Meet the Finalists of the 2016 Flipboard Holiday Magazine Challenge

With so many exceptional magazines, which one will reign supreme? Cast your vote.

Photo credit: Pixabay

You better watch out… ♪ ♫
You better not cry…
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You better not pout…
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I’m telling you why…
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Flipping Santa’s coming to town!

On December 7, 2016, we announced a Flipboard Holiday Challenge. The challenge is now complete with 32 qualifying magazines from 28 magmakers. And they blew us away! So much so that we had to create a “metazine” to showcase all these Mag Masters.

Narrowing down the finalists for the challenge was incredibly tough. At the end of the day, judges had to remember that contests are about helping the Flipboard community master that art of curating effective magazines. This holiday season we also wanted to help #FlipSanta find you.

The rules for the challenge were designed to promote critical thinking, stimulate creativity and, of course, keep things exciting. So, the first thing the judges did was eliminate magazines that fell short on one or more of the rules — a disheartening process as many beautiful magazines didn’t pass this stage. Once the judges narrowed down, they began by reading each magmaker’s Compose note (editor’s note) to get a sense of their goal and inspiration before proceeding into the magazine.

The end result: 5 magazines, 4 finalists, 3 solos, 2 kitchens and 1 new “rock band”. In no particular order, here are the finalists.

Remember to cast your vote and ask all your friends, family, co-workers, teachers, students, pets… to vote too.

May the best magazine reign supreme!

Beki Winchel describes her magazine as, “ Winter/holidays in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark,” but the real story is in her Compose note. “I’m marrying a Swede in May 2017,” she writes. “I’m getting used to the ex-pat life in Sweden.”

iPad screenshots of Nordic Longings, a Flipboard magazine by Beki Winchel. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

Beki’s note touched us because she is inviting us to go through a very personal experience with her — a life-changing journey for an American girl. The magazine’s purpose is realized in real time as she discovers things herself. It also tells us that when she marries her Swede, she will be adapting unfamiliar holiday traditions in an area of the world that is still new to her, a world where it is not uncommon for a winter day to have only one or two hours of daylight.

“There’s something magical about the Nordic countries and Scandinavian culture, especially around the holidays,” Beki tells us in her note. “From Julmust… to saffron buns, candles and lighted stars, these people know how to brave the snow — and make the dark days and nights cozy.”

Since Beki now lives in the region, she is the perfect tour guide through a Nordic Noel. She curates content that we know she is gobbling up herself because she needs it — content that also informs readers on what happens in Nordic countries during the winter holidays. It’s a great learning adventure.

* Flip through Nordic Longings magazine by Beki Winchel.

Brent Summers uses his Flipboard magazine to ponder, “Who’s being creative these days with your Elf on the Shelf? Does Social Media lend to more ideas for the little ones?”

A marketing research tool created for a holiday magazine challenge? So unexpected. So brilliant. And his cover made us laugh.

iPad screenshots of Elf on the Shelf, a Flipboard magazine by Brent Summers. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

What struck us about Brent’s entry is its strong point of view. Elf on the Shelf has been around for a few years, but Brent’s magazine shows how it can be used for promotional purposes by public institutions, particularly those that serve children. Whereas the average magmaker might pull up a hashtag and flip a series of fun photos showing the Elf in different settings, Brent is no average magmaker. He goes into this with laser-sharp focus on material that answers the question that started his curating process in the first place.

What this magazine does is take a new-ish Christmas tradition, the Elf on the Shelf, and show us what the Elves are about. He takes it to the next level by demonstrating how these Elves can be used in education and marketing. Then he proceeds to explore individuals and institutions that are getting creative using their Elves on the Shelves.

We learned a lot from the articles Brent selected. It even made us look up things like the #LibraryElfie hashtag on both Facebook and Twitter to see how the Elf was being used to make library time enjoyable for kids.

* Flip through Elf on the Shelf magazine by Brent Summers.

