Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ready... Set... DECORATE!

The Friday after Thanksgiving and the weekend that follows is the time that our home transforms from generic autumnal decor to Christmas. This year, the tradition continued with a decorating frenzy! Here's a quick glimpse:

Our tree this year is in red, white, silver, and a bit of green here and there. It's a tree that mixes old with the new. Here's one of my favorite vintage ornaments. An original from 1945, it belonged to David's mother who passed it on to me shortly before she passed away. I love this ornament.

I have many, many glass cylinders and bowls, so this year, I decided to put them to work displaying some ornaments and other items. Here, a glass cylinder filled with artificial snow acts as a home for a small snowman. The pine cones that form a wreath along the base are from trees near our property.

Apothecary jars of all shapes and sizes displayed more snowmen and other ornaments all in bases of snow. You'll also notice the 'holiday' M&M's... these are my candy of choice when I need that quick chocolate fix.

A wonderful glass bowl filled with snow is home to more snowmen. This bowl is sitting as a centerpiece on our kitchen eating area table.

The mantel shelf in the kitchen is used to display different pieces of our jadeite collection and other kitchen collectibles. After watching the Martha Stewart holiday DVD, I was inspired to stack fruit on some of my smaller cake stands and surround them with greenery from around the yard. Fresh holly and arborvitae greens flock the cake stands for a more festive touch.

One of the last things I have to do is finish this garland that I started to decorate. It is hung over our jadeite display cabinet. I still need to weave some lights, ribbon, and more ornaments through it. Another snowman found his way to the jadeite cabinet. (Can you tell I have a lot of these snowmen??)
This year it was all about repurposing a lot of the decorations I've had from years ago and making them fit into the color scheme this year. The snowmen that are sprinkled about were all 're-glittered' to fit the room they were going in. All those that are on display in the kitchen are with turquoise blue glittered hats and those in the family room are in red. I've become quite handy with glitter!
More to come!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Cards from Beekman 1802

In today's mail, I was happy to receive my first shipment of the new 2008 holiday cards from Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, available through BEEKMAN 1802.

The limited edition cards are nothing short of exquisite.

Brent and Josh designed two unique BEEKMAN 1802 Holiday Cards for 2008, and made them by hand on a 19th Century letterpress at Foxglove Printers in Sharon Springs. Each card was run in a limited edition and signed & numbered by both of them. You can watch the actual printing process in a wonderful video on their 'How To' blog.

The first card design, entitled "Unwrap. Play." is printed in crimson in on a heavy cotton rag stock. It features an antique plate illustration of various 19th century toys.

The second, entitled "Star." was inspired by a lone pine tree that stands near the Beekman barn. The design, from an antique plate, runs off the edge of the card as if the reader is looking up to find the "star" atop the tree.

The "Star" card design was my favorite. The cards measure 3.5 x 5" and comes with matching envelopes. The cards are available in a set of 10. A combined 'set' does not appear to be available

These cards are beautifully crafted, simple in design, and very elegant. The print is clean and slightly raised on the cotton surface.

Even though I'm making my own cards this year, I had to purchase a set of the cards. When I see something so well designed, it's difficult for me to pass it up.
You can order your BEEKMAN holiday cards and purchase their other delightful merchandise by logging onto their website Remember, the cards are in limited edition so order quickly!
Once you visit BEEKMAN 1802 you'll book mark it as a favorite place on the web.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

With Thanks...

I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Given this day of thanks, I wanted to take a few moments to give my thanks to a few people...

