December 2013 editor's letter: Do Christmas your way!

This holiday, take a step back and ask yourself how you really want to celebrate the festive season.

Photo by Sian Richards

Photo by Sian Richards

Ever had one of those years when you just couldn’t get excited about the holidays? Too many obligations, not enough time, frantically juggling family, friends and work functions?

It happened to me a few years ago. By a trick of fate (or, more accurately, contractor delay), my house was totally gutted the entire month of December. I had to rely on the hospitality of my parents, and it made for one of the most hectic months of my life. Between social commitments and navigating the many events my mom hosts throughout the season, I was over it long before the actual day. And what a shame, since Christmas has always been a favourite time of year.

I had to get the magic back. The solution? My husband and I skipped out on the next holiday season altogether. We packed our bags and escaped south . . . forgot about presents, and swapped pine trees and carolling for palms and tennis.

The following year, we took back the holidays. I asked for help where needed and saved the fun, festive chores for us. We got the biggest tree that would fit (a whopping 10-footer) delivered and installed, then spent a relaxing evening stringing lights and decking that tree with every ornament in sight. And ribbon. Lots of colourful ribbon. It was spectacular (if I do say so myself) and completely me.

Whatever you’re celebrating, make the holidays your own. Don’t like red and green? Pick your own colours. Use the season as an excuse to experiment with something fresh, or indulge in your fave traditions. Don’t care for turkey? Have lasagna with toasty garlic bread instead. Or try a rollicking French-Canadian habitant meal: Our editors offer everything you need to throw the coziest dinner party ever. Or maybe take a break and save these great ideas for next year.

I wish you a wonderfully happy holiday — whether you sit back or kick up your heels. We’ve tried to make every choice easier and more fun. Hopefully, we’ve been able to help. And wish me luck with mine!