Ask Scary Mommy: I’m The Only Mom In Our Group Not Allowing Indoor Playdates

Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.

This week: When you’re the only mom in you know not allowing indoor playdates, how do you handle it? What do you say to your kids? Have your own questions? Email advice@scarymommy.com 

Dear Scary Mommy,

I’m the only mom in my group of mom friends/acquaintances who isn’t cool with indoor playdates right now. You know, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, cannot account for who everyone is around or exposed to, and numbers are skyrocketing everywhere. But it’s causing a lot of tension with my mom friends, who clearly feel defensive and think I’m just being judgemental. My daughter also doesn’t understand why she can’t have sleepovers or playdates at her friends’ houses right now, and we live in the type of neighborhood where she can see fellow friends and classmates of hers going to and from one another’s house. I’m trying to keep my cool and explain my decisions, but it’s hard AF and I hate confrontation.

Yep. This has been quite a year for shifting relationship dynamics. Before I get into actually dispensing advice, please know this: if anyone is more upset about the precautions you’re taking to keep your family safe during a global pandemic that has robbed millions of people of their lives than they are about the global pandemic that has robbed millions of people of their lives, you do not need this person in your life.

You are not a scapegoat for your friends’ unwillingness to alter their lives. You are not a scapegoat for your friends’ selfishness. You are not a scapegoat for their guilt and subsequent defensiveness. You are not the bad guy because you’re doing things that will, in ways big and small, keep your family safe as well as others.

Risk mitigation and critical thinking are two very large, very nuanced, very important things that can see us through this pandemic until there is a vaccine that a majority of people are willing to get. Summertime playdates outside riding bikes when the national case numbers were far lower is a very different thing than an indoor playdate inside someone’s home, presumably maskless and without ventilation when case numbers are off-the-charts and hospitals are running low on available beds and frontline workers are begging us to avoid gathering. Being able to discern between these two scenarios takes a certain level of critical thinking. Realizing that one of these scenarios could be far, far more dangerous than the other scenario is mitigating risk.

You are not being judgemental. You are being a good mom. That’s not to say your friends are bad moms; but they are engaging in behaviors that are inarguably risky and could potentially put many people in danger of being exposed to COVID-19. You can love your children and be a selfish parent. You can love your children and still put them at risk.

You are choosing to love your children, protect them as best you can with the knowledge and resources available to you, and show that love and protection by telling them “no.” Watching your child see other children playing, touching, going to school, and carrying on as if nothing is happening is heartbreaking. Being the mom who says “no, that’s not safe right now” while Sally and Timmy go off and do that very thing you just said “no” to sucks. It suuuuuuucks. But by doing it, you’re teaching them to care about their lives, their family, and their community.

I’ve said it in this very column more than once and I say it in my own daily life until I’m blue in the face: It’s not personal; it’s a pandemic. Living responsibly right now is not “living in fear.” You might piss some people off in the process, but if they’re getting mad at you for being cautious, you can tell them that you don’t believe there is such a thing as “overly cautious” during a pandemic. How they choose to interpret that or treat you because of it is on them.

Indoor playdates are not a good idea right now. They won’t be a good idea for a long time. I’m sorry your friends are projecting their own guilt onto you. Maybe it’s time to find some new ones.

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Courteney Cox Gloriously Recreated That Iconic Turkey Dance From ‘Friends’

The ‘Friends’ actress gave the people exactly what they wanted this Thanksgiving: the turkey dance

Even if you’ve never watched an episode of Friends in your life (and if you haven’t, are you OK?), you know exactly what the turkey dance is. You’ve seen it in GIFs, in memes, as stills from the hit NBC show. The minute-long scene in Season 5, Episode 8 where Monica dons an entire turkey on her head, and puts on an oversized pair of yellow glasses and a red, hassled-hat atop the uncooked poultry — and Chandler tells her he loves her for the first time — is purely iconic. And, because it’s the year 2020, the actress who played Monica for a staggering 10 seasons, Courteney Cox, did us all a solid and recreated the famous Thanksgiving shimmy.