To the readers of this blog: Thank you for making this little space on the web a place you visit on a regular basis. I appreciate your visits, your comments and your emails.
To Will: I'm very glad we've had the opportunity to 'meet.' I always look forward to hearing from you and sharing bits and pieces of life. You're a good man.
To Andrew: I'm thankful for a chance meeting that turned into a friendship. One day we'll have that museum. Perhaps one in Canada and one in the states. :)
To John: My local Martha-phile. It seems we've started a tradition... meeting Martha in the Fall. We have to keep that tradition next year! Thank you for all your kindness, your inspiration, and your friendship. You're a true gem.
To Chris and Dan: You're such special members of my extended family. There is so much to be thankful for this year and much to celebrate. Always know just how much I love you both.
To Brent and Josh: Thank you for so much for all the inspiration and for your kindness. Josh, your writing makes me laugh and think more about life. Brent, I've learned so much from you. I'm looking forward to our visit next spring. I'll be ready to garden for sure!
To Claudine: People come into our lives for a reason and at the right time. Thank you for being part of mine. I can't look at anything gold or glittered without thinking of you!
To Elaine: One of the kindest and most generous people I know. How honored I am to have you as a friend.
To Mike: I'm reminded of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she is about to say farewell to the Scarecrow... they acknowledged their special friendship and I feel a special friendship with you. I cherish you.
To David (my partner): Did you really know what you were getting into all those years ago? Each day is memorable with you in my life. I love you.
To Nancy: While you're no longer physically here to share in the day to day of life, I know that you're with me. I miss you more than words can even express.
To Agnes, Jenna, and everyone at MSLO corporate communications and public relations: Thank you for your confidence that this small blog is a reliable place to relay Martha news.
Last but not least, to Martha Stewart: Without your work, there would be no need for this blog. For all the years of inspiration and education I thank you. You, your company and all the work that has been done over the years has totally changed my way of living. I am forever grateful.
So many people mean so much to me, it's impossible to list them all here. Know that you're in my heart as we celebrate this day of thanks and every day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Credit J.L. Hudson's for Creating "Black Friday"

Note to non-Michigan readers... As a point of reference, J.L. Hudson's was 'the' department store in Michigan for many years. Hudson's was to Michigan (and surrounding states) what Macy's is to New York. Hudson's was sold in the 90's and became "Marshall Field's" until the purchase in 2007 by Macy's. I remember fondly, the trips to Hudson's to see Santa and to have lunch. It was 'the' shopping destination in Detroit and in later years, the 'burbs. Enjoy this bit of hometown trivia regarding Black Friday. This article originally appeared in the Wednesday edition of the Detroit News.
Early bird holiday sale in 1981 snowballed into shopping frenzy
Jaclyn Trop / The Detroit News

Before 4 a.m. openings were routine, the post-Thanksgiving retail orgy known as Black Friday was a day of modest discounts and unhurried browsing.
But few shoppers know that the sense of urgency that now rouses them to the pre-dawn hunt was manufactured here in Detroit, to spur sales during hard times in 1981.

The notion of an early bird sale to kick off the holiday shopping season was born at J.L. Hudson's, when the department store unlocked its doors at 9 a.m. -- half an hour earlier than usual -- and held a one-hour "doorbuster" sale.

"From the moment the store opened, we got this tremendous incremental business, and customers hung out all day," said Fred Marx, now a partner at Farmington Hills marketing firm Marx Layne.

Marx, who joined Hudson's marketing team in 1979, helped spearhead the "Beat the Clock" sale, inspired by a similar concept at Philadelphia department store John Wanamaker & Co. By applying the idea to the day after Thanksgiving, Hudson's created a tradition that has given way to a host of attention-grabbing incentives and ever-deepening discounts.

Although merchandisers thought they could justify the sales in terms of profits, store organizers "weren't really that crazy about it," Marx said. They worried that opening early and taking markdowns at the cash register would disrupt service levels.

"It wasn't this constant promotional drum beating that we know today," Marx said.
Hudson's kept the promotion a well-guarded secret, waiting until Thanksgiving Day to unleash a blitz of television spots and newspaper ads. The full-page ad in The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press on that day, Nov. 26, 1981, featured an alarm clock alerting shoppers to the early opening.

"It didn't get any art award, but you couldn't miss it," Marx said. "It was very clear. Customers got it." The following year, "all patent rights were off," he said. "K-Mart, Crowley's, J.C. Penney's -- everybody had their version of it."

Economists call it the "Super Bowl of Shopping." Between 60 million and 65 million consumers hit the stores over Black Friday weekend looking for deals. It's become an odyssey of mythic proportions, according to Wayne State University economics professor Jeffrey Stoltman.
"It's a huge cultural event," Stoltman said, "like the opening day of hunting season."
Thanksgiving traditions such as parades and visits from Santa are nearly as old as the department stores that began sponsoring them in the 1920s and 1930s, said University of Detroit marketing professor Michael Bernacchi. Sales and discounts probably began appearing the day after Thanksgiving sometime in the 1950s, he said.

With the advent of shopping malls in the 1960s, the concept spread from department stores to independent retailers. By the 1970s, the concept of kicking off promotions the day after Thanksgiving was well-entrenched. But the day had no special name. "The thought was there, but no one had enunciated it," Bernacchi said.

