See what was in this issue of Real Simple.

By Real Simple
Updated August 02, 2004
Real Simple December 2003/January 2004
Credit: Anita Calero


What Can I Bring?, pg. 210
Entertaining is a lot easier when you have help―especially when the help includes every single guest. Tips and recipes for the perfect holiday family potluck.

Who Inspires You?, pg. 222
A mentor can be a colleague, a relative, even a friend's parent, but her role is like no other. Women reveal who supports them and spurs them on―and how.

The Big Sleep, pg. 230
Whether it's apnea or plain old insomnia, one in six Americans has trouble getting enough shut-eye. The good news: Many sleep disorders can be treated at home.

How the World Celebrates, pg. 238
Another New Year is upon us. What better time to finally get everything―from your address book to the kitchen shelves under control?

Singular Sensations, pg. 244
The dilemma: What to wear to all those parties? The answer: Select one standout item and match it with what you already own (even after New Year's Eve).

Meals Made Easy, pg. 255
A vegetarian's delight: Spicy Eggplant with Cauliflower today, Coconut Rice with Squash tomorrow, and Spinach Burritos, Stuffed Peppers, or Lentils and Rice whenever.

In Every Issue

Thoughts, pg. 14

Why Not..., pg. 22

Editor’s Note, pg. 34

Contributors, pg. 45

Your Words, pg. 25
What is the most clever all-purpose gift you’ve ever given or received?

Credits, pg. 284

Real Complex, pg. 286


Gift Guide: 50 Gifts Under $50, pg. 51

For Mothers, Sisters, Best Friends, pg. 52
For women who have everything…

For Fathers, Brothers, Husbands, pg. 58
…and men who say they don’t want anything…

For Kids, pg. 64
…and children from whom nothing is too good…

For Everyone , pg. 70
…and the other people you can’t forget this year.

Plus: 10 Stocking Stuffers for Under $10, pg. 76

Life Guide


  • Carving: a step-by-step guide, pg. 81
  • Homemade cookies from store-bought mixes, pg. 89
  • Precise measuring cups and spoons, pg. 95
  • The best supermarket coffees, pg. 101
  • A treatment for every type of carpet stain, pg. 106
  • Relaxing recliners that look good in any room, pg. 115
  • Earn as you spend with rewards cards, pg. 125
  • Six things you can do without a lawyer, pg. 131
  • Making the thanks fit the favor, pg. 141
  • Winter hats to suit anyone, pg. 151
  • Classic little black dresses, pg. 157
  • How to iron almost anything, pg. 163
  • Nine one-step ways to create a festive look, pg. 171
  • All about adult acne, pg. 175
  • The latest and greatest mascaras, pg. 183
  • Stay in shape while traveling, pg. 187
  • Keep your feet healthy and happy, pg. 195
  • Faced with a pile of hard-to-wrap gifts and messy yards of mis-matched paper? With Real Simple's efficient wrapping strategies, you'll be caroling again in no time, pg. 200


Life Matters, pg. 265
Do more this year than just count your blessings.

Real Mission, pg. 266
Lynn Aptman of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment on how education―and trigger locks―can stop gun violence.

Ready, Set, Go, pg. 269
An Alaska childhood and the inspiring girl detective Nancy Drew taught writer Natalie Kusz the value of preparation. Now she keeps kits ready for every occasion, from an overnight business trip to a car ride with her baby grandson.

Life Coach

Present Imperfect, pg. 279
Too often the simple pleasures of giving and receiving are not very...pleasurable. Thinking outside the box, Sheila Heen suggests seven strategies to lead you and your loved ones to gift satisfaction.