NBC

Taking to her Instagram, Cox recorded a message for all her Friends fans. “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day. I’m feeling so thankful,” she starts.

Then, Cox unexpectedly zooms in on her mouth as she aggressively — and hilariously — says, “And also if I get one more goddamn GIF with that turkey on my head dancing like a fucking fool, I’m just gonna snap.”

“Anyway,” Cox continues, “since I’m the symbol of Thanksgiving, here you go. I hope it makes you happy.”

And then this is where the real magic happens: The video cuts to Cox dancing with a sunglasses-wearing turkey on her head as the Friends theme song plays.

The dance aired in the episode titled “The One With the Thanksgiving Flashbacks,” which aired Nov. 19, 1998 — and it’s still, now more than 20 years later, as iconic as ever, even among the cast. “You DID THAT,” her Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe, commented on Cox’s IG video.

The video was also a great reminder of what’s to come for the Friends cast: the Friends HBO Max reunion special, which was delayed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, however, fans got a long-awaited update on the reunion special’s new premiere date: March 2021.

Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March,” Matthew Perry tweeted Nov. 12. “Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way I like it!”

“This is a show that is not scripted, but this is the way the show works,” Kaufman told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year. “We are going to need a live audience. Even if we socially distance that live audience, it really is a huge part of what ‘Friends’ is. We cannot do it without them.”

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Wearing This Feathered Robe Daily Is A Good Way To Say, ‘Yes, I’ve Lost It’

These dramatic feathered robes are the perfect visual for communicating exactly where you’re at right now

In some kind of horrifying twist on Groundhog’s Day, millions of Americans have lived life largely in the confines of their own homes for much of this dumpster fire year — and largely in what can be generously termed as “leisure wear.” Not only are people probably tired of wearing the same hole-y leggings and ratty t-shirts every day, they’re probably also teetering on the very edge of sanity. I certainly fit that description and that’s why I’ve decided to spend the rest of this godforsaken hellscape year wearing a sheer, feathered robe like ladies on 1980s soap operas. I mean, why the fuck not? Literally nothing is stopping me and my family should know precisely where I’m at these days.

If you’re bored of the monotony too, might as well get the mail in a cloud of drama and intrigue. Show up on your kid’s Zoom class meeting with an air of “I may have just committed a crime or paid someone else to do the crime.” You’ve earned it.

Claristh

Make yourself a hot topic among the series of Prime delivery guys walking up to your house where you stare ominously through the window in your new uniform — is she a rich, mysterious lady hiding a terrible secret or an average 40-year-old woman who’s simply lost her entire shit?

Claristh

Give off major “walking down my marble staircase to greet the police about my rich old husband’s suspicious death” vibes.

Claristh

Ooooo or do it in black to really drive home that you’re a force to be reckoned with.

Claristh

Or channel Frank Shirley’s wife on Christmas Vacation seeing as it’s officially the holiday season and all. Fur coat optional but recommended if you’re going to rescue your kidnapped husband from his employee’s deranged but well-meaning cousin in the frigid cold.

Even if you’re pregnant there’s a feathered robe look for you. I don’t know how I’d feel about donning something fully sheer and see-through while leaking various fluids and popping a new stretch mark every five minutes, but hey, do you.

Claristh

If you plan on actually leaving the house for some reason, do it in this fancy confection that still conveys your current mental state in all caps while covering the parts that might get you arrested if you revealed them in public.

Claristh

The world is your sheer, feathered oyster.

Claristh

Terrify your family and give the neighbors something to talk about because WTF else do you have to do?

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‘LOL’ Pumas Are Here And Your Kids Are Going To Want Some

Puma has joined forces with L.O.L. Surprise and launched an entire collection around the popular toys

If you are a parent with youngish children you are all too familiar with L.O.L. Surprise!, an insanely popular collection of dolls, dollhouses, play sets, pets, scooters – -literally everything imaginable — that launched in 2016. Now, just in time for the holidays, the L.O.L. franchise has joined forces with Puma to launch a collaborative collection of shoes and apparel your little L.O.L. fan is going to flip out over. We have to admit, we are majorly crushing over it.

