Ihave to be really honest. Every year, I think about skipping Christmas. Now that holiday hype starts well before Halloween, who would blame me for fatigue when festivities finally roll around? Yet, I continue to yearn for the romantic, the nostalgic, the largely unrealistic Christmases of the past.
So each year, I think this Christmas will be different. I don’t really have to haul out all of those boxes in the garage, displaying every Santa or every little gold tree. Fewer parties and presents, I figure. And forget about writing all those cards, let alone wrapping and baking.
But when I convince myself that this year will be different, something magical happens. Visions of sugarplums (although I’ve never tasted them) dance in my head. The Nutcracker is the ringtone on my iPhone. And my car radio plays all holiday music, all the time. I savor the scent of spiced pumpkin and potpourri, the color of cranberries, the taste of chocolates and Champagne, the comfort of a cinnamon latte, silvery tinsel, snow globes, roasted chestnuts, and mistletoe. I love making gravlax with my family and watching the same sappy Christmas movies, laughing at the exact same spots, even though we’ve heard the same punch line so many times before. And to this day, I still remember my best Christmas ever, the year that a pink ballerina doll and the Candy Land game were both beneath the tree.
In this issue, filled with festivities and fundraisers, New Year’s Eve celebrations and holiday dining, we revisit The Grand Del Mar’s Addison, where chef William Bradley and crew demonstrate why this remains one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country. Speaking of grand, we photographed holiday evening wear in the resort’s luxurious Manchester Suite. (Check in and you’ll never want to leave.)
In this season of giving, we hope you won’t forget the many worthy charities around town, and members of the armed services, who may not be home for the holidays. We’ll tell you about The Patriots Initiative, a way to give back to active and retired service members, and their families. In “Changing Lives,” we highlight the Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for the families of sick children, where tireless staff and volunteers make the holidays brighter.
So, I simply can’t skip Christmas. It comes each year, as the Grinch learned, whether we are ready or not. The holidays, after all, are a state of mind and spirit, a feeling in your heart. So whether you mark the occasion with a quiet, candlelight service or a boisterous party, whether your family is big or small, whether the presents you give are pricey or modest, at Ranch & Coast we want to say, “Merry Christmas” to all.
Andrea Naversen, editor-at-large