Lorelei or Roseanne: What’s Your TV Parent Personality?

One of my favorite mom-to-mom blog resources is Cafémom. Recently, an article about TV mother-daughters reminded me of my panic when I found out I was having a girl – a story I’m finally willing to admit to and share out loud.


Here’s the straight, never-before-admitted, honest, mom-to-mom, truth: I never wanted a girl. Now, I said all the right things out loud … “I am just so happy to have a baby at all, I just hope it’s healthy, so I don’t care whether it’s a boy or girl.”


But in reality, I really wanted a boy. Like, really.


I’d always been a tomboy. It wasn’t until my 30s that I really developed healthy relationships with girlfriends. I was terrified of the prospect of relating to a girl. Terrified of the terrible teens, terrified of the hormones, terrified of the drama, terrified that girls always hate their mothers.


When I found out I was having a girl, the first thing I did was binge-watch Gilmore Girls. I thought if I could discern the secret sauce to perfect mother-daughter relationships that Loreali had clearly discovered, I might make it without a complete nervous break-down.  I’m not kidding, so don’t laugh, but I literally took notes.


Now that my older daughter is hitting the dreaded teens, I realized that sadly, you need both a mom like Loreali AND a daughter like Rory, so there’s a reason this is a fictional show — the chances both exist together in the same world (let alone the same family) are slim to none. Maybe somewhere in the world, a mother and teenage daughter have established the fun, easy, banter-filled relationship that this show presents, but it wasn’t true in my life. Despite my best intentions, if I had to pick a TV mom I realistically have come to resemble, I’m way more like Roseanne than Loreali. And, it works for me, and my daughters. We may not have the “snuggle-in-and-watch-movies-together-while-drinking-coffee-and-speed-talking” relationship that you see on Gilmore Girls, but we have sarcasm, teasing and passive-aggressive insults. It’s not understandable by everyone, but it works for us, and although the conversations take a decidedly different slant, I think our relationship is Loreali-Rory worthy.


What have I learned after having a girl for 11 years (although she acts like it’s been 15…)? I have learned that yes, hormones happen. Yes, her moods are unpredictable — one minute she is cuddling with me, the next she hates every bone in my body. Yes, it’s not easy. But… it’s easier than I thought. I’m stronger than I thought. I can take “MOM I HATE YOU!” with a laugh, an eye-roll, and a fun retort. I can shrug off the drama, tears, and hysteria from “her ONLY pair of decent jeans being in the wash, OMG she has NOTHING to wear!” I can walk away from the everything in the world being my fault and embrace the title of “MEANEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!”  And for that, I thank Roseanne, and the valuable lessons she taught me. Loreali has nothing on her.


[Editor’s Note: CICADA Magazine for teens age 14 and up is great way to help your child navigate the stormy waters of adolescence. Featuring exciting new works in fiction, poetry, and comics, plus interviews with the authors and illustrators who made it happen, CICADA is a place for teens to speak their truths. PLUS, free with each paid subscription to CICADA comes access to bonus content on the magazine’s companion Web site, www.cicadamag.com, the online home of CICADA. The site features The Slam, our award-winning online forum for microfiction and poetry. Designed for budding writers, CicadaMag.com gives teens writing tips and submissions needs for CICADA and urges them to keep up with their writing practice, even when they may feel discouraged. Rory Gilmore would totes approve.]


Cricket Media Mama realized, as her daughters entered the dreaded puberty, she’s eternally grateful for a girl because “The Talk” is way more manageable than it would have been with a boy.


A Plug for Unplugging

Recently I wrote a blog about the surprise benefit of unplugging from my phone for a few hours. Since then, I have learned some additional benefits such as better rest, less anxiety, and oddly, less snacking. Apparently, I tended to eat when obsessively hitting refresh on Twitter to make sure I haven’t missed any celebrity deaths.


Other important lessons:


  1. FOMO is a real thing. No, it’s nothing like YOLO. Fear of Missing Out is what I discovered in my enlightenment blog after leaving my phone at home. I was afraid I’d miss things by not being connected to everything. More importantly, I’d convinced myself that I would be missed. If I wasn’t responding, retweeting, liking, answering, commenting… the world would explode. Clearly, since I’m here writing this follow up, it did not. It’s a jolt our egos need once in a while.
  2. Be bored. We never take time to appreciate the sensation of boredom. First of all, much like a muscle, your brain needs to rest after being stimulated in order to optimize its strength. Plus, being bored allows our minds to wander and our creativity kicks in. Creating instead of consuming can only yield positive results.
  3. Our most fulfilling relationships are the ones that are physically in front of us. I’ll just leave that right there.

