Holidays and Special Events

Too Many Presents/Gifts

Getting too many presents for your kids? Here's some ideas on how to decrease the consumerism.

Quick link: Looking to just get rid of stuff? see PSP’s list of places to donate any unwanted toys, gifts and household items



Tipping Summer Camp Counselors

It's end of summer and what do you do when it comes to saying farewell to the counselors that kept your little tots busy & happy all summer long. This article offers advice on tipping summer camp counselors from neighborhood parents.

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Nanny Goodbye Gifts (including final compensation and pay)

Parting is such sweet sorrow... Looking for a special gift idea to give to your nanny when saying goodbye?  Here are some member suggestions.



Fall and Halloween Events

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Here are some of the many Fall and Halloween events happening in the neighborhood and beyond.



Gift Ideas: Practical Baby Items

One PSP member asked their baby group: "I'm putting together a baby gift for my newly pregnant friend, and the theme of the gift is "highly practical baby items." (I suspect most of her other gifts will be highly impractical.) Thinking back to after you had your baby: what were highly practical, must-have items you wish you'd gotten in advance, rather than having to do a midnight Duane Reade run?"




Helping a Food Pantry This Thanksgiving

Supporting a food pantry is a great way to help New Yorker in need. It’s also an easy way for kids to learn about the importance of helping others. A food drive is a great way to involve even young children. You can collect food as a family, with a group of friends or in your child’s class at school. Here are some local food pantries to consider...



TOP 10 Things to Think About When Moving (including what to tip movers!)

Moving can be a stressful time. But if you take steps to familiarize yourself with the way it is regulated and what rights and responsibilities you have, you'll likely have a much smoother move. Here are some things to think about as you prepare for your move.



ISO: Mediocre Nanny IMMEDIATELY (April 1 Start Date)!

We're in desperate need for a nanny, but we don't need a great one.  A "pretty good" , "slightly used" or even "like new elderly" nanny will be fine.  

Ideal candidate will be FROM PARK SLOPE.  We want the right kind of nanny, and since our kids are from Park Slope, why look outside of perfect?  Additional requirements:  advanced degree in a child-related field or social work, or retired teacher (no gym teachers please).  Fluency in English required; fluency in French and Flemish a plus. Fluency in other Romance Language considered.  Must also be able to draw.

Responsibilities include but are definitely not limited to:
Cook for, feed, clean up after, bathe, read to and put to sleep 15 month old "above average" triplets.  

Hours: 7am to 8pm.  Nanny should arrive just after the kids have been fed breakfast, will clean them and take them out of the house all day to various activities and classes or to the park, to return at 6pm to feed, bathe and put them to bed before we return from dinner (typically at or around 8pm each night though occasionally it may be later).  

We will need this person to work a minimum of 7 days per week.  Some weeks we may require an extra day. If that is the case, meals that day will be provided at a discounted rate.

This position will be unpaid for the first month as a "trial and adjustment" period.  If at least 2 of the 3 kids approve of the nanny, full time pay may be offered at some point.

Additional benefits include:
Exposure to three wonderful, though temperamental, above average, extremely gifted free-range children of wonderfully intelligent and well educated Park Slope Parents.
1 unlimited metrocard per month (half of which will be paid for by nanny)
Use of bathroom and kitchen for all childcare-related purposes (a small container of personal food may be kept in the fridge for one personal meal per day).
Free access to post daily pictures of kids on family blog.
Discounted airline ticket provided on all family vacations (lodging to be paid by nanny).
Must love cats (we have six).

Happy April!

(3 bratty kids, 6 wonderful cats)


Ideas for Hosting Your Own Easter Egg Hunt!

Park Slope Parents is not doing our “official” Easter Egg Hunt this year…

but we wanted to give you folks some tools so that you may plan your own!



Meeting Place: Decide on a meeting place.

Parts of Prospect Park that folks have met-up, in the past, include:  in front of the Picnic House; in front of the Lafayette Monument at 9th Street; the north end of the Long Meadow, between the two tunnels; at the 3rd Street entrance, by the wildcats; in front of the boat house;  and the 15th Street entrance.

Date: Decide which day works best. Most of the organized Hunts are on Saturday but since it will be spring break, you might want to consider a Friday (i.e., Good Friday). Park Slope Parents’ Easter Egg Hunts have been on Sunday/Easter and we’ve had a great turnout.

Time:  Consider nap schedules and plan for a time when kids are at their best! (If you want to get more feedback from people on their best time, use a Doodle poll The hunt itself is usually over quite quickly (e.g., 10 minutes or less) but if it’s a nice day, stay out and enjoy the Park!

