See what was in this issue of Real Simple.

Thoughts, p. 10

The Simple List, p. 12

Editor’s Note, p. 33

Your Words

  • This Month’s Question, p. 35
    How do you stay on budget during the holidays?
  • No-Obligation Book Club, p. 40
    What book makes a great gift?

Trends Worth Trying

  • Destined to Be a Classic, p. 45
    Booties―the perfect pump/boot hybrid
  • One Pick Fits All, p. 46
    Decorative bobby pins
  • Two Women, One Look, p. 48
    Leather skirts
  • Five-Minute Wow, p. 50
    Making poinsettias prettier
  • Everyday Indulgence, p. 52
    Artful salt and pepper shakers
  • 10 Seasonal Essentials, p. 54

50 Gifts Under $50

  • Everyone, p. 59
    Universal crowd-pleasers
  • Women, p. 71
    For mothers, sisters, and best friends
  • Men, p. 80
    For fathers, brothers, and husbands
  • Kids, p. 91
    For tots, teens, and everyone in between
  • Stocking Stuffers, p. 98
    21 mini gifts for $15 and under

Life Lessons

  • Good Read, p. 107
    Karen Joy Fowler on watching her daughter grieve―and feeling helpless
  • Modern Manners, p. 113
    Julie Rottenberg on dinner-table texters. Plus, your holiday etiquette questions answered
  • Expertise, p. 117
    Amy Bloom on 10 truths she wishes she had known sooner

The Guide


  • Instant Improvements, p. 123
    Skin-fixing gels, creams, and cover-ups that can give you great results in seconds
  • Road Test, p. 132
    Bar soap
  • Beauty With Brains, p. 135
    What exactly are free radicals?
  • The Decoder, p. 141
    Determining the multivitamin that’s right for you
  • You, Improved, p. 144
    How to add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Plus, winter sunscreen tips and a permission slip to eat chocolate
  • 15 Minutes and You’re Done, p. 149
    Toned shoulders in a flash
  • True Velvet, p. 155
    Four feel-good pieces you can dress up or down
  • Fit Lab, p. 165
    Find the best tuxedo pants for your body type
  • Real Steals, p. 171
    Party accessories: 17 dazzling finds for $90 or under
  • The Guide to Ironing Ruffles..., p. 179
    Expert tips for taking care of delicately detailed garments
  • Happy Wrapping, p. 189
    21 inventive ideas to festoon your presents
  • Road Test, p. 199
    Holiday lights
  • Decorating With Brown, p. 205
    Use this earthy neutral to add warmth or provide a base for brights
  • Make Over My..., p. 217
    Real Simple clears out and cleans up one reader’s jam-packed refrigerator
  • Moneywise, p. 223
    How to save on seasonal decorations and avoid a holiday–air-travel charge. Plus, the price tag to purchase every gift in “The 12 Days of Christmas”
  • Need Cash?, p. 229
    Five kinds of loans and how they can help you come up with money―fast


  • What Makes My Life Real Simple, p. 235
  • What Goes Around Comes Around, p. 236
    Take a style lesson from the past to find your look for tomorrow
  • Homemade for the Holidays, p. 244
    Nine easy, handcrafted gifts to delight friends and family
  • Stealth Strategies for Better Skin, p. 256
    How less-expected elements (air quality, what you eat) can affect your complexion―and what to do about it
  • The Day After, p. 262
    Flat club soda, cheese rinds, and sore feet: dealing with what’s left after the holiday party


  • Recipes for a Good Time, p.  266
    Make-ahead hors d’oeuvres perfect for any party
  • Secretly Simple, p. 279
    Quick hollandaise
  • Quick Takes, p. 280
    One sugar cookie dough, 10 ways to use it
  • Road Test, p. 282
    Pancake mix
  • Five Easy Dinners, p. 285
  • Nutritional Index, p. 296