The season for memories.
There's one Christmas ornament I'm anxious to find each year. Made by my daughter in the first grade (she's 22 now), it's a slightly misshapen six-pointed star constructed of popsicle sticks, decorated with blue and red sequins, and studded, inexplicably, with plastic shark's teeth. This childhood relic has survived every insult: our long-gone cat's repeated attacks; the year the top-heavy tree crashed to the floor in the middle of the night; our cross-country move three years ago.
This beautifully bedraggled holiday treasure has come to sum up for me our family life and traditions. I love its goofy and utterly personal character--and the memories it helps me hold of Christmases past, younger children, houses and neighbors left behind but beloved.
As we put this holiday issue of Sunset to bed, we are surrounded by mementos of our building in Menlo Park, California, which we are about to vacate for new headquarters in Oakland. Some of the things we're unearthing from closets and storerooms are as wondrously weird as my shark's-teeth star. Creative director Maili Holiman has mounted rotating displays of odd finds from the growing giveaway pile (why on Earth do we have a Mr. T coloring book?). Food editor Margo True found a basket of tiny "first eggs" from our (mostly departed) chickens. Senior food editor Elaine Johnson came across not only an uncirculated first edition of our 1938 camp cookbook (complete with a cover made of redwood), but ephemera from the post-earthquake 1906 Stanford-Cal rugby game as well. Also among the discoveries are 100 crab crackers, a building-tour script for the Sunset "hostesses" of yore, a giant cookie cutter featuring our logo... you get the picture.
I will carry so many memories with me when we leave the building. We've accomplished a lot inside these walls, and I'm grateful that I've been able to play a small role in the magazine's great 117-year history. It's fitting that our move coincides with another of mine: This issue is my last as editor (Irene Edwards takes the reins for the January issue). Sunset brought me back to the West that I love, and now I'll have time to get out there and enjoy it.
PEGGY NORTHROP, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | email@example.com