And the most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is to model unplugging for your kids. Being <cough> years old, I remember the days before smart phones and tablets. Heck, I remember the days before pagers. So, I know what it’s like to live a life unplugged.


My kids, on the other hand, don’t. And that’s sad.


So I decided to implement my self-enforced unplugged time on the rest of the family: one hour, every day, no phones, no computers, no tablets, no television. Additionally, no electronics at the dinner table. This was met with mixed results. To be honest, this was met with full-on melt-downs. From kids and husband alike. So we compromised. We are doing a trial period of a month.


They say you only understand an addiction when you’ve taken it away. We’ll see how this experiment goes and I’ll keep you posted.


Cricket Media Mama may be blogging a lot more frequently as her ban on electronics has resulted in her ban from the good graces of her family.

5 Tips To Help You Change Your Mind

How many of you made New Year’s resolutions to work out?


(Note: you can’t see me, but my hand is up, making it increasingly difficult to type)


I made that resolution. But I’m not working out my body. Not saying I don’t need to… I’ve just accepted the fact that I’ve got a full-time job, freelance jobs, kids, a dog, a cat, a husband, a house, and unreasonably high expectations for myself. Plus, I like sleeping at night. So, I’m just well past the stage where I make a promise to myself to lose weight and get healthy. However, I will be exercising an important muscle: MY BRAIN!


One of my favorite sites, Lifehacker, has some great tips to make the most of your brain workout. I’ve stolen and revised them, keeping the same principals but highlighting the ones that, to me, make the most sense (and are the easiest to fit into my daily routine). I thought I would share them with you in case you, too, could use some life hacks designed to boost your brain power.


  1. Try new things. Every time you do something different, you’re stimulating your mind, creating new neural pathways, and increasing your intelligence. It can be as simple as taking a new route home or testing a new recipe for dinner.
  2. Memorize. Back in the day, we all had to memorize our home phone numbers. Nowadays, we don’t have home phones, and people don’t always actually know the numbers for their own cell phones. Learn that number. And while you’re at it, learn your social security number, your passport number, and your credit card numbers. Every time you memorize something, you’re flexing your brain.
  3. Exploit the power of positive thinking. “Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.” So, turn that frown up-side-down!
  4. Sleep. Detox your brain so your body can regenerate cells and remove all the toxins that have built up during the day.This will help you reach peak performance each day.
  5. Un-modernize. Travel without GPS, turn off the TV and pick up a book, and put the calculator away while you solve some math problems with a good old-fashioned pen and paper. These exercises all work towards training your brain.


Editor’s Note: Help your kids change their minds in the best possible way with a subscription to one of our award-winning, ad-free discovery magazines, including CLICK (ages 3 to 6), ASK (ages 6 to 9), and MUSE (ages 9 to 14). You might even want to get this back issue of ASK called “Meet the Brain” to enhance your kids’ knowledge of the mastermind behind their unique personality.


Cricket Media Mama loves any resolution that lets her work towards achieving her goal by sleeping! 


Phoney Claims

Brace yourselves, I have a horror story to share.


I walked out of my house a few weeks ago without my phone. More accurately, I RUSHED out of my house without my phone. Let’s not pretend I’m ever on time to anything. Already 15 minutes late, by the time I realized I didn’t have it, I couldn’t afford to turn around and get it. I was stuck, at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party, with nothing to distract me.


After my initial feelings of shock, disappointment, self-loathing, unquenchable desires to flee, anxiety that I was missing all the important emails, texts, phone calls, levels in Candy Crush, and celebrity death announcements on Twitter, I took a deep breath and realized I had to come to terms with self-entertainment. Normally, I’d consider conversing with other the other adults at the party, but those who were not immediately involved in making sure there were enough tokens and pizza slices were face-down, buried in their phones or tablets. Undoubtedly reading up on all the celebrity death announcements on Twitter. Jerks.


This was a serious test of my strength and patience. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible.


