De­cem­ber is al­ways

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a spe­cial month for me. I love the hol­i­day cheer, of course. But I love the wet weather more. Noth­ing soothes me more than the drum­ming of rain against my win­dows. I even en­joy a good light­ning pa­rade – al­though th­ese days, I’m more likely to be hud­dling on my sofa with my three fright­ened kids than stand­ing at my win­dow gawk­ing as the light­ning streaks across the sky.

Then, there are the birth­days. De­cem­ber is full of them – two close friends, an aunt, a niece and a brother-in-law. Not to men­tion, my own, and that of my el­dest daugh­ter Claire, whose New Year’s Eve birth­day rounds up the en­tire year per­fectly.

That’s more than enough spe­cial oc­ca­sions to keep any­one busy. Add to them the year-end fes­tiv­i­ties and the prep to do be­fore­hand, and I am one fraz­zled woman. Sure, it’s a busy time, and I’m al­ways more short-tem­pered be­cause of it. And truth be told, some of it – jostling with the crowds, the cab queues – is just nasty.

But I re­mind my­self that the sea­son is all about re­la­tion­ships. And that all the ef­fort I’m putting into find­ing the per­fect gift, buy­ing the best in­gre­di­ents, cook­ing the tasti­est dishes and look­ing my best, will show the peo­ple I’m spend­ing the sea­son with that they’re worth the stress.

This De­cem­ber, the Sim­ply Her team wanted to bring joy back to the sea­son. The stress doesn’t have to turn you into Scrooge. And with our smart tricks and short­cuts, you’ll be sail­ing through the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Turn to page 192 for our hol­i­day prep guide, with the most won­der­ful ideas for get­ting away with not wrap­ping a present, not buy­ing a gift (get a gift card in­stead), and even, not cook­ing (all that much). Then, read how other women bond with their loved ones and the mean­ing­ful gifts they’ve given and re­ceived (pg 72).

Don’t miss our in­ter­view with ac­tress Tan Kheng Hua and her daugh­ter Lim Shi-An (pg 88). I’m in awe at the re­spect and love this mum-daugh­ter pair have for each other – as well as Kheng Hua’s un­ortho­dox par­ent­ing strate­gies (no bed­time for Shi-An!). I’m try­ing out a few on my kids.

Other sto­ries not to miss: On page 182, take our eat­ing plan for nav­i­gat­ing the many gath­er­ings you’ll be go­ing to, so you don’t put on weight; on page 46, glam up with lim­ited-edi­tion makeup pal­ettes (I love the looks!), and for fam­i­lies, on page 222, we have a 31-day cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties you can do with your kids (many are free, too). From the Sim­ply Her team and my­self – happy hol­i­days!


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