Long-time readers of this blog know I have a love-hate relationship with Real Simple. The magazine is beautifully laid out, I’ve subscribed for years, and the essays (few as there are) are usually awesome.
On the other hand, there are some jarring moments. Every issue has a feature about doing housework more efficiently; for instance, January ‘s page 44 features instructions on how to speed-clean your fireplace in 15 minutes. Yet page 32 (thanks to Jen from Laughing at Chaos for pointing this out in a Facebook conversation) touts a $1,100 Anya Hindmarch leather satchel. Page 120 highlights a $1,240 task lamp.
Note to Real Simple readers: If you can pay four figures for purses and lamps, you can afford to pay someone else to clean your fireplace.
But anyway, I think Real Simple captures the worries of a certain demographic quite well. Which is why I enjoyed a recent online package on “15 Easy Christmas Decorations,” that you could make yourself. The modern woman is very nostalgic about Christmas crafts and the like. She also isn’t going to take all Saturday to do one. The compromise? “Crafts” that amount to putting pinecones on a table or apples in a glass bowl and calling it a day. You get the effect, without spending time in a way that takes you away from more important priorities.
There’s something to this. I was thinking that this weekend as I made Christmas cookies with my 3-year-old, Jasper. On Saturday afternoon, we found our Christmas cookie cutters and decided to go for it. I had wanted to do some baking with him this year, but baking with 3-year-olds still isn’t exactly easy. So we popped into the store across the street. As I was standing there in the aisle, I had a thought roar up from the depths of my brain that Christmas cookies are supposed to be made from scratch! Was I really about to buy cookie mix and pre-made frosting for such a hallowed event?
Yes, yes I was. A mix let us get to the fun part — cutting out shapes — quickly. Jasper paid attention and helped the whole time. The cookies tasted good. The frosting is kind of eh, but small children turn out not to care. We had so much fun that I’m pondering doing simple Christmas crafts next weekend. We already have apples and glass bowls!
In other 168 Hours news:
- I have a column in USA Today this morning called “When’s the right time for Christmas carols?” Singing Christmas carols during Advent is controversial. If you didn’t know that, read on to find out why!
- Thanks to Tim Brownson for choosing 168 Hours as one of his Ten Best Self-Development Books of 2010. We’re in good company on that list!
- Star Lee magazine reviews 168 Hours positively in the current issue. As they write, this book “caught our attention and kept it.” (This magazine is aimed at women entrepreneurs; for more about it, read here).