Letter from the Editor December 2009

Jenna Hammond

For most parents, the holidays connote family. For children, the holidays tend to signal presents. For me, when I reflect on my most formative and significant memories of seasonal glee, I think of travel.

We didn’t have a Christmas tree growing up (a menorah, maybe). My father worked hard and late. He seldom took a day off, let alone a vacation— save for one trip annually. Likewise, the end of December was magical for me because it meant our family vacationed in the Caribbean, free of distractions, focused on our love for one another and content to spend hours in crystalline waters.

Contemplating spending your children’s winter break from school on an island? Even if you prefer to celebrate the holidays at home and then venture to a beach destination, flip to “The Caribbean Four Ways.” Written by travel writer Kara Mayer Robinson, the article spotlights four fabulous resorts that perfectly mix luxury and family. Should flight time be a concern, consider a brief jaunt to the Bermuda property in the piece. Or designate most of Christmas break for the Anguilla retreat to really get away. Despite which of the seaside beauties you choose, your family will unpack fond memories you’ll treasure forever from the expedition.

I know, a lavish island retreat sounds tempting. But it’s probably not worth squandering your family’s savings. As endless gift giving beckons this most wonderful time of year, you might flat out reject the notion of vacationing in the Caribbean— at least at full price. Fortunately, you have the chance to win a family vacation among Carib culture courtesy of PARENTGUIDE News and the Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. To participate in the opportunity, simply enter the Scavenger Hunt Contest featured on our home page at www.parentguidenews.com. Entries are being accepted until December 6. Good luck!

True, just one family ultimately wins the vacation. But all parents can bank on “‘Tis the Season for Saving.” No matter what your itinerary this holiday season, read this issue’s tip-laden article to save money without sacrificing the presents you want to bestow. I especially appreciate lifestyle expert Sarah Welch’s advice on using the Internet to forage for deals. See what she has to say regarding virtual coupons, comparing prices online and tracking gifts through an automated service. You can even cut post-holiday costs thanks to the piece. Save a bundle by mailing out thank-you cards for the gifts you receive by using a certain site revealed in the article.

Speaking of presents, check out our gift suggestions for kids and adults. “Winter Wish List” forecasts nearly two dozen offerings, from educational to purely entertaining finds, that children will relish unwrapping. Discover the latest merchandise from Mattel, Hasbro, popular booksellers and new names in the children’s market. And follow up the children’s coverage with “Present Perfect,” our annual spread on what to get parents. No matter how distinct your loved one’s preferences, the piece has ideas for everyone on your list— foodies, fashionistas, techies— even those with seemingly everything. There’s also a gadget to entice your spouse to take that tempting vacation. Maybe you’ll fulfill that Caribbean calling after all.

Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond