100 Reasons to be Thankful During the Holidays

Blueprint, November/December 2007

From Christmas-morning cocktails to hunks of blue cheese, here are 100 reasons to be thankful during the Holidays (and not all of them involve digestion).

1.Talk turkey with the pros on Thanksgiving Day (or just get told to stuff it) at 1-800-BUTTERBALL.

2. Then click on marthastewart.com/thanksgiving for our founder's favorite side-dish recipes and centerpiece ideas.

Go-To Gift Sites to Bookmark Now
3. unicahome.com Designer housewares from Aalto to Zeisel;
4. momastore.org for museum- quality stocking stuffers;
5. fredflare.com a favorite of tweens (and tweens at heart);
6. oompa.com because Toys "R" Us in December is not for the quick-tempered.

7. Or, reserve products for pickup at a shopping center near you on nearbynow.com and know that the wait for a parking spot will pay off.

8. "I'm grateful for eBay's 'favorite search' feature, which tells me when sellers list new items I might be interested in." Katie Hatch, fashion editor

9. Roomba: What (or who) else cleans floors, entertains guests, and puts itself to bed -- with no complaints? ($120 and up, irobot.com)

10. "I'm thankful that I finally gave Skype a try and found out that it is that easy and cheap to reach loved ones from afar." (skype.com) Petra Guglielmetti, staff writer

11. Caller ID: Because telemarketers don't take the holidays off.

12. "I'm thankful for toast -- how something so simple makes your kitchen smell so good, and with the right preserves can be heaven." Elizabeth Graves, beauty, health, and fitness editorial director

13. and 14. Thoroughly modern menorahs at nambe.com (Marilyn Davidson's swooping style, $160) and guild.com (Bruce R. MacDonald's almost-industrial aluminum-and-steel "MN3," $160); and

15. Traditional versions that double as Shabbat candleholders ($185, thejewishmuseum.org).

16. An Incomparably elegant glass dreidel from Simon Pearce ($70, simonpearce.com).

17. November 4, 2007 -- One more hour of much-needed sleep, courtesy of the end of Daylight Saving Time.

18. Lower-priced GPS units from Garmin, for finding your way to Grandma's new condo (garmin.com);

19. Mapquest, for a printable plan;

20. Gas-station attendants who give accurate directions at no charge.

21. Free bottleneck and breakdown alerts sent to your cell phone or PDA from traffic.com.

22. "I'm thankful for Santa Maria Novella's cologne 'Potpourri': It's my signature fragrance, and the only accessory I wear daily." Shane Powers, senior style and home editor

23. The sublime combination of grilled cheese and tomato soup.

24. Winter citrus (Oh, my darling clementines!)

25. Irish coffee spiked with Black Bush Irish Whiskey (the best!).

26. Thanksgiving-Leftovers Strata, featuring turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and eggs.

27. "I'm thankful for home-cooked meals (that are made by someone else)." Milano Miodini, editorial assistant

28. Shoulder-season (through the end of November) discounts to sunny destinations like the Caribbean.

29. "Drink umbrellas: I put them in beverages when someone I know is having a bad day -- or I'm pining for a tropical vacation." Sarah Conroy, associate fashion editor

Entrust Your Party's DJ Duties to the Electronic Minds Behind
30. slacker.com,
31. pandora.com,
32. last.fm.

33. "I'm thankful for my Searle down jacket. It can withstand just about any gale-force wind or precipitation." Bora Chang, associate beauty, health, and fitness editor

Schmaltz-Free Holiday Albums
34. "Christmas with the Rat Pack;"
35. "James Brown's Funky Christmas;"
36. "A Charlie Brown Christmas;"
37. The LeeVees "Hanukkah Rocks;"
38. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers "Once Upon a Christmas." (Trust us.)

And a Couple of Schmaltzy Favorites
39. Neil Diamond "The Christmas Album"
40. Elvis Presley "If Every Day Was Like Christmas"

41. Family members who feel like friends.

42. Friends who feel like family.

43. Family members with four legs (or fins, or feathers).

44. Unexpected, handwritten notes and letters.

And The Booming Indie Stationery That Inspires Those Notes
45. Paper Stories (paperstories.com) for options both naughty and nice;
46. Iomoi (shopiomoi.com) for personalized patterns;
47. Paper+Cup (papercupdesign.com) for the graphic and novel;
48. Elum (elumdesigns.com) for refined, post-preppy letterpress.

49. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Ink Pens ($3 each, jetpens.com) "The thinnest, finest, lightest pens around, in a rainbow of colors. They're great for addressing holiday cards." Debra Bishop, design director

Smart TV on DVD to Get You Through Holiday Rerun Season
50. "Saturday Night Live: The Best of Will Ferrell;"
51. Seasons 1-3 of "Arrested Development" (R.I.P.);
52. "The Office" from either side of the pond;
53. "Weeds" because suburbia has never been so dope;
54. "Entourage" to watch the guys hug it out.