Organizational tools:  A simple Google spreadsheet can help you track who is attendees (and make it easy to email the participants). Here is a model you can copy and paste into your own Google spreadsheet:



-       Plastic Eggs:  a dozen, or so, plastic Easter eggs per child, filled with goodies (such as small toys, stickers, coins, shells, temporary tattoos, candy, etc…). Make sure the goodies are age-appropriate (that is, no ‘choke-ables’ for the little ones). NOTE: Get your eggs now because they can be hard to find during the last week, before Easter.

-       Props (Easter books, music, etc…) for entertainment. Musicians, bring an instrument; shakers, a pot and spoon, anything!

-       Lunch and a blanket if you want to enjoy a picnic in the Park, afterward.

-       Bubbles—Bubbles make for lots of fun!



-        Your group should go off to an area of its choosing (away from the beaten path). Some folks from the group can keep the kids occupied with music, tattoos, or other little activities while others hide the eggs.

-        Avoid wooded areas and don't bury the eggs.



-       No pushing/shoving. No egg is worth a trip to the emergency room!

-       Oversee Kid Egg Intake. Find ONLY the number of eggs you've brought +-3. Once they find this many, have your child: (1) help someone else (especially the littler ones); (2) POINT to where eggs are hidden rather than pick up each and every one; (3) open a few of their own eggs to keep them occupied.

-       KEEP THE PARK CLEAN—Pick-up after yourselves (candy wrappers, eggs, this piece of paper, etc…)

-       Help kids understand the importance of sharing, taking turns and being patient. Let this be fun for everyone.

Being a part of a small, simple hunt in a beautiful natural area is great. It's only as good as what people bring to it, so bring a generous heart and jolly disposition!  If you do plan something as a group, I’d love to know about it. Please email me at .



Visiting the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show

This is a growing NYC holiday tradition: watching model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the conservatory at the NY Botanical Garden.

Here are PSP member tips about making the most of this magical event...



December staycation? More ideas of what to do with Kids in NYC over the Holidays

Planning a staycation over the December holidays? Here PSP members share ideas of what to do with kids in New York City during the December school break.



Tips on Tips

Park Slope Parents offers some suggestions on tipping over the Holiday season.



Local Gifts That Keep Giving

Looking for Christmas or Chanukah Gift ideas this Holiday? Here are some suggestions for Brooklyn-based presents to give.




Tip With Confidence: The PSP Holiday Tips Survey


Results of the PSP 2011 Holiday Tips Survey



2012 Holiday Tips/Gifts Survey: RESULTS

How generous are people with holiday tips/gifts? Look at the results of the 2012 Holiday Tips/Gifts/Bonuses Survey!



Holiday Tips Survey 2013: The Results are In!

Thanks to everyone who answered the survey! How much do folks spend on holiday tips/gifts?



Year End Gifts for Daycare Providers

From a parent: "I posted a question last week regarding year-end holiday gifts for daycare providers.  I didn't receive many replies, but I have posted the ones I did receive below."



Keep Money Local: Buy Memberships to Brooklyn's Great Organizations as Gifts

Okay, in our effort to keep dollars local I wanted to post about another idea: purchasing MEMBERSHIPS as GIFTS.





Here are the findings of the annual Park Slope Parents 2014 Holiday Tips Survey.



Homemade Gift Ideas

Whether it is for a grandparent or a teacher; a nanny leaving or for mom/dad - here are ideas parents have shared about making homemade gifts, tokens and momentos.



2015 Holiday Tips Survey: The Results are IN!

Here are the findings from the annual Park Slope Parents Holiday Tips Survey.



Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day gift ideas from PSP members.



2016 Holiday Tips Survey: The Results are IN!



Here are the key findings from the annual Park Slope Parents Holiday Tips Survey:


  • The more the merrier - or poorer? Having a full-time nanny, dog walker, parking attendant and living in a doorman building with a super will cost you roughly $1500 extra if you tip the average amount as holiday gifts this holiday season.
  • You can’t go wrong with a personal touch. One in three (35%) are giving something more than cash (homemade cookies, treats, wine) to their service providers.
  • Power in numbers. Three out of four parents with kids in K-12 students contribute an average of $20 towards the class gift in lieu of gifting individually.
  • For daycare/preschool, you can’t go wrong with $50 for the head teacher and $25 for the secondary teacher(s). Six in ten (58%) families with kids in daycare/preschool give monetary gifts individually over a class gift.
  • For nannies, the standard holiday bonus is a week’s pay.
    Caveat: If your nanny hasn’t been working a year then you can give less (e.g., ½ week’s pay if they worked only 3 months) but do let the nanny know if you plan on giving more next year.



Gift Ideas For Grandparents

Wondering what to get the grandparents as a gift? PSP members share their ideas.

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A Brief Summary of Major Jewish Holidays

A quick guide to talk you through all the major Jewish events.



Spring Forward (O The Humanity!)

