Picture of Sheri Burns

There is finally a cool crispness in the air (although, summer in Dallas was quite mild this year — or maybe I just wasn’t in town that much); it’s getting dark earlier and earlier (I so hate that); my goddaughter, Katherine, is contemplating the perfect Halloween outfit (she’s 11); and by the time you read this, Road Warrior voting will be completed (but you won’t find out who the winner is until January 15). All of this can mean only one thing: It’s time to give you our annual holiday gift guide.And what a gift guide it is! Despite the fact that, as we produce it, it’s not even the end of October, we’ve managed to do pretty much all your holiday shopping and planning for you. Read this and you should be able to complete your Christmas prep in record time.

After going through the planning for this year’s guide, I feel like I’ve already run the holiday gauntlet. And I wasn’t even doing the heavy lifting. That was done by associate editor Anna Fialho and design director J.R. Arebalo; their heads have been filled with fun toys, sparkly jewelry, super TVs and other electronics, great clothes, unique party housewares, fancy foods, and a few sugarplums and dancing elves thrown in for good measure.

And for this issue’s UpFront, Anna has put together an excellent collection of stories full of information that will help you survive the holidays.

So please take some time to peruse what we’ve put together, and then drop J.R. and Anna a line (at editor@americanwaymag.com) and let them know how all their work helped (or didn’t help — although I can’t see how that’s possible) you this year. For the ultimate thank-you, you may even want to include them on your holiday shopping list!

We also have a gift of sorts for you at the back of the magazine. According to many of the people I meet, the first page they turn to in the magazine is the one with Jim Shahin’s column. (To that I say, “What about me?”) For this issue, Jim had a bit of help, which will also work in your favor.

You may recall that he asked all of you to help him and his family decide where they should take their next trip. He received hundreds of suggestions, and on page 172, he shares some of his favorites. So even if you don’t turn to Jim’s page first, check it out — you might discover there’s a place to visit that you hadn’t thought of.

And for those of you who just aren’t ready to start thinking about the holidays and who would prefer, like I do, to think you have more time than you actually do, you can while away the hours by reading some of the other great stories in this issue.

We take you from the bustling South American city of Santiago to the cold upper reaches of Oregon’s White River Glacier, with a stop to play golf with Alice Cooper along the way. And then there’s the lovely Kelly Ripa, who gives you a tour of Montreal, as well as a lot more.

So let me stop here and wish you all a very special and wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for all of you who contribute to the magazine and all of you who read the magazine. You guys help make this a pretty good way to earn a living.

Signature of Sheri Burns

Sherri Gulczynski Burns