I recently wrote an article about how I had to have the Santa talk with my sixth grade daughter this holiday season. While that was shocking, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I’m not sure if it was the realization that Santa is not actually up there tinkering toys for them, or if this is just what raising a tweenager in 2023 is, but wowza I was not expecting her very specific, very grown up feeling list.
The list started off simple enough with a pair of cow print slippers and a Squishmallow, so I had a little bit of hope. But it spiraled. Big time. Who is this kid asking for white marble shelves and a skincare fridge (to store all the expensive products that her eleven year old skin does not require)? I was a little taken aback that this is what tweens are into now a days. Everything is “aesthetic” or “preppy” or influenced. I think other millennial Moms will agree with me that these are not the lists of yesteryear. These aren’t the things we asked for back in the 90s. My how times have changed!
This is one of the items that boggles my mind the most! Growing up I used whatever soap was available to wash my face, sometimes mixing it up with some Clean & Clear or witch hazel toner. Dove or Ivory bar soap was a staple at our house along with the only scrub that ever existed – St. Ives Apricot Scrub. If it wasn’t the original cherry almond scent Jergens lotion then I was probably slathering on some Skin So Soft that I found in my mom’s room. Oil of Olay was the key to young skin my grandma (the original influencers) told me, and I believed her until I was an adult. Admittedly I didn’t take interest in my skincare routine until well after my tween years. Not these kids. I have spent my nights up googling popular brands like Bubble and Drunk Elephant. Cloud surf water cream moisturizer? POLYPEPTIDE CREAM?! I am not even sure that I know what polypeptide cream does and here it is, sitting on a Christmas list from my sixth grader. And don’t even get me started on the skincare fridge. I admittedly have purchased it for her, and I cringed as it sat on my porch in a Paris Hilton branded box that says “That’s Hot!” scrolled across the top. This is definitely not the simple life.
The makeup I received for Christmas in middle school consisted of Lip Smackers variety packs, Love’s Baby Soft perfume, and every once in a while one of those cheap eye shadow palettes found at the local drug store complete with the foam applicators. I surely didn’t know how to apply makeup, much less request these fancy products like tweens do today. I enjoy nice makeup now that I am older, and being in theater my daughter wears it for performances. But, what on earth does she need a pack of 18 Morphe brushes for? Did I really just read lip plumping oil? Oy vey. I decided to get her an Ipsy subscription to enjoy throughout the year, I’m telling myself it’s just the new age Avon for this generation.
Every year I would remember flipping through the Christmas catalogs that would show up at our house from JC Penny and Sears, checking out all the latest fashions. Limited Too and Delia’s were the really fun stuff, and I would spend hours circling cute outfits. It didn’t really matter to me where my clothes came from, and it was always special when you got a new soft pair of jammies or a pretty dress. My daughter is asking for clothes this year too, but as I sit here in my TJ Maxx bought Yogalicious leggings, I have to wonder how she has decided lululemon is up for debate. “Anything Abercrombie or Aerie. I love UGG Boots!” Well, I bet you do! 90s fashion is back in, but I need 90s prices to return with it.
In sixth grade I was still playing Mall Madness and Dream Phone with my friends at sleepovers. We set up “school” and taught our fake students or engaged in a riveting game of MASH to decide our futures. Tamagotchis and Gameboys were about as tech savvy as I got back then and were at the top of my Christmas list. Keeping that little digital pet alive was crucial once I finally got my hands on one, but my parents never gave into the no video game rule in our house. The see through phones, still corded to the wall, were all the rage and the coolest thing you could get as a tween in the 90s. Today? “A rose gold Ipad with a hard shell, with a matching phone case and pop socket” Why do our tweens think they require the same amount of tech as grown business professionals? And I know I am not alone, I am sure plenty of your lists have things like VR headsets, AirPods, and Beats. $500 video game consoles with $75 games, gift cards for Roblux and Fortnite skins. Gone are the days of Walkmans and travel Yahtzee for entertaining the new generation on the holidays apparently.
When did this even become a thing? I kid you not, it’s like my middle schooler has been watching HGTV prepping for her Christmas list. Marble shelves, vine lighting, a new alarm clock, and a CEILING FAN made it to her top wanted items of the year. The white chandelier that I put up when she was four is no longer suitable, another little reminder that she is growing up. I was still collecting Cabbage Patch Christmas figurines from McDonalds to line my shelves with and ripping out magazine pages to tape on my wall at her age. I was proud when I saw the Taylor Swift poster she listed, a simple gift straight from the 1900’s (as my kids say) that I will make sure is under the tree.
I love my little tween and all her ridiculous requests. She is a great kid, and of course as her mom, I want to make her holiday dreams come true. I know she will be grateful for anything she receives, so I take her list for exactly what it is – a wish list! My wish this Christmas is that time slows down a little, that there is still joy found in simplicity, and that Santa leaves me a big ol’ sack of money so I can head on over to lululemon to pick up some overpriced hair ties to make one eleven year old ridiculously happy.
P.S. if you are shopping for a tween girl this year, chances are she will fall madly in love with you if she receives an Ulta gift card, Sephora gift card, Tree Hut, freeze dried candy or anything lululemon (yes, even the scrunchies!)