Holly, Jolly Winter Holiday Gifts & Traditions for Aunties

Holly, Jolly Winter Holiday Gifts & Traditions for Aunties

For awhile I was trying to get them gifts that would encourage them to get in trouble because I thought it was important for them… to maybe help them understand that some risks are okay to take.

Lisa B.

Aunties! Ti-Tis! Tias! Ciocias! Gather ‘round! Improve With Auntie is the show where YOU get to shine in a season loaded with sparkle. Let’s dish, brag, advise, and laugh together.

By brilliant design, the winter holidays light up some of the darkest months of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. As an auntie to three little niblings (I don’t know if I can do that word – ew!), this got me thinking about the special shimmer of an auntie’s love. We’re not mama, daddy, or grandparent. We’re unique to the family dynamic in general and the lives of the younger folk in our orbit specifically. Even if that glow dims a bit with time or changes in geography, our impact often manifests in a child’s life years later.

That’s cause for a shout-out!

Hence episode numero uno of IWA, an inclusive roundtable. When we speak of “aunties” here, we mean anyone who wears the crown, regardless of whether they’ve received the honor by DNA designation or self-determination. Also worth noting, the term isn’t constrained by the binary; if that crown fits, by all means, wear it! Bonus points for anyone who has a better name for nieces and nephews other than “nibling”. It’s fine for little ones but sounds a bit twee when attached to anyone over the age of twelve.

For this inaugural chat, fellow aunties Ashley Lana Scott, Caren Evers, and Lisa Brown joined me to talk winter holidays––with often hilarious asides. Between Lego dilemmas and tales of frightening mouse kings, we explored the myriad ways aunties enliven holiday traditions (those passed down as well as those they’ve created) and put their spin on gift exchanges (even if that means no physical gifts at all).

I think one of the things that I really enjoy about being an aunt is it’s a different relationship dynamic with my nephews… I’m not a parent, I’m not an authoritarian. I’m not a teacher. I’m not setting rules. I don’t punish them…I can just focus on the fun part of it. And we can always have fun together!

Caren E.

As aunties are internationally famous for being storehouses of knowledge, naturally we also got to talking on topics befitting the other eleven months of the year. Some of the intel we traded is actually useful. I kid; everything aunties say and do is solid gold! We set aside some of the silly (fart piano anyone?) for sage auntie insights on:

  • The shifting nature of the auntie/nibling relationship (time waits for no auntie!)
  • Counteracting bullies and/or toxic masculinity
  • Encouraging gender expression and general play

Whether they’re toddlers, teens, or full-fledged adults, this season is a special time for aunties to revel or reconnect with the children of their hearts. Here’s to holiday-centered activities, lessons, and memory-making––auntie-style! 


Join the Round Table

Ask your question for “Ask Aunties”, share a “Proud Auntie” moment, tell a “How NOT to Auntie” tale, or send us some photos of your fave holiday gifts for our IG. Upload photos or audio files here.

Or email your story or pics to Andrea: andrea [at] thecreativeimpostor.com

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Mentioned in This Episode

Ninja Nutz & Bolts

The House Theatre of Chicago

Bookshop.org (gift shopping that supports indie bookstores AND Improve With Auntie)

Auntie Wisdom & Wit

“I remember when being an auntie to them when they were little was like, it was a thought that lit me up all the time.” – Lisa B

“I want them to start to think about digital reputations from an early age. Like, I want them to think before they post.” – Lisa B

“When my niece was little, I told her I was the best auntie in the world.” – Ashley

“Maybe it takes, you know, aunties and uncles and all of the other adult people around them really validating to them that these things are okay. It is a part of their development. They get to explore with colors and textures and clothes and different things to express themselves. And that’s okay.” – Ashley

“A sense of play is so important, especially for little boys, because, you know, starting in preschool and kindergarten, everything gets to be so structured, and they kind of begin to lose their creativity and kind of giving them permission to explore and have fun, like that is so important.” – Caren

“It must be the most miserable thing in the world, growing up as a kid and a teenager and not being able to be yourself, whatever that version of yourself is.” – Caren