12 titles to read while prepping for the holidays

12 titles to read while prepping for the holidays

In Reading Lists by Molly Hurford

12 titles to read while prepping for the holidays

The holiday season should be a joyful time. But, it can also be overwhelming, with so many things to do on top of your everyday work and family life. Luckily, there are plenty of books that can help get you through the season with your sanity in check — whether you're hosting for the first time, trying to buy or make gifts on a budget, or you have to accommodate a variety of diets for dinner.

You simply can't beat Martha Stewart when it comes to amazing holiday prep, and we love Martha Stewart's Organizing because instead of a more classic cookbook, Martha creates a monthly breakdown of how to prepare for every holiday, with special attention paid to organizing and hosting in November and December. Not sure of when to get your Christmas tree? Martha will tell you. Need a quick kid's project for Thanksgiving while everyone is trying to get the table set? She's got one. Last-minute Hanukkah gift? Yep, plus tips on how to wrap it perfectly.
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This deceptively basic book is home to fabulous holiday recipes from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Mark Bittman, who breaks down holiday meals into easy-to-cook recipes. He includes menus for first-time party planners, tips for using a slow cooker to make some of your sides, and even thoughtful gift ideas.

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If, like many of us, you now have a vegan relative to cook for, don't panic about where or how to source a tofu chicken. Instead, check out the festive recipes in Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations, and you'll be able to prepare tasty, flavorful dishes everyone will enjoy. There are nearly 400 pages of recipes, tips, and tricks that make cooking without animal products (including dairy or eggs) much less intimidating. Simpson also includes traditional holiday staples.

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Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts and Peter H. R. Green

If you don't have a vegan to cook for, you might have someone who's eschewing gluten, which can make the dessert portion tricky. Thankfully, there are hundreds of recipes in Gluten-Free Baking Classics to satisfy any craving. Mastering gluten-free baking might take a bit of work, but Annalise Roberts breaks each recipe down so they're nearly foolproof.

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If you're an ultra-crafty type, get some inspiration and ideas for home decor by DIYing your own wreaths and garlands. This short guide helps you pull together fun snowmen, reindeer, holly, doves, and candy cane-themed decor. Heading to a family member's for the holidays? Make them a handmade gift!

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It’s often easier to keep kids out of the "making" mix when it comes to holiday prep, but it's more fun if the entire family can be involved. Keep this book handy for easy kid-friendly crafts and baking projects and get your kiddo engaged in holiday prep. You may even be able to knock a few gifts off your shopping list.

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Savvy Holiday Entertaining by Shanna Hatfield

This quick read covers the basics of holiday entertaining in just 100 pages. From party-planning notes, recipe ideas and simple menu suggestions to basic decor, gift-giving, table-setting, and etiquette tips, this small-but-mighty guide helps ensure you don't miss a step in planning a smooth holiday bash.

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This quick 15-minute read will make you feel much better about sticking to a budget while ensuring your family and friends get gifts they love. Now is the time to get started — before the holiday rush really kicks in — so give it a skim and get going on your list-making and sale hunting.

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Quirk Books D.I.Y. Gift Guide: Curated by Quirk D.I.Y.

If you have a tight budget or just love a good do-it-yourself project, this handy gift guide is packed with ideas that appeal to everyone on your list. Consider making some of your gifts — from kitschy book covers for the book club to a whale onesie for your new niece to homemade vanilla extract and vanilla sugar for your baker buddy. There are plenty of simple options that can make festive gift-giving a lot more personal (while helping to keep costs down). 

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Treat Yourself Natural by Sof McVeigh and Kirstie Allsopp

How about do-it-yourself gift options to pamper your loved ones? Treat Yourself Natural has wonderful recipes for everything from body scrubs to bath bombs to soothing balms and special cooking oils. It's amazing how quickly you can make a great, self-care gift with just a few simple, natural ingredients. 

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The Big Book of Cookies by Betty Crocker

Like Martha Stewart and entertaining, no one beats Betty Crocker when it comes to baking. This Big Book of Cookies is nearly 500 pages long and contains basically every cookie you could possibly think of. This book is ideal for a cookie swap: Find a small group of friends and each agree to bake two dozen cookies per person (so 10 dozen cookies for a group of five). Enjoy a festive cookie swap and you instantly have 10 dozen cookies in five different varieties. Consider dessert taken care of. Or make a few different recipes yourself, then box up variety packs and wrap nicely to give as gifts. 

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Countdown to Christmas offers a few simple tips on how to plan and execute festivities that won't leave you broke and crying under the mistletoe. Christmas can be tough — especially if you're the one in charge of making sure the tree is up, the gifts are bought, the presents are wrapped and the food is delicious. But Asselin's breakdown of the month leading up to the big day makes it easier.

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About the Author: Molly Hurford

Molly is a writer and bookworm in love with all things wellness related. When not playing outside, she’s writing or podcasting about being outside and healthy habits for The Consummate Athlete. She also writes books, including the Shred Girls series. In her spare time, she runs, rides bikes, and hikes with her mini-dachshund and husband.
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