Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Coverage: Mags that Do, Don't and Did

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle gorgeous December issue celebrating holiday decor only made this year's slim coverage from some of the major national shelter magazines even more noticeable. It had me wondering, when did I last see an issue from House Beautiful, Veranda or Elle Decor that spotlighted decor for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve, instead of just giving an obligatory nod? I know budgets are tight but that didn't stop magazines such as Traditional Home, Country Living, Coastal Living or Canada's Style at Home and House & Home from giving readers Holiday eye candy and inspiration.

House Beautiful's December 2008 issue seems to be most recent one that gives obvious cover page acknowledgment to the Season. My first look at these bells had me thinking about ringing in the New Year, then Christmas decor. (I know I'm equating the cover image* with coverage of the holidays but from my subjective point of view it seems to correlate. Plus I couldn't fact check w/some of mags still buried in the attic during our reno. Although later on in this post I realize there may be some exceptions.)
The 2005 cover was all about Christmas while the 1997 issue played on wintery imagery and gave more balanced cover attention to the holidays of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas.

House Beautiful 2003
House Beautiful 1999

Here's Veranda December 2011 issue. The only cover reference to the holidays is a Gift Guide. Coverage inside was limited as well.
Veranda's Nov/Dec 2008 cover barely hints at holiday celebrations but then delivers huge with a number of features, including Mary McDonald's stunning home dressed in greenery and peacock feathers.


Verandas Nov/Dec 2005 seems to be the most recent issue that promotes seasonal coverage on the cover with a full-out blue and white Christmas tree.
In all fairness, it seems that Elle Decor has had a more consistent, low-key approach to the holidays throughout most of its publication.
Elle Decor December 2008
The 1998 cover is my favorite. There's not a decoration in site but it still conjurs up relaxing time at home - the lull before the New Year starts.
Southern Accent's last Holiday issue was Nov/Dec 2008, as the magazine closed with the Sep/Oct 2009 issue. You could always count on Southern Accents to go all out with inspiring homes at this time of year.
These beautiful rooms by Houston designer Pamela Pierce, that appeared in the December 2003 issue, give a sense of the type of holiday coverage we're missing. (Pics are from the blog Antiqueholics - scroll down in her archive to see more images from this beautiful home.)
And who could forget this brilliant cover of Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer gracing the cover of the last issue of House & Garden December 2007?

When it comes to Holiday issues my all time favorite is Canadian House and Home. I have all the issues from 2001 (one is currently missing somewhere...) and they're my go-to source every November. In the November 2007 issue, then editor Cobi Ladner shared what might be the secret behind their amazing coverage: "...a number of years ago we decided we had to bite the bullet and start shooting Christmas stories a full year in advance...In the end, it doesn't really matter when the pictures were taken. Looking at this thick new isssue filled with ideas and homes decked for the holidays proves to me once again how many wonderful ways there are to celebrate the season."
And, if I can borrow some more words from my all-time favorite editor Cobi Ladner, "Although we do all celebrate in different ways at this time of year, what a wonderful communal message we share: Good will to all. It's pretty hard to go wrong with that."

23 comments:

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Thank you for joining me in bringing this up! I can't believe it, and your post here showing proof is astounding!
And the real nerve, they have subscription cards with Christmas all over them stuck in the magazine. Maybe I am a little overboard, but what has happened here?
Guess I will have to continue ordering foreign versions and showing old images, but Christmas is here to stay on my blog.
Atlanta Homes and Gardens was fabulous. I have been getting their magazine for a while and have their iPad app too which is only a dollar per month. Love them!
Teresa
xoxo

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Oops! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.
Teresa
xoxo

Chic Coles said...

Such a good point. We have to head over to House and Home to check out the holiday issue.

classic • casual • home said...

Such a comprehensive post. I am definitely treating myself to Canadian House and Home...and Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles this year. I miss Southern Accents--especially at the holidays.

I love it that you can't part with all your back copies...I just have tearsheets sort of filed by room but now it seems you can find everything on the internet.

Elizabeth@themustardceiling said...

Interesting topic today, I was sadly disappointed when looking through House Beautiful looking for Christmas inspiration this year.

House and Home has scored the top spot as my all time favorite design magazine, I look forward to it every month.

Kerry @ Design du Monde said...

Great post. You have me inspired to dig through my "stacks" and revisit some old favorites.

Windlost said...