On arriving at an impossible crossroad, we borrowed an idea from our friends at a certain music talent show: if you want to keep them all, create a music ensemble or a rock band. In our case, to stay true to what Flipboard is, we took two stellar magazines and are hereby announcing The Holiday Cookie Series.

Marci McCue kicks off the series with what feels like an invitation into her family kitchen for a favorite holiday tradition: the cookie exchange.

She tells us in her description that they stay up all night baking hundreds of this sweet treat with “…the guys wrapping the plates while kids test taste all the broken cookies!”

iPad screenshots of Holiday Cookie Exchange, a Flipboard magazine by Marci McCue. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

This magazine is so well curated you practically see Marci’s heart in every item she has selected. Cookies are Christmas and this magazine proves it. And, unlike leftover cookies, the magazine will never grow stale. In a note inside, Marci confirms that this is her goal: “I ultimately decided to make a holiday cookie magazine because it can be a great reference for years to come!”

We’re certain that other people will use it as a reference for years to come too.

Victor Moruzzi describes his magazine as, “Just the Good Stuff— Ideas, Inspiration, Tips.” Eliminate the word “just” from that quote because there is so much more inside this magazine!

iPad screenshots of Christmas Cookie Happiness, a Flipboard magazine by Victor Moruzzi. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

Victor caught the judges’ attention right from his magazine cover. While “busy” cover photos are generally less effective at captivating an audience, interestingly, his choice — a colorful cookie-laden spread — has a strong focal point… on a plate… just for you! Well done, Victor.

Over the years, Victor has given Flipboard readers so much food-oriented happiness on his profile that we weren’t surprised to read in his Compose note that his idea was to “bring everyone together and bake up some Christmas magic! Fill your holiday season with joy!”

This finalist entry is not a “tie.” These cookie magazines were born to be siblings — similar genes, but a lot of distinct characteristics. While Marci welcomes us into her family kitchen, Victor gifts us with a tour through the kitchen of a professional chef. We want to go to Marci’s cookie swap and feel warm and loved. And then we want to huddle and watch the high profile cooking show for which Victor’s magazine was surely made.

Our dream? That Marci and Victor will collaborate on a future food magazine.

* Flip through Holiday Cookie Exchange magazine by Marci McCue.
* Flip through Christmas Cookie Happiness magazine by Victor Moruzzi.

Some holiday traditions are relatively new. Created in the 1960s, Kwanzaa isn’t connected to any major religion; rather, it is a seven-day celebration between Christmas and New Years that is focused on African-American culture and values.

Margaret Garvin was motivated to start a Kwanzaa magazine by a realization that many are unaware of its meaning and value. She describes her magazine as, “An informative guide to further insight into our culture.”

iPad screenshots of Kwanzaa, a Flipboard magazine by Margaret Garvin. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

Margaret’s magazine vibrantly teaches about Kwanzaa with in-depth articles and gorgeous pictures. In one of her Compose notes, she reveals, “My family has been celebrating Kwanzaa for years.” This tells us that her magazine is of personal significance.

She elaborates further that Kwanzaa “…is a way to empower African American youth by instilling in them a sense of purpose for life, pride of heritage, support during struggles, and unity among brothers. They learn how to develop a community of loving friends and helpers that share a beautiful legacy.”

So, we join Margaret and wish everyone a “Happy Kwanzaa!” as we learn more about this African American holiday tradition.

* Flip through Kwanzaa magazine by Margaret Garvin.

Now it’s your turn. Cast your vote!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in our 2016 Holiday Challenge, including those who cheered. What a blast we had!

Don’t forget:

  1. Join us for #FlipboardChat with both Flipboard and the Flipboard Club on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 10 pm Eastern (7 pm Pacific).
  2. Join us for #FlipboardFriday, an all-day hashtag event, on December 23, 2016 to find out which magazine won the challenge, as well as share your own favorites.

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