Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Real Simple

My non-Maggie grandmother fell and broke her hip. She's come through the surgery with flying colors. Now, we wait. She's going to be in the hospital and rehab for a while. So I went and got her some sweets, some crossword puzzle books, and some magazines. (Aren't magazines the perfect thing for recuperation. Just short little tidbits for your truncated attention span?) While I wait for myself to bake her some cookies (tomorrow I promise), I was drawn to the Real Simple I had just bought her. Is it really the Best Holiday Issue Ever!? Just what were those 50 brilliant gifts under $50? What are the secrets of a graceful hostess?

Here's my important takeaway. 7 Planning Pointers
By November 30. Order your cards. (Tells you to do it online. Gives you places to get them) I think this is an outstanding deadline for my card making. Remind me.
By December 2: Do an inventory of holiday necessities; extra chairs, linens, dishes, flatware, glasses, servers. Fortunately, it's only my parents and sister this year. My cousin will be up in Maine with her side of the family. I don't have to worry about serving accouterments but rather what we'll serve on Boxing Day since the traditional bigos takes three days and is enough for an army.
Tuesday December 4 or Wednesday December 5: Take a couple of hours to tackle in-store shopping for any of the above and for presents that you'll need to mail. Stores are least crowded on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They are also fairly quiet on Tuesday evenings for the weekday warriors. Put me down for this one too.
By December 5: Pick out or shop for holiday party outfits for you and the family. (Additional irrelevant tip about dressing children.) Since we usually get invited to one party (it's a great one), I usually wear something I already have. I might get a nice glitzy sweater that I can wear with a skirt for the party and with jeans for Christmas eve. We do Christmas day in our pajamas. In our family the men can where what the hell ever they want. And the dude and Jersey should bow down in thanks to my father for that one. 
Friday, December 7: Finish your Hanukkah shopping (the first night is December 8), and jot down which gifts to give which nights so you can relax and enjoy the week. Although Pete threatened, we're not celebrating Hanukkah this year. ;)
By December 12: Mail Christmas gifts to ensure that they'll arrive on time. Good to know. REMIND ME!
By December 20: Hand out tips. (Gives tipping information.) I don't really have a problem remembering this...

The other interesting bit was "5 Ways to Jump-Start a Conversation." This will come in very handy for us when we're at that one super-awesome party we go to:

  1. Ask what the person did today. Rather than asking what they do. Some of us just aren't that good at talking about it.
  2. Ask to join the conversation: "can I buy a ticket to this conversation?" was given as an example. It'll save you standing around talking to your spouse and occasionally being rescued by the hostess.
  3. Tell them about your children or hobbies. Frankly, some people should not be given the go ahead to talk about their kids. Hobbies, okay. So long as you don't open up to the judge-y people. Anyway, the person who wrote this believes that opening up to someone gives them permission to open up back. Maybe I don't want that.
  4. Ask where they grew up. This is a good one. It gives you lots of avenues to meander down. Just be sure how you phrase the question. When I was having my colonoscopy, the nurse anesthetist asked me, "Where are you from? Where do you live?" as I was going under. The answers to those questions are so different, he totally confused me and I almost freaked out. I looked to my gastroenterologist for guidance  but suddenly it occurred to me I lived in Havertown, and that's all he wanted. Then I was asleep...mmm...asleep.
  5. Talk about television. The dude was totally put off by this because they mention reality tv. He said, "I hate nothing more than to listen to people talk about reality tv." Anyway, don't let him fool you. He will talk to you about Elementary, The BBC Sherlock Holmes, or well, that's about it. 
I wasn't that impressed by the 50 $50 gifts. I mean really, who can't find gifts in that price range? And I don't know how having fancy-pants folding chairs makes you a graceful hostess (it was almost all about things to buy than it was about being a hostess gracefully). It wasn't the Best Holiday Issue Ever, but I'm sure my grandmother will enjoy looking at it. And now she will know why her Christmas present will arrive promptly on the 15th.


Margaret said...

Interesting tips on how to jump start a conversation. Not too sure about the children one. Being a childless myself I don't always have a lot of interest in the off spring of un-related others. But I can always learn, I suppose.

Nicola said...

Wishing your GM a speedy recovery.

Chris said...

I hope that your Grandmother has an easy recovery.
I am not liking Real Simple magazine right now. I try to but....

Coral said...

Here's hoping non-Maggie gets well soon. Does she have a name ;-p!!

Best conversation starter that leaves you at ease you glaze over "I believe you lived in Rhodesia; how was that for you?" A tip from the Queen of England!

xeyedmary said...

Speedy recovery wishes for your Granny.
I would heed the mailing deadlines- have you noticed how long it takes for the mail these days on a regular day?
Thanks for the conversation starters- I tend to sit like a dust bunny in the corner, as I attend most functions solo, but I must say, I'm an AVID listener, so I can look engaged enough that hosts don't have to rescue me.

Cole said...

Best wishes & hopes for a speedy recovery to your gramma. :)

valerie said...

Hope your grandmother has a speedy recovery! I love Real Simple. I actually almost subscribed because there was this $1 per issue for 6 months deal but then they wanted my credit card for auto renewal and I'm not ready for that much commitment. I'm terrible at actually reading magazines unless I'm on a flight or in a waiting room.

Love that they suggested the "what did you do today" small talk option. I want to scream each time someone asks me what I do for work. Life is so much more than that.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great conversation pointers, I love the "what did you do today?".

The Large Boy always answers "stuff and things" to that one!

Catherine said...

Hope your grandmother is doing well!

Charlene ♥ SC said...

Sorry about your Grandmother's fall. Hope all goes well with the recovery process. This is one of the few magazine ads that distract me and make me wonder if I should subscribe, so I'm glad to see your mini review.
I must ask if you were talking to Siri when you wrote, Remind Me? LoL