We’re set to embark on another holiday season, and let me just say, they come faster and faster every year. I love the holidays though… I actually put my holiday decorations up earlier than I ever have before. It really wasn’t because I was more in the mood this year or because I made a trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas store. In general, I think my family would tell you that I’m not really a domestic goddess. But, interestingly enough when the holidays roll in, I love to entertain. I’m certainly not Martha Stewart. I can admit my shortcomings and frankly, food preparation is definitely one of them. However, I do love to bake and when it comes to hosting my family… I seriously don’t mind reading recipes and creating- what I hope to be- great food to go along with great family memories. I also like tradition. For my family, there are many special events that we do every year; of course, that is only after we settle on where we will spend each holiday and how we divide up the festive days among all our family members. I would imagine many families have to do the same thing. My kick-off to the holidays is when my mom, sister-in-laws and I trek out the day after Thanksgiving to begin holiday shopping. We actually just stayed up this Thanksgiving because the shopping was as close to Thanksgiving Day as possible. We were out at midnight, and even though there are many of you who think I’m crazy (Pete Ruffing, I’m looking at you) I still love it. We have breakfast or a late-night snack, fight the crowds, hum Christmas carols and find bargains. It’s a great day to be with the gals and truthfully, I try to get as much shopping done that day so I don’t have to go back out again. But, even if I didn’t pick up a thing… I would still go every year. We also spend a day together baking cookies and making candy and fudge. It’s generally an eight-hour-power candy-making day. I’m not sure we could ever actually make enough buckeyes to get us through the holiday season- but we try. It takes several days for the cramps in our hands to recover. Who can resist that chocolaty-peanut-butter goodness? I think one of the most important traditions we have is volunteering to help those in need at this special time of year. There are so many worthwhile causes and charities that could really use the help that it becomes sincerely difficult to choose. This year we are helping out foster children in Ingham County through Junior League of Lansing and the Caring for Kids program. Unfortunately, the state provides very little extra money to families fostering these children. It’s great that there is a non-profit organization aimed at giving the special extras to so many kids. Although I feel like I’m performing gymnastics in order to get everything done this holiday season, Jordyn Wieber is actually working hard on the balance beam to stay competitive. This 16-year-old is giving up some of her holiday vacation to keep up her rigorous schedule. She isn’t complaining. She knows that each moment gets her one step closer to fulfilling her dream of Olympic gold. I can’t imagine how much she must train to stay in tip-top shape. I hope that her dreams come true. And that mid-Michigan gets to watch her compete in the Olympics. This holiday season, we are fortunate to have the Rock of Ages musical playing locally, and I’m so excited that we are co-hosting a women’s evening prior to the play on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Wharton Center. We are also giving away tickets — so don’t forget to get your name in the mix. Many of you know that I’m a fan of the ‘80s — okay, a super fan. The Rock of Ages musical is one of my absolute favorite productions and it will definitely be a gift to yourself this season. Don’t miss it. It’s also a great way to get geared up for the CAWLM ‘80s Flashback Fundraiser coming in March. Also, as of Thursday, Dec. 1, you can register for the first-ever Horizon Conference aimed at helping women in their career goals. There will be something for everyone! Check out the website at www.horizonmichigan.com and register for a great day on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Kellogg Center. Whatever special tradition you may have, I hope that you fill your days this holiday with faith, family, friends and food. And, if you’re feeling like you have a little extra love to give, don’t forget about those around you who might need it. Enjoy the season of hugs! Happy holidays, Tiffany Dowling
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.