Secrets to a Happy Holiday

Between the gift hunting, hall decking and fete prepping, it’s easy to let this time of year elicit a frenzied scramble. Let our holiday confidential guide you through a three-fold approach to nipping the harried seasonal guesswork in the bud.

By Susan Anspach, Kristin Elber, Kelly Magyarics, Lynn Norusis, Jacquline Quattrocchi and Julia Winkler

Guide to the Perfect Gift
a gift for everyone on your list
Good Will Hunting
The Rules of Regifting One Man’s Trash
The $20 Challenge

Decor that Dazzles
deck your holidays —inside and out
The Foyer is So Delightful
Out-of-door Adornment
Skimp vs. Splurge

Time Saviours
host a party you can actually enjoy
Take Back the Night
– It’s My Party
– The Breakdown on Bublly

Dear Nick,

We know that you, like much of the rest of the northwest corner of the world, have had an eye on Northern Virginia this year. After all, our fair Commonwealth at large has been grappling with Swing-State Identity Crisis. Are we reddish-blue? Or purplish-red? Pundits might as well have thrown a dart at a color wheel.

That means we don’t need to tell you we’ve had our naughty streaks these past 11 months (an AAA study earlier this year found that a quarter of Virginia Beltway drivers text daily, prompting the ban that took effect July 1; our state ranked 34th for an energy efficiency study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) in addition to our nice ($98.523 million in Virginia rebates as part of the Cash for Clunkers program; our bar and restaurant smoking ban begins Dec. 1; Alexandria was the most generous large American city based on per capita online giving).

That being said, we’ve got a hefty wish list for 2010, including—

  • *Godspeed for transportation projects. What with the coming HOT lanes, Silver Line and recent Toll Road hikes, goodness knows we need it.
  • *Team Spirit. Between the Skins and the Nationals, this region could use a faith lift.
  • *Wisdom, applied to schools. Our student population only stands to expand; recent budget cuts ring alarm.
  • *Happy homes, in more than one sense of the phrase. Our October Future of NoVA cover story detailed the start of real estate recovery this year. Please, Christmas, don’t be late.

So to tip the scales in our favor, we’ve tracked down a gifts guide (their eyes, how they’ll twinkle), decor pointers (red roses, how merry) and party suggestions that will give Northern Virginians know they have nothing to dread. A package bursting at the seams with our secrets to doing the season right—all punctuated with a pop of bubbly.

Cheers, to you and yours!

Northern Virginia Magazine

(December 2009)