Wednesday, November 25 2020 9:17

Publisher’s Letter

Written by Edwin Malet

December 2020

December at County Lines. It’s been a long year. Snow clouds are moving in. We can’t wait! The fire is in the hearth. Other lights outline the streets and houses. The tree is decorated. Bells are ringing, carolers singing, holiday tunes are in the air. Santa’s gets ready to make his rounds.

I start my gift list by shopping local—this year it’s more important that ever. In “Making a List, Checking it Twice … in West Chester,” I visit shops in the Borough and find clothing, art, flowers, jewelry—all that my family and friends want this year. Well, almost all.

What’s not on my list may be on Madison Meinel’s. She’s got ideas for gifts that “keep on giving.” Subscription boxes, wines for every month, offering help, your own recipe book, a family portrait gallery. Read “Gifting Comfort” and get some unique ideas.

Winter calls for reading a good book, perhaps by the fire or curled up watching the snow. In “All I Want for Christmas Is … A Good Book,” Cathy Fiebach has several to recommend: for cooking, for the kids, for local interest, for laughs … These picks should get us through the winter.

In “Close to Home for the Holidays,” Alyssa Menko and Olivia Smith tell us about celebrating in Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Media, Coatesville, Wilmington and the other towns in County Lines country. Last year, we may have gone to Cancun. This year, the fun is just around the corner.

Our special focus is on the “Celebrate Holiday Magic” show at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Among the exhibits, The Brandywine Railroad, Ann Wyeth McCoy’s dollhouse and the Critter ornaments. The kids will appreciate them. So will you.

Stayed up late? Planning a large early dinner? Probably you’re thinking two meals instead of three. Alyssa Thayer has got you covered with her Brandywine Table column, “Much Ado About Brunch.” Mmmm good.

Jessica Roberts recommends you not forget wine (and other libations), whether you put it under the tree, pour it during the party, or save it for yourself after the celebration is over. In “The Gift You Deserve This Year!” she’s got several suggestions for your sipping pleasure.

Karen Simmons of the Chester County Community Foundation wants to make sure that you remember, not only that you give, but also how you give. In “This Holiday Season—How Will You Give Back?” she advises how to do it wisely.

Remember, you can subscribe at Or read it all for free at We hope you enjoy our December issue. And stay safe!

Ed Malet, Publisher


Gifting Comfort

It’s important—more important than ever—to spread holiday cheer this year. With friends and relatives at a distance, we need to be creative, especially if we support local businesses. We offer several ideas. For instance, you can gift a make-your-own “subscription box,” filling it with items from local stores, such as fashions, plants, wines or restaurant gift cards to be delivered throughout the year. You can fashion your gift as a gift card or coupon book. And technology makes some of the joy of holidays easy to implement. For instance, even though we can’t be “together,” we can share online a playlist, movies, computer games. With Zoom or Skype, we can even close the distance and share a toast!


This Holiday Season—How Will You Give Back

Every year, generosity to nonprofits peaks during the holiday season, and their need is larger this year because of COVID-related issues. How can you find nonprofits doing cost-effective and impactful work? First, do your research to make certain the nonprofits are registered as a public charity or religious organization. Also, determine what portion of your gift will go to services, rather than administrative or fundraising expenses. Second, determine where the charities perform their services, if you’re looking for local impact. Third, your timing may be important. The end of the year is a critical date under the CARES Act.


All I Want for Christmas is … A Good Book

Everyone may feel a little lonely this holiday. We wish we could be together. Luckily, there really is a book for everyone on your list. We may not be able to cook together but we can share some recipes. We may not be able to go out to a comedy club, but we can share a laugh. We may be sidelined from exploring, but we can still see Philadelphia, the Main Line and elsewhere through the pages of a book. Our children may yearn to see distant cousins, but they can make new friends within the covers of a book. Check out the recommendations in this article. And support a local bookstore, too.


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