The upside is that even with the non-stop chatter, music, creepy-animatronics dancers, and ceaseless videogame soundtracks, I actually felt myself unwind a little. I’m not saying I found a zen-like state of meditation in Chuck E Cheese, cause that’s just crazy talk, but once I accepted I COULDN’T check my phone, and my hand stopped twitching in an attempt to grab a phantom device that wasn’t there, I closed my eyes, leaned back, and actually relaxed. It was like that ten minutes in the shower minus the water and plus clothes. Which, now that I think about it, those ten uninterrupted minutes in the shower is often when I have my best ideas. That says something.


The downside was that … well. Actually. There wasn’t a downside.


I thought about a book idea I’ve been playing with and mapped out a couple plot points that could propel the story forward. I even (gasp) pulled out a pen and wrote some thoughts down. I found a magazine in my bag that I got with my receipt from the supermarket and opened it up. It was FULL OF COUPONS! Who knew?! After that I organized my bag, cleaned out my coat pockets, and filed my nails (having found a very handy nail file in the bag that I had no idea I even owned!) Before I knew it, my daughter was back, pointing out the party had been over for hours and they were sweeping up all the discarded pocket trash around my feet.


I felt lighter (figuratively and literally – seeing as how I reduced the weight of my bag by about 12 pounds in discarded receipts). My mind was clear. I drove home undistracted by my usual whirlwind of thoughts where I processed the emails, phone calls, texts, and celebrity deaths I’d just dealt with. My daughter and I had a great conversation about the correlation between the increase in childhood traumatic nightmares and the increase in creepy animatronic dancing. The most amazing part of the day was that when I got home, I didn’t make a mad dash for the phone. I put a few things away, talked to my husband and other daughter about my day, and had a cup of tea in marvelous, wonderful, sacred silence. When I finally picked my phone back up, I realized something vital: After hours of being away from my phone, no one missed me. It was a bit of a relief and a bit of a blow to my ego, but more importantly, it allowed me to give myself permission to unplug every day. It’s amazing how much I get done without the distractions, and how much money I’ve saved with these awesome coupon books I’m finally paying attention to.


Cricket Media Mama was so attached to her phone, that she once used it to contact her kids, when they were right upstairs. She realized she might have a problem after that close call.

Screen Beings

Just like children believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, I have a vision that somewhere, out there, a magical, mythical mother exists. One who charts out exactly the right amount of screen-time, per child, per age, per device, sets AND enforces these limits, and yet somehow still miraculously maintains perfect family harmony. This fantasy mother never gets confused by the various and often contradicting reports on what healthy limits are, nor does she forget phones and tablets count for screen time, too. Of course, this fantasy mom also has a spotless house, pre-prepared healthy dinners, 100% PTA participation, well-behaved pets who walk themselves, and most likely that time machine Hermione used in the third Harry Potter book. So there’s that.


A brief history of my philosophy when it came to screen time:


First baby born: “I don’t have to worry about screen-time rules. We’ll read to you, and play with you, and walk around with you, and keep you entertained all the time. You won’t even want to watch TV.”


First baby turns one: “I don’t give a flying fig about screen-time rules. Will you please just watch TV so I can go pee by myself?!”


It only went downhill from there.


Now that my kids are old enough to navigate phones, laptops, and the ever-confusing TV remote(s), and they still have free range so long as they are out of my hair, I realize it’s probably time to look back into the guidelines. Okay, it’s way past time. And over the last 11 years, the guidelines have changed a lot.


The last time I checked the recommended amount was two hours per day. Even with that, I’d been a proponent of do what’s best for your kid, and for your family. If your family unwinds with a family TV show after dinner, don’t leave your kids out because they already spent two hours doing their homework on the computer.


It seems like the American Academy of Pediatrics is listening to me. FINALLY!  On Oct. 2016, at a conference for 10,000 pediatricians, it was announced that, “The academy recommends that for children 2 to 5 years of age, screen time should be limited to one hour per day. For kids ages 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for time spent using screen, as well as monitor the types of digital media their children use.”


“It doesn’t make sense to make a blanket statement [of two hours] of screen time anymore,” said Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report” and assistant professor at UCLA. “For some children, two hours may be too much.”


Or, for some parents, two hours might be too little!


Either way, here are some good rules of thumb:


  • Prioritize productive time over entertainment time.
  • Ensure school, homework time, and social time are factored in.
  • Kids should get at least one hour of physical time and anywhere from eight to 12 hours of sleep.
  • Designate media free times and locations, such as family dinner or bedrooms.


Four easy little guides, right? Piece of cake to follow and implement. Don’t worry, we all need a hand. Try this: Family Media Plan creator and calculator. And remember, some days you may be practically screen free and some days your child will spend the entire day on her butt watching TV. As long as the average of those two extremes is something you can live with, you are doing OK.



Cricket Media Mama was considering writing a blog about how adults … (hang on, someone texted me) …  should model proper media consumption … (ohhh! I just got a new level in Pokemon Go!) …  for children, but she … (Ha! I should forward this email) …. Wait, what was I saying?  

7 Ways to Help Your Children Discriminate Against Discrimination

Most of us want to raise our kids to have cultural sensitivity and to be free of prejudices. However, the reality is we live in a world where there is racism, bigotry, and discrimination. And we all have our own unconscious biases that can get passed along despite our best efforts.


The easiest way to help overcome these obstacles is to provide your children with a rounded view and multiple perspectives every time you can. With that in mind, here are 7 suggestions we hope will help you raise culturally sensitive kids:


  1. Spontaneously implement short-term random rules such as “Anyone under five feet is not allowed to eat ice-cream” or “Brown-eyed people can’t watch TV” so your kids understand how bigotry is arbitrary and that it is hurtful and confusing to those affected by it.
  2. Take your children to visit places of worship for other faiths and discuss the differences and similarities in the teachings and practices.
  3. Provide an alternative perspective to historical events. Schools often present a one-sided or watered-down view of history so find reading sources for your kids that gives a more complete view.
  4. Get to know a variety of families and people in your community. Ask them to include your family in celebrations or other cultural events so your children have a first-hand explanation of beliefs or practices, not assumptions, or hearsay.
  5. Don’t shield your child from upsetting news. I don’t recommend allowing them to actually watch the news, but talk to them about stories that are making headlines. Chances are, your kids will hear about these articles at school or from friends, and the perspective they are provided from their peers may not be ideal.
  6. Be aware of what you say. Even the most sensitive of us have made (or laughed at) the occasional off-color joke or accidentally let a hurtful stereotype slip when someone cuts us off in traffic. Our kids listen and imitate. Try to be mindful of what you say and do when your kids are around. If you do accidentally blurt something out, explain to your child that what you said was not sensitive and even if the people it was directed to can’t hear it, it’s still wrong.
  7. Consider hosting a foreign exchange student. It’s a phenomenal way for kids to learn about other cultures.

Cricket Media Mama believes strongly in diversity in every aspect of her life, but especially in chocolate. White, milk, dark, nutty, fruity … it’s all equally delicious.

Don’t Drop the Ball on New Year’s Eve!

To let the kids stay up, or not to let the kids stay up. That is the question. And I have no answer for you because you know your kids way better than I do.


Late nights can bring out the worst or the super worst in kids depending on his or her disposition. After a certain witching hour, our kids transform into grumpy and hypergrumpy. That kind of behavior totally messes with my New Year’s mellow, man.


If you want to put your kids to bed early, there are plenty of ways you can still have fun and celebrate the New Year with them. Just follow the World Clock. America is one of the last countries to celebrate New Year’s. If you are up for it, get up at 5:00 AM EST and ring in the Tonga New Year, which will be the first country to welcome 2017. From that point on, you can use a world map and this website http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/firstnewyear.html to celebrate New Year’s every hour(‘ish) as it travels around the world.


An alternative is to pick a few locations your kids are familiar with (maybe where you have family, ancestry, or just a country they know about) and celebrate the New Year as it hits just those countries.


To make it even more fun, look up the customs of those countries and replicate them in your celebrations.


  1. Practice Ousouji (clean your house!) and then eat Toshikoshi Soba noodles and ring a bell 108 times at 10:00 AM EST to celebrate the Japanese New Year.
  2. Make an Olivier salad and say S Novim Godom at 4:00 PM EST to celebrate the Russian New Year. Once you’ve rung in the New Year, bring out a left over gift as a token from Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), who visits children to pass out gifts on New Year’s Day. Fun fact! Instead of elves, he brings along his granddaughter,Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden), to help him.
  3. Change into white clothes with colorful undergarments and eat seven grapes for abundance or chew seven pomegranate seeds to ensure that your wallet will be full, then jump 3 times with your right foot while making wishes for the upcoming year in order to celebrate the Brazilian New Year at 9:00 PM EST.

