Monday

The November Issue: Best of Holiday Magazines

In November and December the glut of holiday decor mags usually strains store shelves to the bowing point, and careless shopping cart drivers may find themselves buried in the check-out aisle. But this season there will be far more trees in living rooms than in the Christmas paper mill, thanks to the recession. My top holiday magazines list is therefore a bit shorter - but the quality, thank St. Nick, is still there. Here are the best books to buy for yourself or give as gift subscriptions to someone really lucky.

Canadian House & Home
America's new favorite magazine, CH&H does decor right, with nary an "eh" in sight. Former Domino readers will love the clean modern and eclectic looks, with lots of little tips and the much missed "margin scribble" - all those brilliant little side comments on various room elements that Domino excelled at. It's neither traditional nor celebrity obsessed (calling Architectural Digest - hello?). If you're working on your third vacation home or decorating your first rental, CH&H will inspire you. One year Canadian subscription $26.95. One year U.S. subscription $56.95.

Veranda
I shied away from Veranda for years - a little too formal, a little older (like Brooks Brothers for homes - I figured, it'll feel right for me in a few decades). But Veranda seems to be inviting her younger, hipper sister over for coffee more often, as casual styles and current trends are popping up. A Mary McDonald living room like this one will give you plenty of fresh ideas. One year subscription $15. Bonus: subscribe online and get a year of Elle Decor for only $5.

Victoria
Victoria is one of my most beloved magazines, and I've been reading it since childhood, in spite of its terribly misleading name. It is neither an encyclopedia of Victoriana, nor devoted to any historical era (any more than Veranda is only about porches). Victoria might better be called Bliss - timeless, exquisitely detailed stories about decorating, traveling, entertaining, and women entrepreneurs have the collectively soothing effect of a hot cup of tea. Beautiful photographs make each issue memorable, and classic copies are still coming up for bid on ebay. One year subscription $19.98.

House Beautiful
I'll be the first to admit that I used to really dislike House Beautiful. One part pretension, two parts design encyclopedia, reading it gave me the same feeling as attending a cocktail party where I didn't know the people or the gossip (oh, you haven't heard of this designer? Pity you). But I am LOVING their 2009 makeover with a fresh look and even fresher design choices. For October and November they had me at hello - bright, vibrant rooms, eclectic mixes, streamlined styles, and an abundance of chinoiserie. One year subscription $10.
All images, from magazines as listed.

12 comments:

little augury said...

Veranda- a love hate relationship for sure. They do seem to style rooms that have the furniture store look. HB has improved-but I still long for the days of House and Garden-never another like it. GT

Southern Aspirations said...

great list. Just can't get over the price tag of Canadian Homes one (I know, I know...) and I'm with you on Vernanda. It's the one at the airport that I'll pick up to browse and then set it back down. Should give it another look.

Southern Aspirations said...

PS- I just subscribed to Veranda thanks to your link and the Town and Country showed up rather than Elle Decor. Just refreshed the page and Elle Decor was back. Plus, after hitting that, got the offer for House Beautiful for another $5 more.

Anyone know anything about Town and Country??

ticklishfromadistance said...

All so pretty.

Claire Watkins, ASID allied said...

SO true-magazines are a great present that reappears as a nice surprise in the mailbox for 12 longs months. Given the economy's hit to print, its especially apropos. I actually meant to put them on today's list, glad you did! Agree on HB recent revamp, though I still always get a kick out of their 'Last Words' feature, a hold over from their stodgy past. Not sure I am quite ready to warm up to Veranda, though they do always have amazing renderings and who am I kidding, I'll read anything. Must check out Victoria more. I think Country Living has improved massively, I always love Living, Etc. and have been recently taken with Garden & Gun.

Go Magazines!

Sanity Fair said...

Claire - more great suggestions!!! I love Garden and Gun, and Country Living really HAS pulled it out.

Sanity Fair said...

Southern Aspirations - thanks for the subscription update! Town and Country is a really nice magazine too - but it's lifestyle, not just decor (travel, fashion, society). Very upscale, and the photography is usually stunning.

Things That Inspire said...

Love your take on the magazines! I recently subscribed to the digital only version of Canadian House and Home - which is much less than having it delivered to the US. I look forward to my first issue, and I also look forward to seeing how I react to an online magazine!

Averill said...

I need to give Veranda a second chance...after all, with the rapid disappearance of all my magazines, I'm in need of some additional reading!

(Oh and don't forget you can get a digital subscription to CH&H on the cheap -- it's searchable, saveable, and generally pretty easy to "flip" through!)

Sanity Fair said...

Things that Inspire and Averill - thanks for the reminder on digital copies!!! I had completely forgotten about that. Not quite the same, but a worthwhile difference at that price.

Lisa Murphy said...

Wow! Thank you so much for including you in your round up! Please feel free to hyperlink to our website, where people can subscribe to our paper or digital versions at http://www.houseandhome.com/magazine/latest (digital subscription is only $25 for US and International residents. Thank you so much!

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