The name Black Friday first appeared in print in 1966 in a newsletter from the American Philatelic Society, a group of stamp collectors, in reference to the holiday traffic in Philadelphia, and reappeared in 1981, when the Philadelphia Inquirer used it in reference to commerce, according to Bernacchi.

"It was a catchy expression, and folks gravitated toward it," he said.
According to modern lore, Black Friday was named for the day retailers earn their annual profits, turning their balance sheets from red to black. Some historians trace the usage back to the 18th century, but Marx said that's not true. The red-to-black yarn is "quoted like it's one of the Ten Commandments," said Marx, who prefers the term "National Shopping Day." "It's like it's been carved out on a tablet that this is the official explanation, but it isn't."

A second rationale behind the name derives from the frenzy induced when crazed shoppers descend on stores en masse. "It really has become a chess game" as retailers try to outdo each other by manipulating prices and hours, Bernacchi said. "Everybody wants to gain an edge."
The competitive and secretive nature of promotions remains to this day. "It's like we're making the atom bomb again," he said. "I mean, come on! It's a shopping day!"

To be sure, Black Friday becomes more frantic each year, as retailers implement an arsenal of sales strategies, including 4 a.m. coffee and doughnuts, giveaways, gifts with purchase, additional markdowns and guaranteed interest-free payments.

"Customers come to expect it, and if you don't offer it, they'll wait for the next bus," Marx said.
However, aggressive promotions can affect the quality of a shopper's experience, from long lines to a lack of inventory to the unavailability of in-store help, Stoltman said. "Some will find it downright unsatisfying," he said. "If I'm in line for an hour and a half, that's too much."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Win Martha Stewart Home Decorating Products Every Friday Via Apartment Therapy’s Holiday Giveaway!

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is pleased to sponsor this year’s Annual Apartment Therapy Holiday Giveaway.

This week – Win a lamp from Martha Stewart Lighting; choose one of five selected styles! (Ends 12:00AM ET on Thursday, November 27.)

Friday Nov 28 – Win a Constellation Rug (approximately 6’ x 9’ size) from Martha Stewart Rugs; select from five available colors!

Friday Dec 5 – Win an occasional table from Martha Stewart Furniture with Bernhardt. Choose one of five selected styles!

Friday Dec 12 – Win a Martha Stewart Floor Designs with FLOR Needlepoint Stripe 30-tile rug in any color (approximately 8’ x 10’ size)

Friday Dec 19 – Win an exclusive signed print from Martha Stewart Framed Photography. Choose one of three selected photographs!

To enter the contest and for more information, please visit Apartment Therapy -holiday giveaway

For more home decorating ideas from Martha Stewart go to Martha Stewart - Shop

Monday, November 24, 2008

As we approach Thanksgiving, a good many people pause and give serious thought to 'what' they are thankful for. I've been doing the same.
I'm most thankful for personal growth. As I've gotten older and had more experiences in life, I've come to realize how important it is to take a few minutes out of the day and reflect on the people and/or happenings that allow me to continue my personal journey of self awareness and growth. Life is full of "ah-ha" moments... you just have to make yourself available to experience them and recognize them when they happen.
I'm thankful that each day my feet touch the floor, I have another opportunity to touch the lives of others. Be it at work, or in my personal life, "making a difference" means a great deal to me. Sometimes it's nothing more than dropping a note to friend to let them know they are thought of. At other times, it's sitting down with someone to share life experiences. I learn from them, and (hopefully) they learn from me. I'm thankful for those moments.
I'm thankful for a wonderfully diverse and interesting group of friends and family. From wealthy social-lites to homeboys in the hood, I've been able to surround myself with good people from all walks of life. True friends. A very loving family.
I'm thankful for the challenges life presents me. As the old saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." It's quite true. Thankful for adversity?? Try it.. you'll find that adversity isn't quite so overwhelming.
There are so many things in life to be thankful for... not only during a holiday; but every day of the year. Take time out to be thankful. It makes a difference in how you view your day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Last One Out of Detroit, Turn Out the Lights...

The above headline was the caption on an editorial cartoon back in the 60's when riots broke out and the city of Detroit burned. No one believed that the city of Detroit had a future. We face that belief once again as the auto industry hangs on by a thread and faces what looks to be certain failure.

