Letter from the Editor December 2010

Jenna Hammond

December is synonymous with the holiday season. To keep you blissfully celebratory rather than anxious of all of the revelry to come, we wrap this issue up with meal planning insight, entertaining advice, winter travel guidance and gift picks. Tied with a bow, there's even a nostalgic article on family life and whether to have another child to celebrate next holiday season. You'll get tips on keeping your sanity and tricks to keep you smiling, confirming this truly is the most wonderful time of year.

While nearly every magazine and family Internet site in December packages a story on making a lavish holiday feast, we've opted to inform readers how to prepare wholesome casual dinners in a flash. Especially helpful when company isn't coming over, "Carefree Cooking" by bestselling author Leanne Ely provides five essential pointers to allow your nearest and dearest to eat well despite the frenetic pace that ensues between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Discover how to make each night's dinner memorable not just for the food on the table but for the simple pleasure of sharing quality time around the table— something you'll have more of thanks to the meal prep pointers you'll learn. With your family's input on what they'd like to eat, you'll create an action plan for what to serve every day in December. Plus, Ely's Basic Veggie Soup recipe is thrown in for good measure. Adapt the soup with the four quick fixes Ely suggests or get inspired to put your own spin on the dish. Cool as a Cucumber Veggie Soup, anyone?

Now that you have the month's dinners under control, you can focus on the fun stuff: gifts, gifts and more gifts. Our annual adult gift guide showcases present picks for every mature person on your list, as well as for kids at heart. Turn to "Eight is Great" for the short list of what techies, photo junkies, foodies, beauty gurus and the gift obsessed are requesting. You'll find even more buzz-worthy presents in our monthly columns. However, the hot list is revealed in "Winter Wonders." Flip to the spread for some of the latest and greatest stuffed animals, figurines, games, dolls, collectibles and pop-culture-based goods on the market for the kiddy set. Get some for your brood and your kids will consider you the coolest parents in town.

As a present to your entire family, we present the Winter Education Directory, with programs and resources in the first installment. Find afterschool activities, extracurricular fare and all types of classes for everyone, whether naughty or nice. The programming you sign up for should definitely encourage your clan to be active and engaged in 2011. Stay tuned for schools, from childcare facilities to college preparatory academies, being spotlighted along with programs in the January issue.

For now though, it's a wrap! Happiest of holidays to your family. Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond