Let's face it, the concepts of holiday and calm usually seem worlds apart. So, while the holidays should be a time of joy and gratitude, they often become full of chaos with so much to do and so many people to see in such a short, precious amount of time. Now, this special edition is set to help you create a more peaceful, genuine holiday season. Consider a simpler approach, shed some to-dos, and clarify your holiday priorities. Focus on your family with five questions to bring you closer, or how to handle being far apart. Whether you're hosting or a guest, learn some party protocol, deal with dress-code chaos, and make every guest room ready. Prep your best pies, decide to de-stress, and even consider some gifts to give yourself as you moderate the mayhem and enjoy the profound magic of the holidays.
Making Memories • SWEET, SIMPLE ROUTINES CAN MAKE THE HOLIDAY SEASON SPECIAL. THERE ARE WAYS TO FIND CALM AND SAVOR ALL THE EXTRAORDINARY MOMENTS.
A SIMPLER APPROACH
5 Holiday To-Dos You Don’t Really Have to Do • WHY FEEL PRESSURED TO DO THINGS A CERTAIN WAY? HERE ARE SOME OBLIGATIONS YOU CAN LET GO OF RIGHT NOW.
How to Be Grateful (When You Really Don’t Feel Like It) • GRATITUDE RITUALS SOMETIMES FEEL FORCED AT HOLIDAY TIME, BUT GETTING IN THE HABIT OF SAYING “THANK YOU” HELPS US APPRECIATE BLESSINGS BIG AND SMALL.
Ways to Find Meaning in the Busy Holiday Season • WISH THE HOLIDAYS WEREN’T SO COMMERCIAL? HERE’S HOW SOME WOMEN BRING COMPASSION AND CONNECTION TO THE FESTIVITIES.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A CHARITY? • Eileen Heisman, CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, offers advice on vetting organizations before opening your heart (and wallet).
5 Questions to Spark Family Conversations This Season • GOT EVERYONE GATHERED AROUND THE TABLE THIS HOLIDAY? TAKE THE CHATTER TO A NEW AND MORE INSIGHTFUL LEVEL WITH THESE CONVERSATION STARTERS FROM EXPERT TALKERS.
The Joy of Not-Traditional Traditions • MAYBE YOUR FAMILY MARKS THE HOLIDAY SEASON ROCK CLIMBING OR WATCHING SCARY MOVIES. MAYBE YOU’VE GOT A DOLL INSTEAD OF AN ANGEL ON TOP OF YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE. SURPRISE: THESE UNORTHODOX RITUALS HELP YOUR KIDS FEEL SECURE AND CONNECTED JUST THE SAME.
“Help! I’m Spending the Holidays with My Family” • PRESENT OVERLOAD, NO PRIVACY, MIA COLLEGE KIDS, AND OTHER TRICKY DECEMBER DILEMMAS, SOLVED.
When Your Family Is Far Away • THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO FEEL CLOSE WHEN YOU’RE ALL SPREAD OUT.
HOSTING AND GUESTING
Be Our Guest! (or Host) • WHETHER YOU’RE PACKING YOUR OVERNIGHT BAG OR PREPPING THE EXTRA BEDROOM, TRY THESE IDEAS FOR MAKING THIS YEAR’S HOLIDAY VISITS MEMORABLE IN A GOOD WAY.
BONUS POINTS FOR GUESTS
The Next-Level Casserole • PREP THESE DISHES WHEN THINGS ARE QUIET, AND THEN PULL THEM OUT OF THE OVEN JUST AS THE DOORBELL RINGS. YOU’LL DAZZLE YOUR GUESTS—AND HAVE TIME TO TALK TO THEM.
A Hosting Intervention • CAN YOU LEARN TO BE A BETTER ENTERTAINER? ONE LESS-THAN-STELLAR HOST ENROLLED IN A FIVE-STAR HOTEL’S RIGOROUS TRAINING PROGRAM TO FIND OUT.
GIFTS & GOODY BAGS • Your good attitude is the most important thing to pack. But it’s also nice to bring (or leave with) a little special something.
Make Every Room Guest-Ready • NO MATTER HOW LONG YOUR COMPANY IS COMING FOR, THESE PRO TRICKS WILL HELP YOUR GUESTS FEEL AT HOME WITHOUT MAKING YOU FEEL LIKE A CONCIERGE.
Party Guest Protocol • REAL SIMPLE CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO BE A SPARKLING CONVERSATIONALIST, AN AMBIDEXTROUS BUFFET MANEUVERER, AND AN ALL-AROUND DELIGHTFUL ATTENDEE (WHO CAN GRACEFULLY EXIT WHENEVER SHE DARN WELL PLEASES).
Pick Up a Hostess Gift • These ideas are more creative yet can be bought at the grocery store (or printed out just before you walk out the door).
“Eat, Drink, and Be...