In many countries, what you eat that night will bring you fortune, so find the right foreign foods to serve throughout the day. As you tick off each hour and each country, your kids will (hopefully) wind down too, leaving you to ring in the New Years with the good old American tradition of a kiss, minus a chorus of “EWWWWW GROOOSSSS!”


Editor’s Note: Whichever way you choose to celebrate, here’s a recipe for a New Year’s punch from SPIDER Magazine that is sure to add a little bit of sparkle to you New Year’s Eve. Enjoy!


New Year's Eve Punch from Cricket Media


Cricket Media Mama once tried to replicate a New York Time Square New Year’s Eve celebration. She is still vacuuming up the confetti.

Get Lit This Hanukkah

The candles! I mean the candles!


It’s been reported that 72 percent of Jewish people in the United States celebrate Hanukkah. This is a bigger percentage than those who partake of any other Jewish rite, including attending a Passover seder or fasting on Yom Kippur. Yet it is one of the most commonly misunderstood holidays.


So, without further ado, please join me for another exciting edition of Cricket Media Mama Myth Busters!!!!


(And by “another exciting edition,” I mean this is the first time I’ve ever done this and it’s only as exciting as the number of exclamation points I can fit in.)


Myth 1. Hanukkah is an important Jewish holiday.


Bust: Ehhhh, no. But because it often falls in December, it’s gained popularity here in the US and like Christmas, gifts are given, special feasts are served and there are holiday movies, songs, decorations and lights involved. Actually, it’s one of the least important occasions on the Hebrew calendar. Passover, Sukkot, and the Sabbath (Shabbat) all incorporate extensive rituals and requirements or prohibitions, whereas the only decree of Hanukkah is to light candles for eight nights. It was intentionally popularized as a way to allow Jewish people, especially children, to commit to the religion in the midst of an important and commercially appealing holiday season for Christians.


Myth 2: The candles represent how a small amount of oil miraculously burned for eight days and eight nights.


Bust: Whether this miracle really happened is questionable, and not just because of the proven limits of oil. There’s no reference to this miracle in early sources based on firsthand accounts. Popular belief is this story was invented by a Rabbi hundreds of years after it supposedly occurred.


Myth 3: Hanukkah is celebrated with potato pancakes.


Bust: Well, yes, latkes (known to some as potato pancakes) are often eaten at Hanukkah, but latkes are iconic and can be centerpiece of many Jewish celebrations as well as eaten any other time of the year. Your typical latke is made of grated potatoes mixed with matzo meal and eggs, and fried in oil to a golden crisp. Creative chefs may experiment with ingredients such as Swiss chard, zucchini, chipotle, feta cheese, and artichokes. Whether this detracts from the traditional dish is less important than the raucous debates about which topping is superior — sour cream or applesauce.


But latkes originated in Eastern Europe, not ancient Israel. And they were first made with curd cheese rather than potatoes. They are a traditional holiday food but not the centerpiece of a holiday meal. In fact, most Jewish communities in other countries use different foods that acknowledge the role of oil from the story of Hanukkah, including doughnuts and French fires.


Want to discover a few more facts and bust a few more myths about Hanukkah? Find out more about the holiday (including more about the history of the holiday and even a recipe or two) from our friends at history.com.


This year, the first night of Hanukkah happens to fall on Christmas Eve, so both Jews and Christians will have a lot to celebrate that night. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, Chanukah Sameach! May the joyous spirit of the holiday follow you all the days of the year.


Editor’s Note: As our Hanukkah gift to you, please enjoy some wonderful Hanukkah stories from the pages of Cricket Media magazines. You’ll find one story attached to our Hanukkah blog from last year. And another, by acclaimed writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, below. Enjoy.


The Power of LightThe Power of Light



Cricket Media Mama has to confess she had to look up the correct spelling of Hanukkah… Hannukkah… Chanukkah? 

Get Your Kids Cooking… It’s the Yeast You Can Do

The holidays are here and suddenly I have no pans left in my kitchen. One daughter is participating in a cookie exchange. The other has a potluck. And guess who is NOT supplementing the goods this year. That’s right – they are on their own.


