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By Real Simple
Updated November 29, 2012
Stephen Lewis

Thoughts, p. 12

The Simple List, p. 16

Editor’s Note, p. 29

Your Words

  • This Month’s Question, p. 33
    What is the most thoughtful hostess gift you’ve ever received?
  • No-Obligation Book Club, p. 36
    Five reads to curl up with this winter

Holiday Gift Guide

  • 50+ Gifts Under $50, p. 39
  • Stocking Stuffers Under $15, p. 80

Life Lessons

  • Good Read, p. 89
    Author Caroline Leavitt reveals the unusual places where she found comfort after the death of her fiancé
  • Modern Manners, p. 95
    Catherine Newman on how to deal with friends who give pricey presents
  • Expertise, p. 99
    Five ways to jump-start a conversation

The Guide


  • Real Steals, p. 107
    Stylish wintry white items for $100 or less


  • Pretty Smart, p. 119
    The latest beauty products and tips that save time, money, and your sanity
  • Road Test, p. 125
    Face masks


  • The Decoder, p. 131
    Hangover remedies


  • Sparkling Service, p. 135
    Knockout platters and punch bowls that will serve you well
  • Road Test, p. 138
    Folding chairs


  • The Giving Guide, p. 143
    Thinking about making a charitable donation? Here’s how to vet the options. Plus, 10 organizations that Real Simple loves


  • How to Have a Harmonious Holiday, p. 156
    All you need to handle this season’s most stressful tasks, from choosing a tree to hosting overnight guests
  • Go Big or Go Home, p. 168
    Indulge a little: bold and beautiful party looks
  • All I Want for Christmas, p. 172
    Five writers reveal the out-of-the-box gifts that would make their holidays extra jolly
  • Ornament Express, p. 178
    A single piece of statement jewelry gives an outfit instant glitz


  • Platters & Punches, p. 194
    Prep-ahead drinks and snacks that are deliciously festive (but not at all fussy)
  • Holiday Spectacular, p. 195
    Deceptively easy cookie-decorating ideas
  • Things Cooks Know, p. 200
    Holiday baking strategies, techniques, and tips
  • Quick Takes, p. 202
    10 ideas for delicious DIY gifts
  • Five Easy Dinners, p. 205
  • Nutritional Index, p. 216

Credits, p. 218
Where to buy products featured in this issue

Discounts & Deals, p. 226
Exclusive savings on personalized gifts

Clip and Save: Real Simple to Go, p. 228