Ready for the holidays

Whether you want to bake or decorate, these books will get you in a festive holiday mood.

Whether you want to bake or decorate, these books will get you in a festive holiday mood.

“Christmas with Southern Living 2017: Inspired Ideas for Holiday Cooking and Decorating”
by Editors of Southern Living (hardcover, Oxmoor House, 2017, 192 pages, $29.99).
Nobody does Christmas like Southern Living, and for more than 30 years, “Christmas with Southern Living” has been helping you create memorable holidays for family and friends. For 2017, “Christmas with Southern Living” is completely new, with all of the menu and décor ideas that you have come to expect, along with more than 100 recipes especially created for holiday cooking, baking, entertaining and gift giving.

“Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season”
by Elisabet der Nederlanden (hardcover, Ten Speed Press, 2017, 161 pages, $20).
This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites such as Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections such as Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other.

“Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies: 75 Irresistible Holiday Treats”
by Susan Westmoreland (hardcover, Hearst, 2016, 128 pages, $16.95).
Everyone loves a Christmas cookie! Here are the best of the best from Good Housekeeping: 75 delicious triple-tested holiday recipes, from Chocolate Chunk and Gingerbread Cutouts to Mint Peppermint Sticks and Razzy-Jazzy Thumbprints. Whether you’re an expert baker or an enthusiastic home cook, this treasure trove of cookies, including do-ahead tips and easy decorating and gift-wrapping ideas, will ensure that everything you make tastes—and looks—amazing.

“Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion”
by Danielle Walker (hardcover, Ten Speed Press, 2016, 352 pages, $35).
When people adopt a new diet for health or personal reasons, they worry most about the parties, holidays and events with strong food traditions, fearing their fond memories will be lost along with the newly eliminated food groups. After suffering for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease and missing many of these special occasions herself, Danielle Walker has revived the joy that cooking for holidays can bring in “Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations,” a collection of recipes and menus for 12 special occasions throughout the year.

“Making Gingerbread Houses”
by Candice Clayton (softcover, New Holland Publishers, 2017, 160 pages, $19.99).
This charming book is a must for cake decorators, craftspeople and children or adults of all ages. Gingerbread is deliciously tasty, fun and very versatile, and this book is bursting with design and decorating ideas to make and build a house out of gingerbread.

“The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars”
by America’s Test Kitchen (hardcover, America’s Test Kitchen, 2017, 448 pages, $35).
America’s Test Kitchen aggregates many years of cookie baking knowledge, breaking down key steps and recipe techniques in this comprehensive cookbook that features recipes for any cookie you can dream up—from favorite cookie jar classics to new and unique cookies, brownies, bars and candies for any occasion.

“A White House Christmas: Including Floral Design Tutorials”
by Laura Dowling (hardcover, Stichting Kunstboak, 2017, 160 pages, $45).
Christmas at the White House is the most beautiful and grand celebration of the year. As Chief Floral Designer during the Obama administration, Laura Dowling was responsible for the dazzling floral pieces that made the season so memorable. Here, she invites readers behind-the-scenes of this complex yearlong planning process where some of the most innovative and ambitious handmade craft displays were created. From architectural details including intricate hydrangea-covered archways, illusion cube-patterned column covers and gilded maple leaf rosette panels to sugar paste floral vases and robotic versions of the First Family dogs, the décor inspired and delighted visitors and guests from across the country and around the world.

“A Very Vintage Christmas: Holiday Collecting, Decorating and Celebrating”
by Bob Richter (hardcover, Globe Pequot Press, 2016, 224 pages, $24.95).
“A Very Vintage Christmas” embodies the nostalgia and sentimentality associated with the holiday season. Vintage ornaments, lights, decorations, cards and wrapping all conjure up happy memories of Christmases past and serve as tangible mementos of holidays shared with family and friends. In fact, finding these objects, decorating with them and sharing them with others brings an instant feeling of comfort and joy. Coupled with beautiful photographs, tips on collecting and secret shopping haunts, “A Very Vintage Christmas” offers a 360-degree look at holiday décor in America and gives suggestions on how to make vintage finds work for today’s audience.