I did not make a pilgrimage to the mall or any book stores today; I had to run to the market to do my weekly shopping. I didn't have a lot to buy other than staples; during November I made up a lot of double batches of things to freeze for December dinners. I also try to keep meals fun and uncomplicated during the holidays because there's enough to do without slaving for hours in the kitchen. I've done the traditional big dinners in the past and they're exhausting; I'd rather spend my time with my family than chained to the stove.
Tonight we're having Caesar salad (from a kit), pepperoni pizza (my homemade crust + ready-made jar sauce + mini pepperonis + pre-grated mozzarella cheese.) The meal takes only about fifteen minutes to whip together, which will help if my guy gets home late (he works in retail, so I never know when I'm going to see him.) I'm also going to try a spin on a simple prosciutto bread recipe from the December issue of Food Network Magazine; instead of the plain prosciutto in the recipe, I'm using slices of prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella, and adding some Italian herbs.
You might not think of shopping for books when you run by to the grocery store, but most do have a small section. Mine has an entire aisle of reads, mostly bestsellers but some less-hyped titles, too. That was where I found a copy of this Lynn Kurland novel that I haven't read, so that's going right to the top of the holiday TBR. My store also carries a couple of shelves of discounted cookbooks, which is where I found a neat gift for one of my cookie monster friends.
The grocery store offers a lot of other gifts that go with the books for readers on your shopping list: coffee mugs, all sorts of hot beverage mixes, cookies, candies, and other things to nibble on while curled up with a great read. For hard-to-buy-for friends who enjoy cooking, look in the magazine section for a food magazine or small pamphlet-type cookbook with a recipe you think they'd enjoy, collect all the non-perishable ingredients for the recipe (or as an alternative, a specialty tool they'll need to prepare it), and put everything in a reusable shopping bag. Tie a bow on the handles and you're done.
Today I'm adding to the Let It Snow tote a trade paperback copy of my Christmas inspirational novel Home for the Holidays, a new snowflake mug, and a week's supply of Nestle's Hot Cocoa mix with mini-marshmallows. The mystery item for today is something I've mentioned in this post that is not a book.
If you'd like a chance to win this giveaway, in comments to this post tell us what is your favorite holiday-themed novel (or if you can't think of one, just toss your name in the hat.) I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates by commenting on this or any of my other Let It Snow giveaway posts from now until midnight EST on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, and send the winner the tote with all the contents. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.