Supplement With YouTube's Finest Programming
55. Choreographed wedding dances (see "Dirty Dancing" and "Thriller");
56. Sesame Street, gangsta-style;
57. The seasonally appropriate "Christmas Lights Gone Wild";
58. Jingle Cats meowing all your favorite carols.

59. The new and improved, lower-priced TiVo HD, which can even beam TV shows and movies from the Internet straight to your TV. ($299, tivo.com)

60. "My mom's traditional Christmas-morning cocktails, waiting for us each year when we wake up." Scott Horne, contributing style editor
The Recipe:
Empty one can of frozen limeade into blender. Add one canful each of gin (or vodka), half-and-half, and crushed ice. Blend quickly, pour into a glass, and sprinkle with nutmeg.

61. Miniature tubes of Aquaphor, the purse-size winter wonder that repairs chapped lips, softens cuticles, and gives eyelids a glisten. ($2, drugstores)

62. Benefit Boi-ing Concealer and Eye Bright Pencil to help you fake the beauty sleep you don't always log this time of year. ($18 each, sephora.com)

63. And when you can't fake it anymore, get lasting facial repair from Ole Henriksen's ridiculously effective micro/mini peel kit. ($95, olehenriksen.com)

Turn This Year's Trash Wrap into Next Year's
64. Origami Ornaments (the-north-pole.com);
65. Dreidels (enchantedlearning.com);
66. Kwanzaa Bowls (Origami Holiday Decorations: For Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, by Florence Temko; $9, Tuttle Publishing).

67. January 20, 2009 (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)

68. "Old-fashioned bubble lights -- instant holiday spirit." Sydney Applegate, design production associate

Board Games That Won't Cause Postprandial Family Feuds
69. Scrabble: The best excuse to use four-letter words;
70. Trivial Pursuit (and not the pop-culture version);
71. Balderdash: because, for once, bluffing is encouraged;
72. Catch Phrase: all the shouting and gesturing is in good fun;
73. Pictionary: sometimes it's better to put it in writing.

74. "I'm thankful for my mom's zucchini latkes. Whether I'm home and she's frying them up, or I channel her by making my own batch, they always infuse a little family tradition into my holiday season." Shira Savada, editorial assistant, art

75. The mail-order Maytag Blue-Cheese Wheel: a huge hit as a gift for those out-of-town relatives. ($27 for 2 pounds, maytagdairyfarms.com)

Sophisticated, Santa-Free Gift Wrap
76. rettaleritz.com;
77. seltzergoods.com;
78. eieiostudio.com;
79. pikkuwares.com;
80. whimsypress.com;
81. luxepaperie.com.

82. Digest a little literary fare (along with everything else) in "Christmas Stories," Diana Secker Tesdell, ed. ($15, Knopf, November): 20 selections from the likes of Willa Cather, Anton Chekhov, and John Updike.

83. Find the most over-the-(roof)top house-lighting displays near you on tackylighttour.com. (And take a pair of sunglasses if you go to see them.)

84. Long-burning, energy-saving LED bulb strings, for your own light shows. (christmas-treasures.com)

85. The ultimate what-not-to-do primer in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

86. "I'm thankful for my family's annual dessert competition: There are six to eight categories (for taste, presentation, etc.). Everyone gives her dessert an original name and tests each entry, and we hand out funny, tacky gifts to the winners." Lisa The, senior art director

87. Cheaters -- er, perfectionists -- can use EvenDough rolling-pin bands to roll out blue ribbon-worthy pie crusts. ($6, grammascutters.com)

88. Martha's Favorite Cookies DVD: Dozens more ways to fatten up your friends and neighbors. ($15, marthastewartstore.com)

89. Fountains of Wayne in Wayne, NJ: More than a band name, it's also the home of America's largest free animated Christmas display.

90. Claxton, GA, the fruitcake capital of the world. Where would we be without the holidays' favorite punch line?

Fresh, Fun Tree Ornaments
91. jonathanadler.com (stoneware animals);
92. weegohome.com (laser-cut steel trees, flowers, and birds);
93. metmuseum.org (silver plate Frank Lloyd Wright-sicles).
94. Hanukkah Gelt: A religious imperative to eat chocolate. (250 pieces for $60, celebrationcandy.com)
95. "youworkforthem.com has a great selection of art books as well as smart, well-designed gifts." Jamie Prokell, associate art director

Salvation for Slackers: Ultra-Last-Minute Delivery of Holiday Gifts
96. llbean.com;
97. bluenile.com;
98. redenvelope.com;
99. jcrew.com.
100. or send a gift subscription to "Blueprint." (Shameless, we know.)


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