Growing up, I was lucky enough to have two Christmases. We would open presents on December 25, but then on January 7 or 9 we would celebrate Ukrainian Christmas with our extended family. Most Ukrainians observe the holiday, usually on January 7 following the Julian calendar. Needless to say, as a kid this was awesome. It meant more presents, and we did our shopping for Ukrainian Christmas on Boxing Day to hit up sales. Looking back I guess it helped quash “the Christmas Syndrome”: when you are looking forward to the holiday so much that actual event seems short and dull in comparison. With the passing of various family members and moving away from Toronto early in my youth, I don’t celebrate Ukrainian Christmas as often anymore. But with helping to plan the All-Local Gift Guide it still feels like I get to celebrate two Christmases: one in November once this issue goes to print and then again on December 25.

Like Santa’s elves, we’ve been busy putting together gift ideas from local businesses for socialites, foodies, pet lovers, and everyone in between for our annual All-Local Gift Guide. Plus, we compiled a list of books from local authors as well as albums from local musicians, and if you’re not in the “spirit” yet, sommelier Jeannie Dubois provides some suggestions as well.

As part of our holiday theme, Kyle Poluyko gets a sneak peek of the Minnesota Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker featuring the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Deanne Gagnon takes a trip to Sandpiper Christmas Tree Farm, and Chef Rachel Globensky serves up a delicious tourtière recipe. So don’t fall victim to Christmas Syndrome. Hopefully, you don’t experience the warmth and joy of the holidays just on the 25th, but all month long.

As always, we owe our success to the support of our past and present advertisers and our team of dedicated and talented contributors. And a special thanks to our readers, who support the individuals, organizations, and businesses featured in the magazine.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

-Adrian Lysenko