I’m sure I’m not the only parent who is shocked  that the holiday season is upon us; is anyone else getting a headache imagining the piles and piles of junk that will soon find their way into our homes via Christmas stockings, well-intentioned grandparents, or our own Black Friday-induced insanity? 

Many of our kids already have too much stuff, and the idea of going shopping to add to the collection is not appealing. But we still want them to have some special gifts to open during the holiday season, and I for one adore watching my kids excitedly rip open their presents on Christmas morning.

So I’ve got a great gift idea for you this year- both you and your kids will love it. I recently discovered StoryTots, a personalized children’s books website run by my friend and blog colleague Jessica Ziegler, who happens to be half of the amazing Science of Parenthood duo. (By the way, if you haven’t experienced the genius that is Science of Parenthood, I’d head over there right now…)

StoryTots is so cool and so much fun- basically, you select a book– there are four choices–for your child and personalize it. You design a character with their name and their physical attributes. According to the website,

We have a designed a special StoryTots Character Creator, where you enter your child’s name, dedication and select from several hairstyles, hair colors, skin tones and can add glasses and/or freckles. You will be able to preview your character as you are making your selections, and make adjustments as needed.

I had so much fun creating characters for each of my daughters- choosing their hairstyles, eye color, etc. I even got to write a special dedication in the front of each of their books. If you’re not sure which story to choose, StoryTots lets you do a digital preview of the books, so that you pick the one that you think your child will like best:

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I chose Catch Those Monkeys for my two-year-old daughter:



And The Princess Crown for my seven-year-old daughter. :


Though I have been blogging for some time now, I still consider myself to be somewhat tech-inept. StoryTots is extremely easy and user-friendly; the entire process took me less than ten minutes, and it was very clear to me how to complete the book design and check out. I love easy!

The books arrived so quickly, too; in less than a week, I was able to watch my girls open their gifts. My daughters are five years apart– ages seven and two– and they were equally thrilled with their special books. Even my two-year-old understood that the character in the book was her. My oldest was incredulous- “How did you do that? Did you make this book yourself?” Both of them were delighted reading the books that were all about them. photo-1

photo-2I think many of us try to stick to our principles when it comes to buying gifts for our kids. We like the idea of

  • Supporting small businesses
  • Not buying a bunch of mass-produced plastic junk
  • Giving gifts that are meaningful to our children, rather than another trinket that will end up buried  in goldfish crackers under the seat in your minivan.

But sometimes it’s hard to make that happen- going to the toy aisle at Target is just so convenient and easy!

So I’m going to make it super easy for you- to create and order your own personalized StoryTots book, all you have to do is click here.

And to make it even easier for one lucky winner, Jessica is generously giving away a StoryTots book creation here today! Entering the giveaway is simple- choose any of the following options- liking StoryTots and/or Mommy, for Real on FB, leaving a comment, or Tweeting about the giveaway will all earn you extra entries. I will announce the winner next week.

The StoryTots books are reasonably priced at only $15 for a custom-made book personalized for your child. It’s easy to pay- you can use your credit card or pay via PayPal. They even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee- you really can’t beat that! I was thrilled with our two books, and I think all children would enjoy an engaging, fun story that featured themselves as the leading role. (I mean, let’s face it, kids are completely narcissistic, right?) So hurry up and head over there now, and you can check one item off your holiday shopping list !

*I was given two complimentary StoryTots books to review, but all opinions in this post are my own. 

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