In Michigan, one person out of every eight has ties to the auto industry in one way or another. Mind you, that is a direct tie to the industry. That's a huge connection. The entire economy in the state of Michigan and many other states will be severely impacted by the failure of any one of the automakers. People will be out of jobs, they won't be able to support small businesses (or even large businesses), those businesses will close, increasing the numbers of unemployed. As one business closes it will have an impact on another business who will lay off or eliminate jobs and the downward spiral continues.

I am angry. I'm angry at the CEO's of the auto companies for their performance in general. Failed business concepts, arrogance and a sense of 'perk' entitlement (can you say private jets?) made their plea for help in Washington, DC this week pointless.

I'm angry with our lawmakers. The double standard that exists is appalling to me. We as a nation freely gave billions in money to banks who turn right around and squander millions of that money on lavish events for employees. We give billions to the banking industry, who through their own greed, failed. Yet, the banking failure has contributed to the demise of the auto companies. When it came to the auto industry, our lawmakers were quick to judge, and that was apparent with their hearings. I've never heard such arrogance in my life. It was so obvious that the white collar needs far surpassed the blue collar needs. It makes me sick to my stomach.

I don't know what the answer is... I just feel that our government has turned it's back on an industry that is so important to this state and others. The failure of any one of the auto makers would be devastating for our national economy.. you think it's bad now? Just wait. It won't be pretty.

So, perhaps that editorial cartoon from the 60s says it all... The last one out of Detroit, turn out the lights. But please, leave a night light on. Maybe we'll be able to find our way back at some point.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Have an Easy Holiday with Everyday Food

Take the stress out of the Christmas holiday with great recipes found in the December issue of Everyday Food.

With great ideas for an easy holiday dinner to simple cookies that are perfect for gift giving, the December issue is a perfect companion when the stress of shopping, decorating and entertaining mounts.

Looking for some cozy oven side dishes this holiday? Look no further! Try baked sweet potatoes with maple sour cream or roasted broccoli and cauliflower with lemon and garlic.

How about a quick holiday dessert? The cover of this issue says it all.. try a cranberry trifle with lots of freshly whipped cream.

Looking for a great gift idea for the cook on your shopping list? Give a gift that continues giving all year long with a subscription to Everyday Food. The December issue is arriving in mailboxes now and will be on the newsstands next week!

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Do You Decorate?

Christmas trees are already starting to pop up in homes around our area. As you're walking or driving by, the holiday lights catch your eye and you find yourself staring, like some Peeping Tom of the holiday season.

In our home, we have a tradition that we follow every year. Our outdoor lights will go up on a suitable weekend prior to Thanksgiving. (we were shooting for this weekend, but the weather may not cooperate!) On Thanksgiving evening, after everyone has enjoyed their pumpkin pie and coffee, we bundle up and head outdoors for the 'flip of the switch' to light up the holiday season. Now that we have young ones in the family once again, this tradition will have even more meaning with their 'ooohs and aaahhs.'

Our indoor decorating begins the day after Thanksgiving. We normally have four Christmas trees, though this year we are reducing our holiday footprint by only having two.

David and his friend Barb are normally up at the wee hours to begin (and often end) their holiday shopping. By 4 a.m. I'm already unpacking the storage bins and getting things ready. Now mind you, I've been sketching and planning my decorating for WEEKS and the furniture in the family room has been rearranged for tree placement. Once David is out the door, let the decorating begin! All of the autumnal decor comes down, shelves and furniture are dusted, and the mass transformation begins!

Now, don't be upset that David doesn't take part in the festivities. He has no desire to do so. He loves the end result; but knows that the decorating piece is 'my' thing... and clears out as early as he can! (or he may be put to work!)

There are 'traditions within traditions' when it comes to our holiday decorating. To begin, I always have "Martha Stewart's Home for the Holidays" prime time Christmas special in the DVD player. This special is classic Martha from 1995. It's a must have. Next up is the 1996 Martha Stewart special, "Welcome Home for the Holidays." These two television specials are my favorites. I wish MSLO would release these as DVDs or podcast specials. I've made DVDs from my VHS copies, so the quality isn't all that great... but still, they are such classics, I can't imagine a holiday without them.

Next up, is the movie "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Allen. My all time favorite holiday movie. The musicals of the 50's were so fabulous! Following the closing credits of "White Christmas," I turn to holiday music to take me through the remainder of the decorating festivities.

