Melanie Notkin is the founder of the Savvy Auntie lifestyle brand – the phenomenon heralded by fabulous kid-friendly women everywhere as a celebration of modern, cosmopolitan aunthood. She is the national best-selling author of SAVVY AUNTIE: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids (Morrow/HarperCollins) and a popular columnist on Huffington Post Women as the leading voice of the nearly 50 percent of American women who are not mothers but love the children in their lives. Her Webby Award nominated Website, SavvyAuntie.com is a Forbes Top 100 Top Websites for Women two years running, and Melanie is a genConnect/YahooShine Top 10 Women in Social Media.
I founded Auntie’s Day® in 2009 as a day to thank, honor and celebrate the aunt in a child’s life, whether she is an Auntie by Relation (ABR), Auntie by Choice (ABC), or godmother, for everything she does for a child not-her-own. An estimated 50 percent of American women do not have children but still devote discretionary time and income to their nieces, nephews, godchildren and other kids.
The fourth annual Auntie’s Day is Sunday, July 22.
On Auntie’s Day – a ‘Mother’s Day’ for aunts – aunts and godmothers are celebrated with special activities and gifts. The official Auntie’s Day web destination (AuntiesDay.com) features ideas on how parents and nieces and nephews can celebrate the Savvy Auntie in their lives and how aunts can pamper and treat themselves on their special day. In honor of the day, Savvy Auntie will also host promotions for aunties on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/SavvyAuntie, and on Facebook: http://Facebook.com/SavvyAuntie.
It’s time that all women in the American Family Village are honored for their selfless giving to the children in their lives. An aunt is there to provide ‘QualAuntie Time’ and experiences as a loving caregiver and “ConfidAunt” to her nieces and nephews from the day they are born and as they grow up. Many women without children of their own also give tirelessly to children all over the world. These BenevolAunts are due their day to be honored.
-What is your favorite date with your niece or nephew?
Any date is a favorite date with a niece or nephew, but each of them gets a “Special Day with Auntie” for their birthday. It’s a day they look forward to all year.
The older children and I plan the day together so that I can incorporate some of the ideas on their wish list. But overall, I plan a day that introduces them to a special “first,” whether it’s the first time they have their hair cut and styled at a fancy New York City salon, or their first time to go to visit Heloise at The Plaza Hotel. No matter what we do together, just knowing that their Auntie Melanie has set aside time just for them, makes them feel so special. When an aunt – and by the way – an aunt can be by relation or by choice like a Crushable Mom’s BFF – spends time (and maybe a few dollars) on a child, it can be a magical experience. A private tour of FAO Schwarz? Sure, that helps. But a walk holding hands in the park can be just as memorable.
-What are some great gifts for your niece or nephew?
The best gifts are the right gifts for the right children. For little ones, no matter how smart we think they are, Savvy Aunties check the age category on the toy first. While your nephew may be able to count to 10 at age 2, his motor dexterity may not be that of a 3 year old quite yet and he’ll just get frustrated and lose confidence. For older kids, gifts that support their interests and passions are great. If a niece is a skater, a new sparkly skating outfit can light up her face. If your nephew is a LEGO fan, don’t just get him any set. He may prefer one theme over another.
Since it’s a challenge to know what children are craving from year-to-year, especially as an aunt who isn’t privy to hearing about the newest toys, I announce the Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards each fall. The list is a selection of toys that kids have put on their wish lists – the toys all their friends are talking about.
-What are your tips and tricks to staying so crushworthy?
Well first of all, thank you for thinking I am crushworthy! I always thought that by now, I’d be a Crushworthy Mom, myself. I thought I’d be married with kids, and for whatever reasons, that hasn’t happened. Nevertheless, my life is filled with opportunities and experiences I only dreamed of. I’m living my life to its potential. I wake up every day, happy. I think that shows.
I also take care to stay fit and stylish. Since I’m an entrepreneur, I invest in growing my business, not my wardrobe. Still, I love fashion! So, each season, I buy a select number of fun, stylish pieces that say “Melanie!” all over them and since I love them so much, I simply wear them again and again! I might change my jewelry or shoes, wear my hair in a top knot or down in curls and waves, dress it up for a night out with red lipstick, or dress it down run out to pick up some fresh veggies for an omelet with a nude gloss. I don’t buy ‘classics;’ I buy classic “Melanie” styles.