The exclusive Puma X L.O.L. Surprise collection launched on Friday at Kids Foot Locker and Puma stores nationwide. Per a press release fan favorites, Diva and Queen Bee, are “the two fashionable characters are the muses behind the collection.”

PUMA
PUMA

“Introducing the PUMA x L.O.L. SURPRISE! collection, featuring L.O.L. Surprise™ fan favorites, M.C. Swag and Queen Bee,” Puma announced on their website. “This kids’ collection was made to stand out, featuring bright kicks and bold apparel for the biggest personalities out there. With fun graphic prints, pops of color, and signature added details, this collection is ready to play.”

PUMA
PUMA

The brand posted a totally on point video of the collection, featuring a bunch of truly sassy, stylish and downright hip little people dancing around and looking cool as cucumbers rocking the collection. In another video posted earlier, actress Tahani Anderson shows off the pieces of the collection.

For example, Diva is featured in the PUMA®Future Rider x Diva sneaker, “with her signature pink bow and a playful black-and-white cheetah print, along with light green accents and pink glitter highlights throughout.” Queen Bee fans will be pleased with the PUMA®Cali Sport x Queen Beesneaker, “which includes a striking metallic gold accent color with a pop of pink against a black and white design.”

PUMA

The collection also includes a bunch of  bold graphic T-shirts and leggings, decorated in the splashy, bright and signature colors of the L.O.L. Surprise!™ brand as well as graphics of  Diva and Queen Bee.

The PUMA®x L.O.L. Surprise!™ collection ranges in price from $22 to $75. To give you an idea about pricing, a pair of leggings or t-shirt will run you in the mid-twenties, while the sneakers cost anywhere from $55 to $75 depending on style and size. Pieces can be ordered online or shopped for in stores at Puma or any of the Foot Locker family stores, including Kids Foot Locker, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction and Eastbay.

PUMA

Unfortunately, the line is only available in toddler to junior sizes, so adult fans are out of luck. However, you can live vicariously through your little ones by ponying up this holiday season.

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Alicia Silverstone Supports Son Getting His Long Hair Cut Short

Alicia Silverstone’s son, Bear, decided to cut his hair two months after she revealed he was the subject of bullying

Because hell hath no fury like a mommy shamer sitting around scrolling social media for someone to bash, Alicia Silverstone has been under fire for the last few years. What is her major sin, according to the parenting police? Allowing her 9-year-old son, Bear, to keep his hair long. Recently, she got thrown some next-level criticism after revealing that her only child was being bullied by other children due to his long locks, and still wouldn’t force him to chop them off. Two months later, the Clueless star has revealed that Bear recently decided on his own that he wanted to cut his hair, and that she supports his decision 100 percent — namely because it was his decision to make.

“Yes, It’s true. Bear cut his hair!! My baby’s growing up,” the 44-year-old captioned a video over the weekend of Bear’s big haircut. “I miss his hair!!!!! Was it his decision? Yes. Did I cry inside as I watched him get it cut? Maybe… but did I try to stop him? Not for one second. The reason he chose to keep it for as long as he did was because he loved it so much!!! He just wanted to try something new. Although I have a feeling he’ll find a way back to his long hair again in the future. No matter what though, I will always support my sweet, caring, and precious little boy in every decision he makes.”

“What are we doing right now?” she asks him in the video.

As he runs his hand through his hair he responds, “Cutting my hair.”

“Why?” she inquires.

Bear admits that he has no idea why (with a smile!).

“Are you nervous about this at all?” she asks him.

“Yes, very,” he responds, adding that he’s also “so excited.”

After the stylists are done working their magic he looks at his new short hairdo in the mirror. Obviously, he likes what he sees, breaking out in a smile.

In September, Silverstone revealed that her son had been the subject of bullying, but that he refused to succumb to it.

“One time my son was made fun of by other kids because of his hair on a bus ride to surf camp. After he had returned and told me, I thought he would want to cut it for a haircut appointment we had already scheduled the next day, but when we showed up, he said, ‘Please give me a trim so I can grow it to my waist.’ That’s my boy! He knows who he is. He loves his hair and chooses to have it long,” she wrote on Instagram, with photos of Bear’s amazingly gorgeous hair — as well as photos of hot celebrity men like Harry Styles, Brad Pitt, and Jason Momoa who have also rocked long hair over the years.

