The following short list of titles suggests what is available if you want cookbooks specifically focused on the traditional Christmas. They are all nicely illustrated in glossy color, and would make ideal gifts for those who like looking at food as much as cooking it.
"Bon Appetit The Christmas Season" (Conde Nast-Potter, $29.95) compiled by the editors of Bon Appetit magazine.
Here is a collection of stylish ideas for menus, parties, recipes and drinks, to take you from tree-trimming through New Year's. In addition to close-ups of individual dishes or confections, the photos show table settings, decorations and buffet spreads.
"Classic and Contemporary Christmas Cakes" (Tuttle, $21.95) by Nadiene Hurst with Julie Springall.
This is definitely all about the icing on the cake. Cake recipes are an afterthought. Hurst and Springall, decorating wizards, are really interested in doing their magic transformations after the cake is made, be it sponge or fruit or pound.
"Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook" (IDG Books, $21.95).
Colorful and practical, packed with ideas for people at every level of skills -- even those who are confirmed just-browsers.
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