We have a tradition in our family — Santa brings 3 things for Noah: Something to read, something to wear, something to play with. (Read about our holiday tradition here.) But when he gets older — out of the "toy" phase, please God — we might transition to: something to read, something to wear, something you need, something you want.
So with the latter in mind, I put together a series of gift guides for you early mamas. Because you deserve some thoughtful, useful presents, too. First up: something to read.
1. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten ($21): It says FOOLPROOF in the title. And it's from Ina — so yes.
2. A Hip Handmade Holiday ($10): For those craft early mamas out there, the adorable Alison Faulkner (from The Alison Show) and way talented Susan Peterson (from Freshly Picked) put together a digital craft book with over 150 PDF pages of projects, tutorial videos, and printable essentials. You can either buy your own copy and make gifts for all of your friends, or buy a copy for your crafty early mama friend and email her the link.
3. Everything Is Going to Be OK ($10.36): A message to read daily, on your wall.
4. Handyman In-Your-Pocket ($10.30): How to fix absolutely anything. Man, shman.
5. The Happiness Project ($8.66): Buy this for yourself; buy this for your friends. Change your life.
6. My Ideal Bookshelf ($14.69): I barely have enough time to read books, let alone find good books to read. (Recommendations? Anyone?) My Ideal Bookshelf is a book about the books that influenced and changed dozens of writers and cultural figures — from Nancy Pearl to Judd Apatow. It's like the ultimate recommendation list for people always on the hunt for a good book.
7. My Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Daughter + My Prudent Advice Journal ($10 + $11.33): Before Jaime Morrison Curtis co-founded the mega-popular craft blog Prudent Baby, she wrote a book of advice for her daughter that every mother — every woman — should read. And if you know someone with a little girl, her new Prudent Advice Journal is the kind of "baby book" that every modern woman wants for her little girl. (I was secretly hoping my sister would have a girl so that I could give her this journal; that's how much I love it.)
8. Mom Inc.: The Essential Guide to Running a Successful Business Close to Home ($11.51): Today's young moms have more options than ever to create a flexible career from home — especially those in a creative field (makers, writers, photographers, designers, etc.). This book is about getting started, staying focused, and finding balance. (If anyone would like to buy me this book, there's a certain holiday coming up — (ahem) mom.)
9. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) ($11): How can you not love Mindy Kaling? I mean, honestly. The perfect lighthearted, laugh-along read.
10. Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love ($15.54): This blog-turned-book has tons of simple, budget-friendly DIY ideas around the home — which is an especially great gift for a young couple with a young house.
11. The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood ($10.17): Not only is this a book that any mother would benefit from, but it was written by fellow-early-mama Meagan Francis.
12. Rockabye: From Wild to Child ($11.35): Intrigued by Rebecca Woolf's story of a "wild" young party girl who finds herself with child? And husband? And a brand new, completely foreign life? She wrote a book about it — and, like everything Rebecca does, it's an enjoyable, relatable, incredibly well-written read. I'd recommend it to any young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy.
13. Rattled! ($14.32): Christine Coppa has become the face of single motherhood after her hit book Rattled! — which chronicles the story of a young 26-year-old magazine editor who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, decides to keep the baby (after much insisting from her boyfriend), only to be dumped by said boyfriend in her first trimester — a man who then ran off and started a new life and a new family, and has no communication with their son. It's a compelling story — and women all over the country now cheer her on as a loving single mother (a story she continues to share on Babble.com). Gift this to the young single mamas in your life — because they're not alone.
Note: A lot of these gift ideas came from Wantist.com — a brilliant Web site that I'd recommend for any (all!) of your gift giving. I met Brittany, the founder of Wantist, at Camp Mighty, and she's as lovely as she is thoughtful.