MILK Podcast Holiday Gift Guide

We gathered some of our powerhouse guests from 2018 to put together a list of holiday gifts to give (or treat yourself to) in celebration of a year of inspiring, creative MILKs who are making art, helping us heal, and creating stronger communities. Cheers!

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WELLNESS AND HEALING

What Would Virginia Woolf Do: And Other Questions I Ask Myself as I Attempt to Age Without Apology

This funny and informative book by MILK Podcast guest Nina Lorez Collins grew out of her popular Facebook Group of the same name, where women – with strong opinions and humor – share their private selves with bravery and most of all, humor.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

MILK Podcast guest Angela Garbes wrote this beautiful book based on an article she wrote for Seattle's alt-weekly, The Stranger, called “The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am.” The story became the publication’s most read piece in its twenty-four year history, and the inspiration for Like A Mother, an essential read for all new moms.

If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter’s Notebook

Written by MILK Podcast guest and New York Times writer Katie Rosman, this memoir marries a daughter's quest to truly know her late mother, with a reporter’s attention to detail, humor, and pathos.

Modern Loss: Candid conversations about grief. Beginners welcome

Co-authored by MILK podcast guest Rebecca Soffer the Modern Loss book has been blurbed by everyone from Mindy Kaling to Stephen Colbert to Anna Sale. It is practical, surprising, and filled with the darkly humorous and tender details of death's inevitability.

And check out the Modern Loss community's Holiday Gift Guide for more thoughtful - and fun - holiday gift ideas.

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VOTING AND RESISTING

Vote Like a Mother

Rock your Vote Like a Mother shirt and buy a tote bag for a friend who wants to spread the word about this organization, founded by MILK Podcast guest Sara Berliner.

Vote Like a Mother sells ethically sustainable merch with a wink, benefits mom run organizations, and acts as a filter for activism.

Signs of Resistance

MILK Podcast Bonnie Siegler, who runs the award-winning design studio Eight and a Half, was voted one of the fifty most influential designers working today by Graphic Design USA. Her book is a visual history of protest in America, perfect for this holiday season.

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GIVING BACK

Consider donating to these female-founded start-ups and progressive causes championed by MILK Podcast guest Carley Roney: Power of Two, Project Entrepreneur, and Brooklyn Community Foundation, Motivote and Sister District.

Donate in a friend’s name to support the Higher Heights Foundation, co-founded by MILK Podcast guest Kimberly Peeler-Allen. Higher Heights is a national organization that builds the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office. Talk about getting the new year off to a good start!

MARRIAGE, PARENTING & TWEENS

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids

MILK Podcast guest Jancee Dunn's fabulous book is now out in paperback!

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

Another excellent book about marriage and parenting, MILK Podcast guest Ada Calhoun's book is out in paperback in time for the holidays.

TBH #2: 12 Before 13 and TBH #3: TBH, Too Much Drama

For the tweens on your list, or anyone who appreciates great YA, MILk Podcast guest Lisa Greenwald Rosenberg writes for tween girls and I love her books. Her new middle grade book, all told in text message, is the third in the TBH series, and due out in January. TBH #2: 12 Before 13, debuted this fall.

LOVE/MARRIAGE

He always makes the coffee.

He once took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for a 10 am birthday party, hungover.

He fixes my computer, mixes my podcast, and backs up my data.

He goes food shopping, makes stew on a Sunday afternoon, and then cleans the kitchen. 

He still tells me stories from cab driving days.

He never makes a big deal about IKEA on a weekend or driving someone to the airport.

2004 photos by Philippe Cheng

2004 photos by Philippe Cheng

He laughs at my jokes and calls me out on my annoying.

He fights with strangers on Twitter about politics.

He learned to snowboard at age 40.

He loves the movie “Roadhouse.”

He has excellent hair. 

He is always up for family cuddle.

He deals with AAA when the kids leave the dome light on and the car battery dies.

He leads the Seder.

He’ll probably help you move.

He has more than one clear plastic bin of cables and cords.

He could use a few more pairs of dress pants

He’s generally chill, but don’t mess with his family.

He’s my guy.

s.w.a.k.

My whole life I’ve been prone to emotional triggers brought on by songs, smells, textures, and tastes, so it’s no surprise I’ve folded these tendencies into my relationship with my kids and my own memories of childhood.

I’ve written some about the overwhelming nostalgia bath I’ve been taking since Zoe started kindergarden this fall. It’s been amazing. Today, when I was at her school for lunch duty, I took her and another little girl to the bathroom. They took me “the secret way,” from the basement level cafeteria to the girl’s room on the first floor. Through their chatter with each other, their expressions and in their excited two steps at a time climbing, I could viscerally recall my own elementary school and the journey from the lunchroom to the bathroom — the exact way the cafeteria smelled, the smooth concrete banisters against my hand as I ran up the linoleum stairs to the steamy heat of the girl’s (and the mystery glimpse of the unfathomable urinal through a door crack in the boy’s).

The lead up to Valentine’s Day today was epic, and Zoe has been vibrating with excitement. She was thrilled with her outfit of dark pink tights, light pink skirt with hearts, and white shirt with hot pink flowers. She spent the past five evenings under my tutelage, making valentines for every kid in the class – and really caring about how each kid would react to the size and sparkle of the stickers and the different colors of heart shaped balloons and flowers she was customizing for each one. I just loved it. Having recently discovered my inner scrapbooking soccer mom nerd (or, how fun it is to shop at Michael’s Craft store – a formerly suburban pleasure paradise now available to us New York City residents), we just sat there at her little table, cutting and coloring and sticking stickers, listening to Fiona Apple and discussing Eli’s favorite color versus Lina’s. Here was something I always loved doing when I was younger, something relaxing and creative and fulfilling we could finally do together. It totally rocked.

I used to feel a constant pull toward eras I never lived in, careers I’d never have, places I’d never live. I feel less that way now. Part of that must be finding my way, hopefully, or else realizing aspiration is never ending. Maybe that’s why memories are flooding in now – because I’ve accepted that now my real job to make things as sparkly and pink as I can for my kids, just as my own parents at roughly my age sacrificed a lot of their own middle years to make things exciting and textured and full of joy for me and my sisters.

Its funny to feel like now I’m the grownup comes up with the ideas and the adventures, and also the one who says the things like: “I’m turning that television/IPad off right this minute if you keep ignoring me when I ask you to bring your dish to the sink!” Some days it’s so much damn work to make all the decisions and keep the momentum going, but when I think about how much it means to Zoe to sit down and color with the set of 140 markers I picked up – and how much of a charge it gave me when my own mom bought me a similar set, I’m really feeling that sparkly Valentine’s love.