The Gift

What It Is: Cotton Monsters made by local artist Jennifer Strunge

Pretty much every holiday season, we find ourselves picking up a cotton monster or two as gifts for someone on our list. The one-of-a-kind creations made by Baltimore artist Jennifer Strunge are so soft and loveable that they invariably melt the hearts of kids and adults alike. Strunge makes these soft sculptures (she’s careful not to call them stuffed animals) in a variety of species– monsters, eyeballs, pentapods, and more. Each is lovingly handmade by Strunge herself from recycled natural fibers, and ready to find a loving home. Available at holiday craft fairs and online. Prices vary.

It’s Perfect for:

‘Tweens: These adorable monsters are cool enough to appeal to kids who would normally think of themselves as too old for stuffed animal friends. Plus, they can look a little bit grumpy, which–let’s face it–‘tweens can often be. And for kids just starting to become concerned with being cool, knowing they’re handmade by a local artist gives them a nice edge of hipness.

A Get Well Soon Gift: Whether a loved one is recovering from an illness at home, or you’re paying them a hospital visit, a Cotton Monster is just the kind of heart warmer that can speed a recovery. Soft and huggable, they can keep you company, listen to your secrets, and even be a soft place to rest your head for as long as needed.

For more information, or to purchase a Cotton Monster, visit