As we bid Thanksgiving adieu and veer into the holly jolly holiday season, it’s time for one of our favorite pastimes: gift shopping. Finding the perfect way to send warm wishes to loved ones can be a challenge, but some seem to have Santa Claus-esque ability to stay on top of it — like Brooke Shields.
While celebrating the launch of Meiomi Sparkling Wine (and sipping on it, naturally), Shields made her Christmas shopping list and checked it twice, giving advice on how to totally conquer the holidays this season. For most people, this involves decorating, Christmas tunes, and maybe some eggnog. For Brooke, it involves her stepmom, Florida, and lots and lots of running.
“With my family, I bring my kids and my husband to [Florida] see my stepmother, and there’s a bunch of us,” she told InStyle. “Since my dad passed away, we started doing that, all rallying around my stepmom. It’s been years now, and [my kids] love it.”
“We do this run on Thanksgiving morning and then we have breakfast at this diner, so there are things that really — what it boils down to is they really enjoy all being together,” she added. “They like the feeling of the noise and the family and the laughing and the bickering … they actually really love it, it’s nice.”
The family time comes easy to Shields, her husband Chris Henchy, and their two kids 15-year-old Rowan and 12-year-old Grier, but shopping isn’t always as simple — especially for a teen and pre-teen who have particular tastes.
“It’s easier when they’re younger because there’s a certain criteria. Once they hit 12 or 13, they start becoming very specific. What we’ve started doing is taking them each Christmas or New Year’s on an experience. We went to Ireland, we went to India. Granted, we’re lucky we can do that. But instead of just buying them things, which once you get past whatever sneaker everybody has that they want, you sort of whittle it down,” she said.
“At first kids balk at it, I think, because they want the latest crop top or whatever it is. There will be some of that, but when you take them out of their environment and you expose them to just being in a different environment and having an experience that’s so foreign to them, they really react beautifully. They communicate differently. We’ve noticed that once they’ve gotten older. That’s what we’ve been doing, because they’re not big on toys anymore.”
Making memories is an ideal present, but Shields isn’t delusional — she knows that trips come with a price tag and can’t feasibly be given to everyone on her list. But she’s got plenty of other ideas, especially when it comes to her daughters’ teachers.
“I like things that are either useful or charitable in some way or an experience in some way or something I know teachers need. I recently made a large donation to WIN (Women in Need). And it was the first year I made it in people’s names because I sort of was thinking that people needed something tangible, because that’s the routine that you go through whether you give personalized stationary or whatever it is,” she said. “I’ll also do things like make caramelized popcorn and put it in mason jars, or make granola with my girls, and that will be it. Or last year there was a maple syrup that I loved, or a salad dressing that I loved. So it’s always something that can be experienced and used.”
The one ubiquitous gift Shields will always stand behind? Wine. It’s one of the most frequently given hostess gifts of the season — but, as a wine lover, it’s something Shields defends getting and giving.
“Here’s the thing, if you’re choosing something you like or you think I’ll like, that’s the gift,” she said.
“I remember opening up a bottle of wine that my husband had and it was so good. It was years ago, I don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious and I panicked thinking I had opened up a really expensive wine without asking him. And it turned out it was not expensive at all. And that just goes to show you that it doesn’t have to be extremely expensive [wine] to be delicious or good. Anybody that gives a gift of any kind, I would never judge anything about that. I think it’s lovely that people even went through the motions of it.”