The history of Daylight Saving Time



What Moms Want?

an opinion piece on Mother's Day



Mother's Day: Not All Cards and Flowers

Julia Ward Howe; one ambitious mother



West Indian- American Festivities-- a Synopsis

Ben Austin wrote up a great email last year about the West Indian Day Festivities-- He's given me permission to repost it here (Thanks Ben!).




How To Thank Teachers at the Holidays & End of the Year

So it's the Holidays or the end of the year.  And you are probably wondering what you should do about giving gifts to your child's teacher. What exactly is expected from parents? Do you go all out with something big or can you keep it small & more personal? You've even heard rumors that giving gifts aren't even allowed.  Park Slope Parents explores the dos & the not to dos of what to give teachers & discusses what exactly the rules are when it comes to gifting teachers in both NYC public & private schools. 

And we even have some advice from teachers too about what is cool (or not cool) when it comes to gifting.



10 things the whole family can do for Valentine's Day


Happy Valentine's Day!

If you couldn't get a sitter this Valentine's Day - why not make it a Family Valentine's Day?  Here are a few ideas to make the day feel special:


1. Have a family date night
Go on a family date night. Check out one of these member recommended family and kid-friendly restaurants then do an activity like a movie or bowling.


2. Do a family movie night
Make some popcorn and have a movie night at home. Here are some family movies PSP members recommend. If you are feeling extra crafty, get the kids to decorate brown lunch bags with hearts to serve popcorn in.


3. Embrace the cold weather - together
Make the cold weather feel extra special with hot chocolate and marshmallows, lots of blankets, pillows. Why not create a family-sized fort?


4. Take a family "vacation"
If you are really fed up with this cold weather, turn your house into a summer day. Have an indoor picnic and cook up some hamburgers (or tofu dogs), make some virgin pina coladas or lemonade and stream a summer themed movie in the background - did you know there is a surfing and board sports category on Netflix? If you are feeling extra summery, pull out some Hawaiian shirts to wear.  Get the kids to draw beach scenes, flowers, or anything else that reminds them of summer to decorate the house. Make s'mores or anything else that gives you that summer vibe!


 5. Do a fun craft activity
Make a tree of hearts! Make and decorate all types of hearts to decorate an indoor tree or branch.  Or you can also stick your hearts them on to a largee sheet of paper or turn it into a garland/ 3D mobile to hang. You could even write on each heart a thing that you love or little love poems and rhymes. (source)


6. Have a family game night
Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse for a family game night.  Pull out your favorite games and enjoy spending time together.


7. Play "Find the Heart"
Play "Find the Heart."  It's just like an Easter egg hunt but think of it as Cupid instead of the Easter Bunny.  Hide Valentine's Day treats like chocolates, notes, heart stickers and Valentines around the house  for your kids to find. (source)


8. Bake Valentine's Day Cookies or Cupcakes
Whether you want to make cookies from scratch (or hit up the cookie dough aisle at C-Town or Fairway), cut them out in heart shapes and decorate them with red or pink icing. Or stick to a classic chocolate chip, just the smell of baking is heavenly!

Here are parents recommendations for baking supply stores.

Here are some recipe ideas


9.  Visit a chocolate store (and find out how chocolate is made)
Visit a chocolate store like Jacques Torres in DUMBO, NuNu on Atlantic Ave, the Chocolate Room or the Cocoa Bar here in Park Slope or Mast Brothers in Willilamsburg. (source)

Read what PSP members say about the Chocolate Room here

And here's what they say about Cocoa Bar


10. Show some love back to your community!
Donate unwanted items or your time to a local charity. Find out more about volunteering opportunities here.


What are you doing this Valentine's Day?


By Melissa De Witte


Block Party Planning Time!

Thinking about summer and Block Parties? Since it can take 60 days (or 90 in some areas), you might need to get crackin’ on plannin’.

Here’s some information about throwing a great party as well as links to applying in Community Board 6 and CB7.



Remembering on Veteran's Day


For many of us today is an day off from school and a time when we try to arrange things to do with the kids to fill the time.  I did, however, want to take a minute to also remind folks that it’s Veterans Day, a day to remember the soldiers who have served (or are serving) in the nations armed forces. Do you know that it was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November (the 11th month) of 1918 they signed the Armistice Treaty (I didn’t).  And the difference between Memorial Day (honoring those who have died) and Veterans Day (honoring all soldiers past and present)?

The History Channel has a little history lesson on today’s date (see here), and there are lots of YouTube Videos that you can watch about the day and honoring soldiers. There is also a Veterans Day Parade in the city. It kicks off at 11:15 from 26th Street and 5th Ave up to 52nd. It’s also televised on some of the major networks. Lots to watch and read about the day.



