, stick a candy bar. Use wrapping paper with the kids' face printed on it (www.giftwrapmyface.com). Even if your gifts stink, they will remember the beautiful wrapping job. It just makes things more fun and festive and your gifts will stand out among the rest in a positive way. It sounds trivial, but I’m telling you, kids appreciate this. It makes the gift opening ritual even more special.
And after all this work of getting the perfect gifts and wrapping them Martha Stewart style, make sure you take credit for your accomplishments! As the kids are opening presents tell them why you got it for them, what the other choices were and why you landed on this one, and so on. Tell them a story. It will show the thought and hard work you put into it and anybody will appreciate that. Nobody wants to picture their loved one sitting at a computer screen and taking advantage of Amazon’s “one-click buying” option. That is no fun (even though it is the best invention EVER). Everyone wants to picture that the gift giver was freezing in line outside at 5am on Black Friday to ensure they got the lucky person what they wanted. Make them feel special and you will become special.
So get those perfect gifts, wrap them amazingly, and then don't forget to take all the credit! You want to shine like a glowing Christmas star this holiday! Why not?!