Holiday Guide 2003 

With November and December come obligations—parties that never allow enough time for planning, shopping that only sometimes yields the perfect gift, cultural events that would take us away from all the stress, if only we had time. But at the heart of the decorating, baking, running around, incessant credit card swiping and never-ending wrapping is family—the good, the bad, the ugly and, if you’re lucky, the utterly wonderful.

Let’s face it: For many of us, family gatherings are equal parts gloom and joy. This is the abiding truth that leads us headlong into the season of giving, bickering, unflattering regression and sibling rivalry. It is with this in mind that we bring you our annual Holiday Guide, a special supplement dedicated to the truth about the holidays, with some advice for how to get through this very mixed time of year. Our writers offer everything from practical recommendations to unabashed sentimentality about all things holiday-related—entertaining, drinking, giving, reading and event-going.

The trick is to feel your joy and your pain—to at once embrace and escape your circumstances. Ho Ho Humbug.

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