Prepping for Christmas goes way beyond shopping for gifts. Of course, the presents are nice—but an entire month of festivities is what really makes the season so merry. Once December rolls around, it’s time to kick your shopping, decorating, and baking efforts into high gear. Get yourself in the spirit by lighting a woodsy or seasonally scented candle. The scent of the season wafting through your home is sure to inspire your creativity as you finalize those Christmas party ideas (there is, in fact, a scientific reason why the holidays smell so good). Then, pop in one of your favorite holidays movies and pick out some festive Christmas crafts to create. Don’t forget to spend some time finalizing your holiday menu a week or two ahead of the event—there are plenty of make-ahead recipes that will help you relax and enjoy the party just as much as your guests are. And, don’t worry, we have plenty of gift ideas, too, so you can cross that off your to-do list, as well.

Vintage Christmas Decorations (With a Modern Twist)

Getting your home ready for the holidays is a once-a-year treat that can help to make those first cold winter days a little more cheery. Whether you trek to the Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving every year, hang the advent calendar together on the first day of December, or wait until the last minute to string some lights on your tree, many families have their own time-honored traditions. But, as the years go by, sometimes your favorite festivities can fade without you even realizing what happened. Evoke a little nostalgia this holiday season by dusting off some old favorites (well, actually, recreating some of the oldies but goodies) and bringing a bit of yesteryear into your home décor. These DIY ideas don’t require much time and effort—just a few craft supplies, many of which even occasional crafters likely already have tucked away somewhere in the craft closet. And once your new Christmas village is in place on the mantle or your bright poinsettia napkin rings are on display at the dinner table, both the young and old can enjoy in the resulting stories of holidays gone by. When January rolls around, wrap your new favorite decorations in tissue paper and carefully stow them in the attic until next year.

5 Peppermint Treats for the Holidays

You'll be enjoying these festive finds all season long.

3 Super-Simple and Festive Holiday Trees for Your Wall

No room for a tree? Try any one of these easy-to-create alternatives instead.

Elf-Sized Treats

It’s no secret that Santa is well-fed on Christmas Eve, thanks to the millions of cookies set out for his consumption (and, by the looks of it, he’s not starving the rest of the year either). Sadly, the hardworking Christmas elves are often overlooked, and despite the hours they spend fine-tuning and tinkering with the toys, no one thinks to leave them a tasty treat—until now.

Creative Ways to Decorate With Pinecones This Season

Sometimes the prettiest holiday decorations don’t actually come from the store. We know: It can seem daunting to DIY, especially during a time of the year when your to-do list is filled with other pressing tasks. But creating your own trimmings is not only a fun way to take a time-out; it also means more flexibility to craft something that suits your home’s existing décor. You can swap out colors (think silver or gold if you don’t love the traditional red and green), use new materials (try your hand at a ribbon wreath instead of the evergreen variety), or even bring a little bit of the outside in (yes, we think pinecones make a great choice). Though the Christmas tree or a wreath on the front door is an obvious way to add natural elements to your home, these out-of-the-box ideas are just as beautiful. Plus, it’s likely the guests at your annual dinner party have never seen these upscale holiday crafts before, so you might even have guests asking where they can buy their own. Once the holidays are over, you don’t have to quickly retire these items. Most of these crafts will look right at home until the first signs of spring.

Clever Ideas for Storing Your Christmas Decorations

With a few smart storage moves, your holiday trimmings will be leaping out of hibernation and onto your tree with ease.

4 Crafts for Extra Christmas Tree Branches

Don’t waste those extra branches—try these easy projects instead.

Christmas Tree Decorating Hacks

The Rockefeller Center Tree has just been lit in New York City and it’s got us thinking about the best (and easiest) ways to decorate our own holiday firs.

Creative Gifts for Parents

Creative picks for the moms and dads on Santa’s list.