See what was in this issue of Real Simple.

By Real Simple
Updated January 11, 2005
Real Simple December 2004/January 2005
Credit: Ellen Silverman


Um, I Was Wondering..., pg. 43
To get what you want (a better table, a lower price, time off from work), you only have to ask―but you have to ask the right way. How to make sure your requests get results.

The Finishing Touch, pg. 280
Little details make the biggest impact but shouldn't take the longest time. With these tips, you'll have the gifts wrapped, the wreath hung, and the tree lit in a snap.

The Perfect 10, pg. 290
A special occasion calls for a special outfit. With these 10 wardrobe essentials―from the little black dress to a just-right suit―you'll never be left wondering what to wear.

One Fillet, Endless Options, pg. 300
Dress it up, or dress it down. Beef tenderloin is a crowd-pleaser, whether you're hosting a formal holiday dinner or a casual New Year's brunch.

Slumber Party, Revisited, pg. 310
Paula Madison and her network of friends from college and beyond meet each year for a few days and nights of pure fun.

Just Do It, pg. 318
Quit smoking. Get to the gym. You have lots of admirable goals; you just have trouble sticking to them. Here, tricks and strategies to help you get (and stay) motivated.

In Every Issue

Thoughts, pg. 16

Why Not..., pg. 18

Contributors, pg. 36

Editor’s Note, pg. 40

Your Words, pg. 51
What is your best holiday travel tip?

Credits, pg. 354

Real Complex, pg. 360

Real Simple to Go, pg. 362


Gift Guide
Real Simple's annual holiday guide to streamlining your shopping has something for everyone on your list―and you won't have to trudge through the snow (or the crowds) to get any of it.

  • 50 Gifts Under $50, pg. 61
  • For Mothers, Sisters, Best Friends, pg. 62
  • For Fathers, Brothers, Husbands, pg. 70
  • For Kids, pg. 74
  • For Everyone, pg. 82
  • 10 for $10: Stocking Stuffers, pg. 87

Life Guide


  • Perfect Christmas trees by mail, pg. 99
  • Versatile, table-saving trivets, pg. 105
  • Mixers for every baking task, pg. 117
  • The most durable trash bags, pg. 123
  • The right tape for any project, pg. 109
  • Rediscover a lost lip color or a forgotten fragrance, pg. 131
  • Hand creams for dry winter skin, pg. 145
  • Festive makeup in five minutes, pg. 151
  • Caffeine: the highs and the lows, pg. 163
  • The latest on stretching―a workout, not a warm-up, pg. 175
  • Holiday-guest behavior guide, pg. 187
  • Stop paying unnecessary fees, pg. 193
  • Etiquette calendar: when to do the right things, pg. 201
  • Colorful tights for cold weather, pg. 209
  • Pajamas for warmth, romance, or just lounging around, pg. 215
  • Practical, fashionable watches, pg. 221
  • Extendable Sunday dinners, pg. 229
  • Online gourmet food gifts, pg. 243
  • Bake big batches; save time and effort pg. 255
  • A baking-sheet road test, pg. 239
  • You needed just milk and eggs. So how did you end up with 10 bags of groceries? An insider's look at super-markets' selling strategies―and ways to outmaneuver them, pg. 271


Start with: Butternut Squash, pg. 329
It's the perfect fall food: delicious, good for you, and remarkably versatile. Seven simple but hearty dishes, including Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan Croutons.


Life is Sweet, pg. 339
It's often the humblest items and gestures that bring the most joy. Writer and lawyer Patricia J. Williams describes her family tradition of finding great rewards in small objects.


A Less Harried Holiday, pg. 345
For Kimberley Womack, the holiday season used to be a beloved, purely festive occasion. But too much travel and too many family obligations have made it a time of emotional and financial stress. Our advisers help her resurrect the ghost of Christmas past.