12 Editor Picks for the Winter Season
Ho, Ho, Hotels
Take a cue from Kevin McCallister this holiday season: Hole up in a big bed with junk food and a movie. At the Graduate Evanston, a novelty suite re-creates the iconic Home Alone bedroom in all its 1990 glory, right near the Chicago-area town where the movie takes place. Stays include a cheese pizza in a Little Nero's box, a minibar stocked with Kevin's favorite snacks and Home Alone movies on demand. Other festive escapes:
Mr. and Mrs. Kringle suites at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown and Hotel Indigo Cleveland Downtown, respectively, are both decked with Christmas trees and holiday decor, a letter from Mr. or Mrs. Kringle, and cookies and milk. A visit from Mr. or
Mrs. Kringle can also be arranged. And at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan,
a Buddy the Elf suite looks like it was decorated by, well, Buddy himself. Adults can also re-create his signature mail-room cocktail from Elf.
The Midwest can now claim the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge. Located at Boyne Mountain Resort, SkyBridge Michigan is a 1,200-foot-long pedestrian bridge that spans two peaks, hangs
118 feet above the valley floor and serves up breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Boyne valley.
Related: Test Your Nerve on the World's Longest Timber-Towered Suspension Bridge
Where are the wild things? At the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio—until March 5,
anyway. Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak will be the first major retrospective of the author and illustrator since his death in 2012, and the largest and most complete exhibition of his work, comprising more than 150 sketches, storyboards and paintings. An international tour is planned after its stint in Columbus. We bet you'll eat it up.
Related: Top Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio
Give Back: Bear Hugs
Amy Berman was raising her two kids in Minneapolis when she read about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. She wanted to help the children affected. "I thought of the bears that my mother had knitted from a World War II-era pattern for my kids, and how much they loved them," she says. Fast-forward 20 years: Berman's nonprofit, Mother Bear Project, has now sent 189,000 bears to sub-Saharan Africa. Crafters can order a $5 pattern for either a knitted or crocheted bear, create and personalize the bear, then return it to Berman to mail abroad. Each bear sports a felt heart and a tag that reads "With love, Mother Bear" and the signature of the maker. (Noncrafters can help by donating toward shipping and other fees.) "I feel like these bears let a child know that someone cares," Berman says, "and that's all I wanted to do. The whole point of this project is to send unconditional love and comfort."
As part of our Good Neighbors program, highlighting unique Midwest nonprofits and individuals making our communities stronger, Midwest Living has donated $500 to Mother Bear Project.
I'm smitten with these new Book of One Hundred pocket journals from 1canoe2, an illustration company based in Fulton, Missouri. Choose one of four themes—Joys, Books, Adventures or Drawings. Each has 100 petite pages with helpful prompts for
a meditative dose of grateful reflection or doodling. $15.—Mary-Beth Rouse, Creative Director
The Way to Snow
Need a nudge to try out snowshoeing? It burns up to 45 percent more calories than walking or running! Many small Midwest businesses craft shoes both traditional (wood) and modern (aluminum)—like Redfeather Outdoors. Their snowshoes are made in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by ORC Industries, a nonprofit that provides jobs for people with physical or mental disabilities.
Hearth and Soul
I met Molly Yeh—adopted Minnesotan, Food Network star and now restaurateur with the fall opening of Bernie's in East Grand Forks—a few years ago at her home during a memorable blizzard. Her career has soared since, and I count myself among the hordes who Could. Not. Wait. for her second full-length book, Home is Where the Eggs Are: Farmhouse Food for the People You Love. Warm, candid writing explores the intersection of motherhood and cooking, and doable recipes reflect Yeh's Jewish-Chinese roots, her husband's Scandinavian heritage
and her undying love of hotdish (William Morrow, $33).—Hannah Agran, Executive Editor
Tomatoey Parmesan Beans
Tomatoey Parmesan Beans with garlic toast is a simple fix from Molly Yeh's book, Home is Where the Eggs Are. Our testers all raved.
Twist and Shout
We'll make this short, sweet and salty: Kringles Gourmet Snacks rock. Their many savory pretzel flavors, such as Mild Ghost Ranch, are brined for at least 24 hours; others, like Cinnamon Sugar, come glazed in crisp caramel. All hail from Mitchell, South
Dakota. From $8 for 8 ounces.
Neat as a Pin
Pie season is upon us—roll with it, stylishly. Ryan Barnes of ORBT Woodworks reclaims exotic woods from a guitar manufacturing supplier in St. Louis to craft his 18-inch taper-style pins. (Pros favor this shape for even rolling and easy cleaning.) Each pin has a unique color and grain and ships in a cool handmade linen bag for storage or gifting.
Related: Favorite Holiday Pie Recipes
Home + Garden
Who hasn't snapped a twig or two off the Christmas tree while shimmying it through a doorway? Put those sprigs to use on a mantel, sideboard or shelf as birch "trees." Using a bit that matches the stem's diameter, drill holes 1/2 inch or so into birch discs (available at crafts stores). Insert clippings. If needed, apply a dab of glue around stems to secure. Then arrange the trees on a tray or pedestal and add candles. Turn extra pine sprigs into boho tassels by inserting them (with lower needles removed) about ½ inch into frayed rope ends, wrapping embroidery thread tightly around the end to keep them in place. For a mottled effect, float (not submerge) a loose ball of cotton rope in fabric dye for 24 hours.
I'm vibing vintage this holiday season, with these glass candlesticks from Mosser
Glass, a heritage company in Ohio. (Mosser Jadeite Glass Candlesticks, available in three colors. From $75 for two.)—Joanna Lindberg, Contributing Home Editor
Feed to Follow
Interior designer Anne McDonald takes the Victorian and Craftsman architectural styles common in the Twin Cities and blends in (colorful! patterned! funky!) surprises to express personality. Her work—and her Instagram grid—could only be hers, and only be here.