“Mama and Papa aren’t going to stop him from being him. He’s beautiful and we love his hair! We would never impose any social ideas about what hair on a boy or girl should look like. We should all try to embrace our children and who they choose to be without any judgement!”

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Ask Scary Mommy: Our Family Buys So Many Toys For Our Kids It Ruins ‘Santa’ For Us

Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.

This week … what do you do when your extended family showers your children with so many toys and presents that it leaves you, as “Santa,” scratching your head on what to get them?

Have your own questions? Email advice@scarymommy.com

Dear Scary Mommy,

My partner and I have three young kids under the age of 10. Our extended family — on both sides — can’t stop, won’t stop buying All The Things for our kids. Things we don’t ask for, things that go above and beyond any of our kids’ “wish lists,” and things that basically leave us wondering what the hell we’re supposed to get them. Some years they get our kids stuff we’ve already bought for them, and the kids have even asked us why “Santa” would get them things Aunt Cindy or Grandma and Pop-Pop have already bought them. HOW DO WE GET OUR FAMILIES TO STOP BUYING ALL THE THINGS? Without hurting their feelings or seeming ungrateful, of course. Is this a real problem? HELP.

This may sound like a non-problem kind of problem, but it’s still an issue for sure. If they’re asking you for a gift list for the kids ahead of time, try to be honest and set hard limits. “Only one gift for each, Granny, because when they get so many presents from you guys every year, it makes it hard on us as parents to give them the big Christmas morning we want to.”

Do you have savings accounts set up for your kiddos? If so, tell them to deposit whatever they would normally spend on material things into their accounts. Sure, it’s less exciting and they’ll undoubtedly complain. But that money can be spent on more valuable things down the line — new computers, back-to-school clothes, post-high school education, school trips, etc.

You could also try asking for more meaningful gifts, like hand-written letters to each child from their grandparents and the people who love them so much. It might seem boring to your kids now, but they’ll be so grateful for those later on. Homemade gifts are great, too. So are gift cards your kids can use for a shared experience — memberships to the zoo, museums, and other places that are safe (or will be, post-pandemic).

I don’t think you’re ungrateful for feeling burdened by all the generosity, because as parents, we want to be the ones getting the “big stuff” and the great reactions from them because we love them so much and it makes us happy to be able to do those things for them. Of course, it makes your relatives happy to do it too. But you’re the parents, and they should respect your wishes. As long as you approach the matter tactfully and from a place of appreciation, feel zero guilt about being honest with your family.

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Moderna CEO Warns COVID Vaccine ‘Is Not A Silver Bullet’

Moderna CEO says the vaccine is “not a silver bullet” and that public health measures, like masks, are extremely important

Moderna and Pfizer are neck and neck in the race to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and while the imminent vaccine is a huge deal, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel says that he worries about the lack of mask-wearing, saying the COVID vaccine is “not a silver bullet.”

Despite the fact that Bancel is the CEO of the company who stands to profit from being one of the front-runners in the vaccine race, even he is like, Why are you waiting around for my vaccine? Put a mask on!

“We need public health measures…[they are] your best weapon” Bancel tells Bloomberg. “You need to use it well and I think when you look around the world, you have some countries that are doing an excellent job, [like] China, at controlling the virus and some countries where it’s out of control.”

“It’s not a silver bullet,” Bancel says of the vaccine his company is developing.

Without naming America, specifically, Bancel said he is aghast when he sees people in crowded places “without masks” or eating at indoor dining establishments.

“I don’t understand it, it makes no sense to me,” he added. “You are going to get infected, the only question is when.”

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also told Bloomberg that the vaccines “cannot bring the epidemic under control before next spring,” which is why mask-wearing and other public health measures (i.e. social distancing, hand washing, etc) are imperative until that happens.

