Like the rest of us, Rachel Bilson is working overtime this year trying to make the holidays feel special for her daughter — even if they look really different from any other year. Their usual trips out of town are off, but 6-year-old Briar Rose isn’t missing out on Elf on the Shelf or Santa, as long as the O.C. star has anything to say about it.
SheKnows caught up with Bilson at home last week, while she was promoting Amazon’s latest line of devices, to see how they’re managing to stay at home and celebrate, social distance-style, without wanting to run away screaming. It’s taken some help from family and technology, as well as a resource many parents have really come to appreciate lately: her child’s creative flexibility.
SheKnows: Hi, Rachel! I apologize in advance if you hear someone singing in the background. My son is having his music class.
Rachel Bilson: I’m a kindergarten teacher every day, so I get it.
SK: How are you doing with multitasking right now?
RB: I’m faring OK. It’s, I think, challenging for all moms.
SK: So, how are the holidays going to be different for you and your daughter this year?
RB: Well, we’re just trying to stay locked down with family but trying to keep some of the traditions that my kid’s used to. We’re usually in Canada for the holidays, so this year is a little different, but we’re looking forward to it. There’s a big, big Santa list this year, that will be a little challenging to fulfill but we’re working on it.
SK: Is she really into Santa this year?
RB: Oh, yes. Elf on the Shelf is huge as well.
SK: That’s a lot of work!
RB: There’s many times at night, or in the morning, I come racing in and just throw it, so it’s somewhere else.
SK: Are there any Santa requests that worry you this year? My son comes up with really interesting requests where I’m like, “I don’t know, if Santa’s going to find that.”
RB: Last year, she wanted lessons to learn how to fly, but not in a plane — herself. So we got really creative, and we took her to one of those simulated skydiving places. She loved it. She wound up going many times, and she was so brave. But what was funny is this year, looking at her list, we got an Amazon kid gift guide in the mail, and the first thing she circled was the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and I was like, OK, I can do this! I can’t wait to give it to her, because she’ll be able to play her favorite music, [listen to stories], and be able to engage herself, because she’s an only child.
SK: Do the two of you talk about charity and volunteering at this time of year, too?
RB: Yes, what I really like with her school is they’re doing a drive to donate a book, just to put it in their minds that kids are less fortunate. We talked about it, and the other day, she said, “I want to find toys I don’t play with anymore, and I want to donate them to kids who don’t have as much.” So, she’s really kind of grasping that. I think it’s so important, especially this year.
SK: Are you and your family members in a quarantine pod together?
RB: Yeah, my family lives in L.A. as well, so we have stayed podded up. I could not do it without them.
SK: That’s so lucky! Do you still wind up video-chatting with others who aren’t with you?
RB: Yes. I’m mainly in my kitchen when I’m not at my daughter’s school desk. And it’s so nice to have the Echo Show 8 to keep connected to everyone you. It takes that anxiety to a minimum because you can feel connected all the time.
SK: How do you maintain an engaging video chat? We’re on video chats for work and school all day long now, so by the time I’m talking to my family, it’s hard. What’s your secret to making it fun again?
RB: What I really like is cooking together or sharing recipes and talking about things that are a little bit more engaging than just chit-chatting about your day and whatnot — just to keep it sort of active. And my daughter’s found a way to play with her friends, which is awesome. I kind of leave her alone when she’s doing it. They get into their dolls and things like that. It’s kind of interesting to see how they have to be creative and use their imaginations a little bit more, and to see how well they’re adapting.
SK: The adaptability of kids has been the best lesson of 2020.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
Here are some other great gifts for kids to pick up last-minute on Amazon this year.