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Meridith Ingram

Like many young families, picking out a fresh Christmas tree was a Thing We Did. I can’t call it “tradition” because it unraveled early. We want to stay in the car, the kids would whine. Let’s just get that one, I’d say, pointing to a tree still wrapped in its netting. Fighting with tangled strings of lights, wishing for that smell of fir that just wasn’t there, dropped needles and endless sneezing … Then, the finale: the year it fell over, a tide of broken keepsake ornaments and many tears in its wake. With that, we went faux. Now, with the flick of a switch illuminating perfectly placed lights and a scented candle providing all the nostalgia I’ll ever need, voila! The rest of the season is ours to enjoy!

Although this issue of HOME features a story on choosing a tree, we’re not here to convince you that one type is superior over the other—you do you! But we do believe that less-stress holidays, no matter what you celebrate, are yours for the taking once you determine your own priorities. If decking your halls tops your list, perhaps you’ll be inspired by six local design pros on how to decorate the fireplace mantel with fresh and fun ideas. Is your gift list a mile long? We offer a curated selection of hot new cookbooks for foodie friends. Will you be entertaining? Our article on glassware will help you get organized and maybe even gift someone or treat yourself to a new set. A feature on entertaining for New Year’s and beyond includes ideas for a party that starts with a mug swap and ends with soup or chili. And, since there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of soup in winter, we share some delicious, versatile soup recipes.

After the holiday hullabaloo has subsided, you might like to tackle some home projects, so this issue’s got you covered there, too. For a low-commitment, easy-to-execute DIY, consider peel-and-stick wallpaper, which comes in stylish designs and works just about anywhere in your home. We also share tips on scenting your home after that last holiday candle is packed away. And, since we know vitamin D is so important to good health, get some for yourself by going outside in your winter garden to do some clean up and planning for spring with our handy checklist.

Whatever you celebrate, don’t stress: Your home is there for you to enjoy, a place to gather and make merry, or to rest and rejuvenate.

Thanks for reading!
Meridith Ingram

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