I think the lack of Christmas coverage from the big magazines is rather disappointing and I was thinking the same thing myself the other day. I am actually impressed with the Canadian magazines - we are normally so politically correct in Canada (i.e. ashamed of our Christian heritage) and afraid of offending anyone. Don't get me started...

Jenny Castle Design said...

Very interesting and so true -- Southern Accents had the most beautiful holiday decor...miss it all the time!

Antiqueaholics said...

I did the same thing you did - I went back to look at last year's House Beautiful to realize that they did not have holiday decorating last year either. I am assuming that this is an effort for political correctness as why would they stop at these past two years and have covered it in the past. I am very disappointed in House Beautiful as I believe most subscribers enjoy seeing new ideas for decorating their home for the holidays. It should be more important to satisfy their subscribers than to be politically correct.

Carla Aston said...

Interesting. I do love that Southern Accents Christmas tree. They had some of my favorite Christmas trees featured every year.

Capella Kincheloe Interior Design said...

I had just realized this the other day while doing holiday decorating research. I suppose I don't really mind the national shelter magazines skipping out on this, I did a shoot for AD for the December issue a few years ago and lighting a fireplace in LA in the middle of summer doesn't make you feel festive.

Jessie said...

kingrYou hsve me pining for a blue & white Christmas. Maybe next year...

My Little Bungalow said...

I agree with Windlost ... I have noticed this trend of not showing Christmas-themed decorating on covers for a while now. I think magazines are trying to be politically correct, referencing only "holiday gift lists" and not featuring anything "Christmasy." I think it's sad.

Linda Merrill said...

When we interviewed Stephen Drucker while he was still EIC of House Beautiful on the Skirted Roundtable - he said they had made the decision to move away from Christmas focused December issue. The way he put it, no one does holidays like Martha Stewart, so why not leave it to her and we'll focus on what we do best. Or, words to that effect. But I too miss the coverage in the magazines. I wonder if some of it is political correctness too. I was in a Four Seasons in Boston last night and the Christmas/Holiday decor was abysmal. Nothing like the old days of grand hotels really going to town. It was disappointing.

Reggie Darling said...

An interesting post, indeed. Cjhristmas has been waylaid by "holiday." I'm one of the old curmudgeons that still wishes poople Merry Christmas in the days leading up to it. Earlier this year, someone whished me "Happy Hoiday" at Thanksgiving, and I told her that the thought police had not yet decided that one could no longer wish someone a festive Thanksgiving, and that it was still perfectly acceptable for her to refer to the holiday by its name. Feh!

Party Resources said...

Canadian House and Home is my favorite too! Happy weekend! xx

pontysporch said...

I miss Southern Accents too and so wish I had saved them all. I did save Colonial Homes for many years and I pull them out for beautiful inspiration. I also have a few Christmas issues of the old Victoria. Thanks for this post. I totally agree.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all from Pontifical.s Porch!!

Emma said...

Thankfully I am a hoarder and could pull out old issues of Southern Accents and House Beautiful for some inspiration this year. The November-December 2006 issue of Southern Accents had an article entitled O Christmas Tree-it has inspired my tree in past years-especially Greg Mewbourne's clear glass balls (I bought all that Target had that year!). This year I used Clare Potter's tree on the cover of House Beautiful 2005 to inspire-but that whole article is one of my all time favorites. I even ordered the clear glass Christmas trees she used on her dining room table and have them on mine every year! Thanks for the great post-but now I know I can't ever get rid of these old issues!

Renée Finberg said...

verandas 2008 issue blew me away.
i loved it.

i am guilty of never being able to part with mags.
and when i do....as the it drops from my hand and falls into the trash....
i always wonder if there is something in it that i might need later.
so i pick it up again, flip through and then toss it.
*only when i am completely satisfied that i don't need it anymore....
{because i have already torn out and scanned the great ideas}

merry merry xxx

L.P. said...

Nice to see the subtler, more elegant side to Christmas decorating. Love the all blue tree.
Leslie

5th and State said...

i love that you did this research michele.

every year we decorate a home for our towns christmas event (we still call it that) in high anticipation i could not wait for the christmas issues to arrive. i needed fresh ideas......nothing! well except for martha stewart and my foreign magazines. it made me really sad and i wondered to myself "when did this start?!" and i felt cheated, shame on the american magazines
debra

A.J.Barnes said...

What a great post...

Seema said...

So glad to hear how much you enjoy the holiday issues!

Seema Persaud
H&H Web Promotions Editor

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