In case you can’t hear them whining where you live, I’m sooooooo meeeannnnnnn.


Well, guess what? If they can read, they can cook. And because I’m not there to put parameters on what they prepare, they have free range to do whatever they want.


Cookie exchange daughter is working on Butterbeer Cookies, which will be the highlight of her Harry Potter-laden life.


Potluck daughter found a recipe for Chocolate “What the ****” Cake. I’m not even kidding, that’s what it is called. Luckily, she didn’t ask me what the asterisks stood for. Unluckily, I’m pretty sure she already knows. This monstrosity of deliciousness consists of chocolate cake, chocolate icing, chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces, marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Oreo cookie crumbles. I’m not sure where on the internet she was looking to find this recipe, but it reminded me that I should probably recheck the parental controls to make sure they cover food pornography as well as the other kinds.


But making kids cook (with help and supervision as needed) imparts very important lessons. Things kids learn when they cook:


  1. “If I want to double ¼ teaspoon, what measurement would that be?” Personally, I just put in the ¼ teaspoon twice, but I practiced good parenting and made her do the math.
  2. Patience and Perseverance. “OMG MOMMMM I HAVE BEEN STIRRING FOOOORRREEEVERRRRRRRRRR.” Yup, keep going.
  3. The importance of following directions. “What are these lumps?” The flour you neglected to sift despite the recipe clearly specifying that requirement.
  4. Problem solving. “What do I do now?” Figure it out.
  5. “Wow, how come the cake gets so much bigger?” Science is magic darling!
  6. Life is unfair. “Hey!!! Who ate a piece of my cake?” What cake?

15401179_629468140573664_854834967401763106_nEditor’s Note: Check out our new Holiday Countdown Calendar for some pretty yummy recipes (as well as free stories, crafts, and other treats) for your kids to try. And if you want the recipe for Chocolate “What the ****” Cake, comment below and we’ll try to get Cricket Media Mama’s daughter to part with it.


Cricket Media Mama tried to tell her daughters that cooking with her would just increase the margarine of error, butter kids insisted on it. Lard help us.


How to Stay in the Present

Last year around this time, I posted a blog about holiday shopping, or more accurately, holiday overspending. In it, I repeated some good advice that I got and still abide by:


When it comes to gifts, try the rule of four for your kids: one gift they want, one gift they need, one gift they wear, and one gift they read. This allows you to buy them useful, practical gifts that should have a longer shelf life, while still giving them something they want and helping you to maintain a budget.


This year, I’m trying even harder to subscribe to this rule with one exception – and I’ll get to that in a second. My reason for really sticking to the rule of four is that at the beginning of 2016, I established a budget. My kids are at an age where I feel it is really important to demonstrate responsible financial behavior. Modeling this behavior isn’t always easy, but it does give me the ability to blow off a request for the green Hatchimal by saying “Oh, we don’t have the money for that, it’s not in the budget.”


Sticking to the budget is especially difficult at this time of year. But actually it is more important than ever to keep to a budget at Christmas. If I cry “sorry, that’s not in the budget” all year long and then overload the Christmas tree, the kids will get a clear signal that no matter how tight your money is, it’s okay to blow a budget when it comes to holiday gifts. Staying consistent and modeling fiduciary discipline is an important lesson you can give your kids. (See, this is me adulting. Not only do I sound responsible, I use big words like “fiduciary” to do so!)


So when planning your budget work with the rule of four. But my exception to the rule is to shop experience gifts. Look for a class, a camp, a one-time adventure. Consider something for the season like ice-skating or snowboarding. A cooking class or a language class the whole family might enjoy. Art, glass blowing, 3-D modeling, crafting or dancing. Take a zip line adventure, play laser tag or paintball, or make that last gift a family vacation to someplace meaningful to the kids. Memories, skills, and knowledge will last way longer than any green Hatchimals will.


Cricket Media MagazinesEditor’s Note: A gift of Cricket Media children’s magazines won’t bust your budget and fits perfectly in the rule of four. We’ll let you decide which of the four categories it matches.


Cricket Media Mama booked a trip to Harry Potter world for Christmas because she’s all about the experience gifts. Now, she just has to figure out what to give her husband and kids since she’ll be gone.