As the sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton is in an unenviable situation. In many ways, she cannot win and it is unfortunate that to some, she will always be known as the only maid of honor to ever wear a flattering dress. Never judged on her own efforts, but on the media and public perception of her. Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends, is her attempt to change that.
Given her low profile prior to the royal wedding, Celebrate could be viewed as a premature effort. However, she's not the first person to jump on the bandwagon of her own notoriety nor will she be the last. To Pippa's credit, she acknowledges this in the introduction to Celebrate. She has the opportunity and she's taking advantage of it. By admitting this she makes it redundant for those who scoff at her efforts. Now who is being unoriginal?
Several reviews for this book have criticized Pippa for stating the obvious: 'ice goes great with drinks', 'a turkey at Christmas time is good for large gatherings'. Yes, it's true, but let's be honest, even Martha Stewart falls back on 'Pumpkins add to the festive atmosphere of Halloween', 'Hearts make perfect Valentines' and 'Easter egg hunts are fun'. What Pippa does add to the field is her youth. Like her sister, she makes going the extra mile fashionable. Thus giving twenty-somethings options other than beer, wine, tortilla chips and brie cheese trays for their own parties.
Divided by seasons, Pippa presents crafts, recipes, nostalgic/traditional games and charming tidbits of trivia appropriate to the occasion. She offers small glimpses into how her family marked occasions like Easter and Mothers Day. While her tips for building bonfires may not apply to most of her readers, some her game instructions are hard to follow (Conker fights?) and hanging donuts from trees may be an attempt for the brave, her instructions for creating Christmas decorations and place settings using simple items can be for those willing to make the effort. Very reassuring for craft-challenged people like me.
With Celebrate, Pippa Middleton is not reinventing the wheel for entertaining. Instead her book is a fine attempt at reinterpreting it.