BY ANNA O'BRIEN '21, A CREATIVE WRITING AND ENGLISH MAJOR AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
With the Barbie movie, record-breaking tours by Beyonce and Taylor Swift, and TikTok trends like “girl math” and “girl dinner,” women-centric media defined pop culture in 2023. Continue celebrating girlhood this holiday season, picking gifts for your Merion Mercy student that allow them to feel their best while still having nostalgic, "unserious" fun.
This collection of gift ideas will bring a welcome surprise on Christmas morning! Many will stand the test of time, useful throughout the rest of their Merion years and impending college ones.
- Kitsch Luxe Satin Pillowcase & Eye Mask Bundle
Last year, I woke up with a horrendous bedhead every morning. I had a lion’s mane, but then I discovered the power of a satin pillowcase. With a slick, smooth surface, satin pillowcases help prevent dry skin, breakouts, and tousled hair. Kitsch evolved from a one-woman show in 2010 to a massive powerhouse in the beauty industry. They value sustainability, packaging their products in paper, partnering with environmental activist groups like 4Ocean, and using cruelty-free satin. Their Luxe set contains four satin pillowcases and an eye mask. With 11 different colors, there is an option for everyone.
- Book of the Month Subscription
Whether it's fantasy, romance, or a thick classic novel, I haven’t met a Merion Mercy student who doesn’t appreciate a good book. Over the years, I have received multiple book subscription boxes, and I am always delighted when they arrive at my doorstep. My favorite– and the one I highly recommend– is Book of the Month. Users choose their monthly book from a curated, multi-genre selection, which includes early and new releases. It is easy to skip a month if the selection does not appeal to you. A gifted subscription from Book of the Month will encourage your Merion student’s love for reading, and, as it comes each month, will keep giving.
- Benefit’s Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain
Everything I learned about make-up I learned from my roommate and younger sister; both preach Benetint as a vanity essential. After trying it myself, I can vouch for it too. Made for application on cheeks and lips, Benetint acts like a lipstick and a blush. It lasts all day. As it is easy to apply, Benetint is perfect for both make-up pros and those who only touch make-up while preparing for Harvest Moon.
- Anything from Novita Boutique
A woman-owned boutique located on Havertown’s Brookline Boulevard, Novita offers an array of fashionable clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Renee took over Novita Boutique from its previous owner. She used her experience as a fashion design student at Jefferson University to expand the store. More than anything, Renee loves constructing outfits that allow herself and her customers to express themselves. Novita’s arsenal of options makes self-expression simple. My favorite pieces are the trendy Zelda Bag– a green purse with a braided handle– and this cropped faux leather jacket.
- Myka Classic Cocktail Name Necklace
Whether fashion or TV, everything retro is in. Why not combine the two with a necklace inspired by the iconic nameplate Carrie Bradshaw? This necklace holds up to 10 characters and has gold and silver plating options. It is a bold, stylish gift for someone with big ambitions.
- Longchamp Le Pliage Tote
Longchamp’s Le Pliage Tote epitomizes a stylish, useful, and timeless gift. I remember my Merion classmates stuffing them with skincare, pajamas, and other essential goodies for sleepovers. Now, my friends pack them with books, a laptop, and pens. Further, Le Pliage travels well. Not only is the bag durable, but it easily folds up into the size of a thin, paperback book to fit into a larger suitcase (perhaps the Away product I recommended last year). It’s an elegant product guaranteed to make anyone feel like a grown-up.
- Bijou’s Mamma Mia Inspired Dynamos! Candle Set
My friends and I watched the Mamma Mia movies over and over again– and we weren’t the only Merion students doing so. The Grecian movie musical speaks to Merion’s core values: friendship, family, and a silly song and dance. Bijou, a business founded by a married couple who met while doing improv comedy, designs gorgeous candles with premium ingredients inspired by pop culture. Scented with lemon, baklava, and jasmine, Bijou’s candles will take you right to the Aegean Sea. You can purchase them as a set, or individually based on which Dynamo your daughter likes best. Lighting these unique candles inspired by adventurous innkeeper Donna and her equally entertaining best friends– Tanya and Rosie– will make anyone feel like they’re the dancing queen.
- Little Words Project Friendship Bracelet
Though Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour may have catapulted friendship bracelets into the mainstream, Merion students made them long before the tour. I remember making them at the retreats. Save time by purchasing a high-quality friendship bracelet from Little Words Project. Its founder, Adriana Carrig, experienced bullying in college and started making friendship bracelets as wearable affirmations for herself. Each bracelet has a unique ID tag, allowing wearers to connect online with people who also purchased that word. Shoppers can pick from their numerous premade options– my favorites include “Day by Day” and “Family”– or, if nothing tickles their fancy, design their own bracelet.
- Princess Diana Inspired Eagle’s Jacket
It wouldn’t be a gift guide for those in the Philadelphia area without mentioning the Eagles. Recently, the Eagles auctioned off a bomber jacket inspired by the one Princess Diana wore. The jacket, modeled by Kylie Kelce, sold for $100K. A quick search on the internet reveals you don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to achieve the effortless look. Companies like Winterwhirl, which makes clothing inspired by TV shows, make a durable, warm, and more affordable version of this jacket, as well as Prime Jackets. If this style was good enough for Princess Diana, then it is more than satisfactory for me.
- JYX Karaoke Machine
Sometimes, you just need to sing out your feelings– loudly, slightly off-key, and surrounded by friends. This karaoke machine allows you to do just that! Singing out loud is one of the most easily accessible stress relievers, releasing endorphins and regulating breathing. I was exposed to Karaoke machines earlier this year, and I wish I had them for all of my parties before then. My friends and I had the best time singing along to Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” High School Musical’s “Bet on It,” and anything from Britney Spears. The Bluetooth speaker allows you to travel with the machine and the two wireless microphones make for the best duets.