Hanukah: Not the "Jewish Christmas"

All you need to know about Hanukah



Interfaith Holidays: Chrismukkah

Christmas + Hanukah = ?

We've complied stories from interfaith families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukah and how they honor these two religious holidays. We are including here two separate questions from families who have raised questions about tradition and family.



Cheap and Cheerful Things to Do With Kids During the Holidays

‘tis the season to be distracted. We’re not necessarily talking about spending the big bucks to take the whole family to the Nutcracker or taking out a second mortgage to skate at Rockefeller Center. There are lots of fun things to do with kids that are all about spending time together.



Caroling for Dummies

Park Slope Parents tips for Caroling this Christmas!




My Son is on Naughty Watch

Santa tells it like it is - a Santa Clause computer/phone app!



How to Handle Holiday Stress

Christmas can bring more than presents, cookies and Santa Claus. With it can come stress, worry and anxiousness.  It's easy to get overwhelmed by the Holiday buzz and feel like yourself spinning out of control.



Where to see Christmas Lights?

Want to see some great Christmas Lights? Here are some local and further destinations worth checking out.




Where to buy a Christmas Tree?

 Where to buy your Christmas tree in Park Slope. Did Foley’s Firs hold up? Did the expensive guy in front of CVS have trees that were perfect? Here are what PSP members say about their Christmas trees.

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Ways to Recycle your Christmas Tree

Wondering how to recycle your Christmas tree? Read on!




Costume-Making Tips: Nothing to Be Afraid Of When DIYing Halloween

The  homemade, DIY costume is easy - all it takes is a little time and inspiration.  Here are some tips to get you started on a creative costume!

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Costume-Making Tips: How To Papier Mâché

Papier mâché creations: limited only by the imagination (and the laws of physics). For committed do-it-youselfers, papier mâché is the costume craft of choice. It's pliable,easy and kid-friendly, plus it's fun to watch your ideas take shape.




An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Halloween

Is it your first Halloween in the 'hood? Here is the spooktacular scoop on having a great Halloween with very small children.




Halloween Costumes for Procrastinators

You can make something wonderful (or at least socially acceptable) with as little as a few plastic bags and a snuggie. Here are some of the last minute costume ideas we came up with.




Halloween Safety and General Reminders

Halloween in the Slope is lots of fun but it comes with its own unique set of challenges - like how to tell your Princess Leia and Spiderman from the 400 other princess Leias and Spidermen. Here are our top tips for making our urban Halloween safe and fun.

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Where To Buy Halloween Costumes in Park Slope and Brooklyn

Over the years, pop up costume shops and stores selling Halloween gear have been available at the following Brooklyn locations...

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DIY Facepainting

Face painting is almost always a hit with the 3-8 year old set. Hiring a face painter can be expensive, but they bring all the equipment and it's good stuff. You can also decide to try your own hand at making it happen.




2016 Halloween Costume Contest Registration Form and Rules

Costume Contest Web

Please fill out the registration form here (you need to print this off, fill it in, and drop it off) and read the Halloween Contest Costume Rules below.



Food Allergies and Halloween: What to Do?

So your little one has food allergies. How do you handle Halloween, a holiday where allergens - more scary than the ghosts and witches out at night - will be everywhere?




The Thanksgiving Day Parade: So Worth It

Here are PSP member’s best tips for seeing parade with kids



Don't be a Traffic Turkey this Thanksgiving

Tips for traveling in and out of New York and the 'Slope over the Thanksgiving period.




Beware of Deceitful Turkeys

An excerpt from Hunting the Deceitful Turkey, by Mark Twain



The Night Before The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Watch the Balloon Inflation

Get a sneak peek of the Macy's Day Parade & watching the balloons get inflated the afternoon before! Many PSP Members suggest this as a great alternative to the Parade watching experience.  Here are tips, information & more... 



Thanksgiving in Brooklyn: Turkey Trots

 Don't feel guilty about that extra slice (or 2, 3....) of Pumpkin Pie ever again & go on a race or run (or as they're called: a TURKEY TROT) in Brooklyn.  Here is a round up of races to get you more than ready for that Thanksgiving dinner...



Thanksgiving in Brooklyn: Volunteering Suggestions

In addition to THIS PSP article about helping local food pantries over the Holidays, here are some resources & tips to guide you about volunteering this Thanksgiving.



Thanksgiving at Home

Parents share their cooking tips, recipes, decoration ideas & more for making a fun and festive Thanksgiving Dinner at home...



Meaningful Memorial Gifts

Ideas for memorial gifts that are more than flowers or a donation.

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A Cautionary Tale for Christmas

A personal tale of the importance of carbon monoxide detectors.



Reducing Stolen Packages in the Neighborhood

Expecting some packaged to be delivered? Here are out Top TIPS to keep your packages from being stolen