From the Beacon: Library can help you cope with holiday stress

The holiday season is one of the most fun -- and sometimes stressful -- times of the year. While you're looking forward to spending some quality time with family and friends and ringing in a new year, you might also wonder what you are going to do to make this season memorable and special -- especially if you're going to be doing the entertaining.

For holiday hosts, there's no better time to stop by your local branch of the Beaufort County Public Library and check out what's on the shelves that could help you out. Don't forget the options are plentiful through the SCLends catalog, too. Here are just a few of the interesting books that you can find on our library shelves this season:

If you want to throw a party, regardless of the occasion, "Parties that Wow" by Jonathan Fong is a good bet. This book goes beyond the basic holiday get-together. It's perfect for anyone who wants to do something unique to bring in 2010. Maybe you want to throw an Egyptian-themed party, complete with an ancient scroll invitation, a light pyramid (constructed with the aid of a string of Christmas lights) and a sofa that is transformed into Cleopatra's Barge.

Fong's Winter Wonderland theme is perfect for those who want a traditional Christmas or New Year's celebration.Learn where you can buy instant snow powder to decorate tables and how to make fur-wrapped candles for an easy party favor.

If you like to make your own holiday accessories, then consider looking through "The Best Holiday Crafts Ever," by Kathy Ross. There are crafts for holidays year-round and the ideas go beyond basic card making. Earth Day projects include a "trash monster" and a decorative recycled wind sock. No Valentine's Day party would be complete without your own crown, castle mailbox and favors made from playing cards. Kids would love the book's aluminum foil menorahs and dreidel designs for cards and pins during Hanukkah.

If you need to know how to plan a Hanukkah celebration, you might want to pick up "A Different Light" by Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre. This read provides information on "multiple versions of Hanukkah" celebrated by different communities. Modern Jewish heroes are profiled. The book also is a wonderful source of songs and recipes for the holiday. Detailed descriptions are given of what each night of the eight-evening-long holiday represents. There are also gift-giving ideas to cover each night.

Ida Gamble-Gumbs' and Bob Gumbs' "How to Plan a Kwanzaa Celebration" is a good planning resource for the African-American holiday that has steadily gained popularity since its origination in the 1960s. The Gumbses outline some of the best ways to plan a Kwanzaa celebration. They draw upon some of their family's own experiences enjoying the holiday. Recipes for a variety of dishes are included as well as a brief section on head wrapping.