HOLIDAY

Paging Santa

by Gilles Bensimon ($75)

The head photographer for Elle celebrates beauties like Uma Thurman, Rebecca Romijri-Stamos and Catherine Deneuve in this sumptuous photo retrospective.

Those freaky, funny critters from the 1980-94 comic strip come home to roost in this mammoth two-volume edition, which includes over 1,000 cartoons unavailable in earlier books.

by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen ($50)

The creators of 1986's A Day in the Life of America collect photos from a cross-section of the country, taken during a week in May 2003.

How better to document the story of a larger-than-life figure than with a macro-book? Weighing in at a whopping 64 lbs., this 800-page behemoth on the Greatest of All Time features 3,000 pictures. (The book doesn't ship till March but orders can be (taken at 1-888-Taschen.)

For Oscar junkies: comprehensive lists of winners and nominees accompany pictures of the ceremony's greatest moments.

The famed photographer presents eye-popping portraits of greats from Willie Nelson to Eminem.

Don't let the fuzzy chicks fool you: These wryly hilarious dioramas, which deal with vexing issues such as body waxing and yoga, are targeted squarely at a grown-up sense of humor.

Lovely pocket-sized hard-covers bring back these 1920s comedies of manors by Britain's beloved creator of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. There are already 26 volumes, with more to come.

Paintings of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman join hundreds of sketches by one of the most popular artists working in comics today.

This monumental two-volume set is barely cheaper than a flight to France, but these 1,500 images of the best in painting, architecture and photography define magnifique.

>Bookmark Dictionary Who has time to flip through the dictionary? With this $50, 4-oz. clip-on bookmark, you type in a word and zoom right to the definition in a 130,000-word database. Sold at zelco.com and Bloomingdale's by Mail.

>Larousse Gastronomique "The cookbook Bible, an extraordinary compilation."

The Balthazar Cookbook "Warm, cozy and edgy."

A Return to Cooking French chef Eric Ripert's book is "from the heart."

Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud Cookbook "Supercomprehensive."

The Joy of Cooking "It's everything you need in a cookbook, from breakfast to a holiday celebration."