Additionally, Dr. Fauci has made it very clear that even after people start getting the vaccine (which he anticipates happening for the general public in April), masks will still be necessary until everyone gets the vaccine and we truly reach herd immunity.

“Even though, for the general population, [the vaccine] might be 90% to 95% effective,” Fauci told Jake Tapper on Sunday. “You don’t necessarily know, for you, how effective it is.”

Additionally, both Pfizer and Moderna‘s vaccines include two shots taken a month apart and one does not reach that full 90% range of effectiveness against the virus until one to two weeks AFTER you get the second dose. So from your first vaccine dose, it could be nearly two months for it to “work,” so to speak. Now add that to the fact that it’ll take time for local healthcare infrastructures to obtain and roll out the vaccine and that we’re already dealing with anti-vaxxers and that there’s a new crop of people who are specifically skeptical of this vaccine, and well, don’t expect to toss your masks away in April.

“We are not going to turn [the pandemic] on and off, going from where we are to completely normal. It’s going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021,” Fauci added.

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Hallmark Debuts Their First Christmas Movie With A Gay Couple

“It’s an honor to make a little history,” Jonathan Bennett said

Have you fully recovered from crying your way through the trailer for the star-studded queer Christmas film starring Kristen Stewart and Dan Levy? Great, because Hallmark just debuted a teaser for their first-ever Christmas flick featuring a gay couple in the lead, and it not only looks like a must-watch, but it stars a familiar face from the early aughts.

Joining Hulu (where Stewart’s Happiest Season will premiere) and Lifetime (which also announced its first-ever holiday film, The Christmas Setup, to not only feature an LGBTQ love story, but also a gay couple in the lead), Hallmark is set to release The Christmas House on Nov. 22, starring Mean Girls‘ Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder. The Christmas House follows an admittedly shameful year for Hallmark whose 2019 holiday films featured zero same-sex couples (no, really — none).

“Representation is so important, and to represent this storyline on Hallmark Channel, it’s an honor to make a little history,” Bennett told Entertainment Tonight this week.

The Christmas House follows brothers Mike Mitchell (played by One Tree Hill‘s Robert Buckley) and Brandon’s (Bennett) return home for the holidays. As they attempt to bring the family to together to recreate the Christmas house, Brandon and his husband, Jake, anxiously await a call about the adoption of their first child, the film description on the Hallmark Channel’s website states.

Allister Foster/Crown Media

Bennett added that he would have been excited to see a film such as The Christmas House when he was younger. “I can only imagine what younger me would have thought seeing a Christmas movie with a storyline like this; two men in love, having a baby together. I think I would have been so excited, and I know I’m excited.”

Adopting is something Bennett and his partner, Jaymes Vaughan, have spoken about, too.

“We’re thinking about that for sure, especially shooting this movie it really spoke to me,” he said. “It’s almost like life imitates art.

Allister Foster/Crown Media

“I am so proud of Hallmark Channel and everyone there for doing what they did this year, which was taking the holiday table and making it bigger and more welcoming than ever,” Bennett said. “I think so many people are gonna feel seen and so many people are gonna feel like they belong in the Hallmark family — and they do. It’s gonna be a really special year for so many people.”

In a separate promotional clip for the Hallmark film, Bennett said that what he’s most looking forward to this Christmas is spending time with his family.

“Family is the most important thing in the world to me,” he said, adding that some of the scenes from the new movie even inspired him to call his family. “I really hope this movie inspires people to come together with their families and surround each other with unconditional love,” he said.

The Christmas House premieres Nov. 22 at 8/7c on Hallmark.

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Please Enjoy This Tiny Owl Rescued From The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The entire internet is here to collectively “ooh” and “aah” over the tiny owl that has stolen America’s hearts

In 2020, we will take all the tiny crumbs of joy we can get because this entire year is a dystopian hellscape. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, for all its Charlie Brown-esque sparseness, has delivered that joy in the form of one (1) tiny little owl who holed up in the tree for a few days while it was transported to New York City. Most importantly: he is adorable, and he is okay.

In a Facebook post written Tuesday, the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center said the bird was rescued after the 75-foot Norway spruce was cut down in Oneonta, roughly 80 miles southwest of Albany and around 170 miles north of its final stop in the city.