Twelve or so hours later, most of the decorating is done, David has returned, and we're settling in for a dinner of wonderful left overs. The cats can't seem to keep their eyes off the lights (or an ornament that looks like a play toy) and neither can I. I love this time of year.

How do you decorate? I'd love to know your traditions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Let the Season Begin!

A few days ago, my friend Andrew received his December issue of Martha Stewart Living. Since seeing the festive cover, I've been chomping at the bit waiting for the magazine to arrive in my mailbox. Today, the wait is over! The December issue arrived in pristine condition.

After reading Andrews review of the December content, I couldn't wait to open the magazine and take in all the inspiration for this holiday season. My quick 'one through' of the magazine left me anxious to return for a more in depth look.

I have a ritual with my Martha Stewart Living magazines... when they arrive each month, I do the quick once over. Then, once dinner is completed, dishes are put away, and the kitchen floor is swept (yes, I do it every evening... it was a hint from Martha that I absolutely have taken to heart!), I sit down with my beverage of choice (hot chocolate sounds good!) and my magazine for a front to back read.

The holiday season can now officially begin! Two weeks until the decorating begins!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keeping Pans Pretty

I love stainless steel cookware. While a good set of stainless steel will probably cost you the equivalent of a mortgage payment, it's well worth the investment if you're a home cook that takes the art of cooking seriously.

Stainless steel does have its issues, however. Keeping it shiny and bright can be a challenge after a while. The interiors and exteriors can discolor after a period of time. I was recently turned on to something that has actually been around for quite some time... "Bar Keepers Friend." It will keep your shiny investment looking like new.

Bar Keepers Friend is an abrasive cleaner and polish wrapped into one. A light sprinkle of this friend in the kitchen, and a few swipes with a wet sponge or cloth will remove any build up of discoloration within a minute or two. While abrasive, it's not as harsh as a standard cleanser like Comet or Soft Scrub. It really does make your pans look new once again.

Our double stainless steel sink with stainless drain board also looks new again after a good scrub. Care needs to be taken to rinse completely to avoid any pitting of the steel.

If you haven't tried this helper in a can... do so. I think you'll find it useful!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Martha Stewart Living is making it easy to treat someone on your Christmas list to something special!

For this week only, buy a one year subscription to Martha Stewart Living at the regular price of $24 and get up to four more subscriptions at $12 each! That's 50% off the regular yearly subscription price!

This special pricing offer will expire on November 14, 2008 so act quickly to not miss your opportunity to purchase an inspirational gift that will last all year long!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shopper Alert!

I wanted to alert all you readers of the sales that are forthcoming this week! We are fortunate to get our weekly sales flyers and catalogs on Saturday morning so here's the heads up this week!

Michaels: Two coupons: 50% off one item, and 40% off an item. All Martha Stewart Crafts are on sale this week, for 30% off. No merchandise exclusions are noted. Great pricing on the holiday craft items with the 30% off!

Kmart: All Martha Stewart Everyday Holiday merchandise is on sale. A variety of sale prices and discounts depending on item.

Macys: The Veteran's Day Sale. 10% off selected and clearance items. Several different Martha Stewart Collection items are featured throughout the sales flyer.

In these tough economic times we can all use sale prices!

Shop Martha.
Shop often.

Friday, November 7, 2008

December Issues of the Past

The December issues of Martha Stewart Living have always inspired readers to create the most beautiful holiday season in their own homes.

The very first issue of Living, which premiered in December of 1990, encouraged readers to "create new holiday traditions" and the magazine has been doing just that year after year.

As I anxiously await my 2008 issue to reach my mailbox, I wanted to take a look back at the December issues of past years.

December 1990 (premiere issue) - 1993

1994 - 1997

1998 - 2001
The 2000 issue was the biggest December issue ever

2002 - 2005

2006 - 2007
The 2006 featured two covers. The Kugel cover was used for subscribers and the ornament cover was found on newsstands. The 2007 issue featured Martha, for the first time since 1992.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Martha Stewart Crafts for Christmas

While watching returns on election night, I placed an order with Martha Stewart Crafts for a few holiday items that I've not found in stores. Mind you, that was Tuesday... just two short days ago. My order arrived today!

The gold collectible Christmas 2008 tin is very nice. It comes as a set of two and has a beautiful wreath design on the cover of the hinged top.

The set of nesting cookie tins are perfect for gift giving. There are two red and one 'Martha blue' tin to the set. The tins coordinate perfectly with the holiday cookie and treat boxes.

