• Thu, Dec 6 2012

Mommyish Gift Guide: Top 10 Gifts For That Person You Had A Baby With — Also Known As Your Ex

Gifts for divorce / ex-partners isn’t really an aisle Hallmark has perfected yet, even for occasions like Christmas or Hanukkah. It’s somewhat understandable given that the holidays can be complex business when it comes to exes. Not only are you probably coordinating where your kid will spend which days with which side of the family, but you’re probably also fielding phone calls from your ex mother-in-law asking if they can get just a little more time. All this back and forth and emailing and texting can leave little time for who may be the last person on your shopping list — oh yes, that person you had a kid with.

I respect former couples who squash the gift-gifting compulsion with each other come this time of year. The argument can be made that you’ve already given him or her the biggest gift you can gave anyone anyway. (No, not a “starter marriage,” but the child for those of you still guessing.)

Despite that so many of us now live in blended families, there still isn’t much frame of reference for how to go about this ex gifting. Depending on how long you were together and what the circumstances for your split were, nobody can really determine that etiquette for you. Only you know what might piss off your ex’s new partner or what will be deemed a little on the sparse side.

But no matter how high or low you choose to go on that price tag, remember a break from nagging about being late to drop-off time can also totally count as a gift.


The Marriage Plot, $10.88

When your own partnership has concluded -- for whatever reason -- it can often be entertaining to review that of other people -- especially those who get married for particularly ludicrous reasons. For that exercise, I recommend gifting this gem by Jeffrey Eugenides. If your ex is big reader, then you have your work cut out for you. If not, this can be just the one book they read a year. Done!

A really, really good cook book, $26.40

If your ex is a little on the meager side when it comes to food preparation, this passive aggressive gift might actually be beneficial to them. If they're really kitchen inept, go with something slow and easy like "Top 10 Easy Recipes Under 15 Minutes" or some such. You know the books I mean. But if he or she is a kitchen rock star, then you're good to go with something gutsy like this. Look at you! You acknowledged that they are good at something!

Subscription to a parenting magazine, $5

If your ex proves time and time again to be a little wayward on this whole parenting thing, ensure that at least a little big of it comes into their mailbox/iPad/Kindle every month. Although this gift can seem a little -- forward, shall we say -- this is probably all that you two have in common now and it's what you'll be talking about together for the rest of both your lives. A little extra literature might make those convos at least a bit more interesting for both of you.

Cashmere socks, $44 for two pairs

What I love about this gift is that it so looks like you're giving a generous gift when you're really not. Cashmere socks are definitely fancy pantsy, but seriously, despite the extra money, you're really just buying them socks. No extra thought processes necessarily.

A Match.com membership, $59.85 for three months

Now this is a gift that says you care. Digging into your own pocket so that your ex can find lasting love -- and perhaps a step-mom or step-dad -- speaks volumes. Give this gift and really look like you're the bigger person. No hard feelings what so ever. (photo: 3DDock / Shutterstock)

Baked cookies

If you're already launching into full on bake mode this holiday season, then this is a really easy one. Just a skim a few of those cookies off the top and find some nice little wrapping. Have your kid deliver them for extra cuteness. (photo: barbaradudzinska / Shutterstock)

A nicely framed portrait for your kid, $29.99-$49.99

Hopefully you haven't already tapped this one out on birthdays or Mother's or Father's day. In the vicinity of $50, you can have a picture of your child looking really snazzy -- like you just upgraded his or her entire living room kind of snazzy. (photo: Iryna Rasko/ Shutterstock)

Panini press, $49.95

Nothing says unequivocal adulthood and maturity like a fancy sandwich maker! Merry sandwich making to you, ex-partner!

A calendar full of pictures of your kid, $19.99

Again, never hesitate to leverage the child for ex gift-giving opportunities. You can get one of these suckers done at Walgreens for goodness sakes. Do it. (photo: Svetlana27 / Shutterstock)

Back-owed child support

Just a thought for those of you who have been behind on those payments! Nothing says "season of giving" like a big fat check for staples like food, diapers, and tuition! (photo: arka38 / Shutterstock)
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