Just in case you still have eggnog to spike or plums to sugar before the gang arrives, consider us Santa's little helpers.
We're sharing our time-tested Christmas tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Christmas with a jolly smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on December 26 with your sanity intact.
Here are a few helpful holiday posts that may make your holiday bright.
Sugar cookies in every seasonal shape - from snowflakes to Christmas trees, stars to Santa hats, snowmen to holly leaves - overcrowd the dessert table this time of year. Even Santa is crying "Uncle!" for a little variety by the time he reaches St. Louis.
This year, try adding a little New York attitude to the traditional cookie swap with black-and-white cookies, a staple of New York bakeries and deli counters.
More cake-like than cookie-like, this oversized sweet is downsized into a fantastically festive treat by pastry chef Stephanie Teekaram of Kutsher's Tribeca in, where else, New York City.
"Seinfeld" fans might remember the baked good being forever immortalized in the episode, "The Dinner Party."
"The thing about eating the black-and-white cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite," said Seinfeld. "Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate, and yet, somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved."
In this season of good tidings, peace and goodwill toward all, harmony vis-à-vis a cookie is a welcome addition.
Oh come all ye Christmas carol literalists: PNC Wealth Management recently released its annual "Twelve Days of Christmas" calculation for holiday shoppers in the market for milk maids and French hens.
In 2013, springing for the whole menagerie, from twelve drummers drumming to a partridge (complete with pear tree), will set an aspiring Santa back a hefty $114,651.18.
But in case your house is already crowded enough without throwing eleven pipers into the mix, the scent of gingerbread baking is a wonderful gift - for a smidgen of the true cost of Christmas.
Cronut creator, pastry chef and bakery owner Dominique Ansel will have you run-run-running as fast as you can ... to the kitchen with his fragrantly spiced adaptation of the classic holiday treat.
There’s something addictive about that moment when you hand someone a homemade treat and their face lights up like you’ve just given them a hug. It turns baking into therapy, food into an olive branch, and those you share it with into a family.
I’ve experienced that joy for many years, by virtue of being the delivery girl every winter. I may have switched from wearing hair bows and Christmas dresses to newsboy caps and tall boots, but that feeling stays the same, and I always come bearing gifts.