‘Tis My Season: From Publisher Heather Baker
My favorite saint is Nicholas. Deer season for me means red noses, not bullseyes. I could go on, but suffice it to say I’ve never met a Christmas I didn’t like; my tree is put up and my halls decked well before Thanksgiving every year. (And if it didn’t catch me too much flack, I’d be more than happy to have all my Christmastime garb up before Halloween.) Because of this holiday infatuation of mine, our December issue here at AY About You is always a special one, and this year is no exception.
For starters, we’ve brought back our annual holiday gift guide which we will be celebrating and give-awaying in the days leading up to the big one throughout the month. Check-in on our social media pages and aymag.com/contests each day this month for your chance to win in our 25 Days of Christmas giveaway contest.
Of course, the festivities don’t stop there. Our friends at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission helped us bring you some ideas for outside-the-box stocking stuffers that are, well, literally outside. And we know that this pandemic-plagued season will make the holidays look very different for most, so we came up with a way to help you and your loved ones plan around the virus — staff writer Caroline O’Connor has a guide to enjoying holiday lights in the state, most of which are drive-thru experiences. Oh, and did I mention that our bucket list this month is holiday food?
But the holidays can also be a very difficult time for some of us, especially amid one of the most difficult mental health years in modern history. This makes our annual mental health section and inaugural Allies of Mental Health listing that much more important, and I am very proud of the work our team has accomplished in that regard. Our editor, Dustin Jayroe, has an incredible piece about Glen Johnson, the former substance abuser who has turned his life around to helm the largest Tropical Smoothie franchise in the country. Contributors Heather Allmendinger and Madeline Burke bring you the latest on anxiety and our frontline heroes. And the venerable Dwain Hebda shines a light on the difficulties that nonprofits are facing right now and how you can help “make seasons bright” for those less fortunate this year.
Take care of yourselves; take care of the ones you love. 2020 has been as challenging a year as I can recall, but together we can make it through this present darkness and be a ray of light for others — through the end of this year, the next and all those to come.
We hope you enjoy this issue of AY. Drop us a line and tell us about the ways that you love to help others this time of year. Or just send us some positive feedback from what you read in the succeeding pages. I’d love to hear from you.