That owl turned out to be a little Saw-whet owl, the smallest owl in the northeast. And he had made a temporary home inside the world’s most famous Christmas tree. JUST LOOK AT HIS LITTLE FACE.

Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

“Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from someone who asked if we take in owls for rehabilitation,” the post reads. “I replied, ‘Yes we do,’ there was silence for a moment and she said ‘OK, I’ll call back when my husband comes home, he’s got the baby owl in a box tucked in for the long ride.'”

Because he’d had quite a journey with no food or water, the wildlife center had to come to the rescue. “Back at Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, we’ve given him fluids and are feeding him all the mice he will eat,” the post continues. “So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through. Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey.”

Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

Naturally, everyone on the internet is in true love with this little guy, because who wouldn’t be? And, damn it, if the sad-looking Rockefeller tree is good enough for an owl to stowaway in, it’s good enough, PERIOD.

Come on, it’s an OWL IN A COWL. What’s not to love?

And his name? Why, you’re looking at an authentic Rockefeller.

Ravensbeard updated Scary Mommy on little Rockefeller post-vet visit. “He was seen by a vet yesterday and got a clean bill of health. No broken bones. He will most likely be released this weekend,” they tell us. “We will update the Facebook page then.”

The wildlife center shared its gratitude for everyone involved in spotting the tiny little owl man and coming to his rescue: “Our hearts go out to all those ‘behind the scenes’ workers. Great job and thanks for saving ‘Rockefeller!'”

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Stouffer’s Is Selling Lasagna Merch And We Need It All

Stouffer’s isn’t just a line of frozen foods anymore — it’s a whole look

Lasagna (and fashion) lovers, you are in for a treat. Stouffer’s just launched its first-ever merchandise line featuring food-themed apparel and it includes an insulated fanny pack for you to store your lasagna. I mean, talk about wardrobe basics.

The days of taking long hikes without the ability to nosh on some hot pasta are officially over.  Now, you just need to heat your lasagna up, shove it the insulated pack, and voila — a hearty snack is but a zipper away. Plus, it comes with an adjustable waist strap and buckle closure so you’ll look as cool as you feel.

But wait, there’s more.

If Stouffer’s lasagna isn’t your jam, there is still plenty of options for you or a loved one this holiday season. Cheese lovers will appreciate this “Don’t Talk To Me Until I’ve Had My Mac & Cheese” mug and this adorable “Mac & Cheese Is Self-Care” t-shirt.

shopstouffers.com

But I would offer you’re not fully committed as a Mac & Cheese Top Fan unless you are literally covered in it from head to toe in this sweatsuit. Sure, it’s $95 but high fashion isn’t cheap.

shopstouffers.com

There’s also a “Let’s Canoodle” Sherpa Lined Micro Mink blanket for $50. It’s a little on the high side but with winter coming you’ll need a blanket and favorite person to canoodle with (pets qualify).

shopstouffers.com

Speaking of staying warm, don’t miss this lasagna-inspired “Layer Up” sweatshirt or this “Live. Laugh. Love. Lasagna” t-shirt.

shopstouffers.com

“Additional pieces will be added to the shop throughout the holiday shopping season,” a spokesperson for the brand confirmed, which is perfect because it makes shopping for all our friends and family fairly easy this year.

shopstouffers.com

As odd as it is to see our favorite frozen food in clothing form, Stouffer’s aren’t the first major brand to debut its own apparel. In recent months, Franzia boxed wine launched an online shop with clothing, necklaces, and Franzia-dispensing backpacks. Red Lobster also dropped a merchandise line that included its own insulated fanny pack that comes inside a sweater. Of course, that one should be worn with only its cheese biscuits inside. The good news for us all is we can wear the lasagna fanny pack whilst donning a Red Lobster sweater with a wine backpack in tow. It’s the win-win-win that 2020 needed.

The collection also includes several puzzles, socks, hats, and hair scrunchies, which are all available online beginning today or are shown as “coming soon” at the ShopStouffers.com site. What a time to be alive.

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