Martha's favorite chocolate boxes are beautiful. A set of 9 boxes, in gold, bronze and silver come with pre-cut tissue liners and labels. They are perfect for truffles, holiday candies, or that special little something for your favorite persons stocking.

Lastly, a set of snowflake window clings. Each snowflake is an individual cling for easy placement and snow design on your window or mirror.

I'm so impressed with the quick shipping. While it does help that the fulfillment center is in Illinois, (just a hop over Lake Michigan) I never expected the goods to arrive this quickly!

My friend Claudine reported on her blog that Martha Stewart Crafts for the holidays are flying off her local Michaels shelves. I checked during my lunch hour today at one local store and the stock was nearly wiped out. I asked the sales person if they planned any further shipments and she said that they will 'probably' get one more shipment before Christmas. As Claudine mentioned, it's a good idea to make your purchases early before your favorites are gone. You can always check the Martha Stewart Crafts website as well for item availability. I did notice, however, that several items found at Michaels are not on the website and vice versa. Keep your eye open in both places for the best of the best in holiday craft items!

Hurry! I just logged into the crafts website and noticed that all the Christmas items were on sale! Place your order today to get the best pricing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

As I awake this morning, I'm moved to near tears. The country I call my home has changed - for the better.

A day I never thought I would see, has happened. On this day, my faith is renewed as an American. My heart is full of hope for a better tomorrow. A barrier of inequity has been shattered. After years of shame, today I lift my head to once again say, I'm proud to be an American.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Pause For This Special Announcement

No commentary. No personal thoughts. No highlighting my candidate of choice, No links to political messages on You Tube. Very simply stated: Vote.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Macy's Wants You to Believe

On the heels of its 150th birthday, Macy’s unveiled its plans for a nostalgic Christmas campaign called Believe, based on the New York Sun’s famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial from 1897.

Complete with in-store "Believe Stations" and a devoted "celebrity designer" TV ad, Believe captures the heart of the holiday with a season-long effort that elevates the message of goodwill and generosity through a campaign to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation®.

Known worldwide for its holiday traditions from the Thanksgiving Day Parade to the first in-store Santa, the magic of Macy’s will unfold this year with Believe Stations in every store that feature a Believe Meter, letter-writing station and an official R.H. Macy Santa Mail letterbox. Beginning on November 9, children across the country are invited to drop off their letters – stamped and addressed to Santa At The North Pole – at any Macy’s store in the Santa Mail letterbox. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation up to $1 million to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

The Believe campaign was rooted in a letter to the editor written by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897 asking if there is a Santa Claus. Newsman Francis P. Church responded with a poignantly worded essay on the importance of believing, including the famous line "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…"

"We are so excited to launch this inspirational Christmas campaign," said Peter Sachse, president of Macy’s Corporate Marketing. "Believe is the articulation of everything we treasure about the holiday season, and is an authentic celebration of the Christmas spirit. We felt strongly that this year it was important to remember and embrace the real sentiment of the season. We’d like to inspire all of America to believe."

The Believe advertising campaign will break on Sunday, November 9 with a national television spot and innovative newspaper ads, including full-page reprints of the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial and disrupter print ads (ads which break into editorial space). The television campaign will feature Macy’s "stars" Jessica Simpson, Martha Stewart, Carlos Santana, Donald Trump, Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole reciting select lines from "Yes, Virginia." A Spanish-language version will feature Carlos Santana, Ana de la Reguera and Carlos Ponce. All advertising will invite children around the country to deposit their letters to Santa at their local R.H. Macy Santa Mail letterbox to help grant the wishes of seriously ill children.

"The Believe campaign not only reflects the spirit of the holiday season, it also speaks to a wish experience – helping a child believe in their own future," David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer. "We truly appreciate Macy’s continued generosity and partnership in helping us grant even more wishes to courageous children thanks to this inspirational campaign."

The Believe Campaign will come to life online as well with a microsite – –which will tell the story of Virginia O’Hanlon, feature an electronic Believe Meter, offer a downloadable letter kit complete with official Santa letterhead, and allow customers to design their own "Claus" with the "Be Claus" application. "Be Claus" personalization allows customers to upload a photo and design themselves as Santa Claus. The final artwork can be used as an e-card, posted to a Facebook or MySpace page or sent to a mobile phone.