Christmas

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.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

They’re hanging from the chimney with care, it’s time to fill them with these festive and inexpensive treats. See more great gifts for everyone on your list. 

Gingerbread Pancakes

We packed all the flavors of gingerbread cookies into these stackable pancakes. They’re barely sweet with a little dark brown sugar and molasses—this is breakfast after all—but that means you can use as much maple syrup as you like. This recipe makes about 12 3½-inch wide pancakes so depending on the size of your griddle or skillet you’ll likely need to work in batches. To keep the first batch warm while you make the second and third and so on, place the pancakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in a 250° oven. Everyone’s pancakes will be ready at once and you won’t feel like a short-order cook.

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.

7 Fun Christmas Movies to Stream on Netflix

These films will get the entire family in the holiday spirit.

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.

Festive Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

Simple tips and stylish shortcuts for trimming trees with ornaments, garlands, and more.

Gingersnap Baked Alaska Pie

This impressive twist on a traditional Baked Alaska is sure to satisfy all your holiday guests—the cookie lovers, the pie fanatics, and the ice cream die-hards, too. We’re suckers for coffee ice cream (and it pairs wonderfully with the warm spices in the gingersnaps), but feel free to use any flavor you please. In the summer, try a graham cracker crust and chocolate ice cream for a tasty take on s’mores. The key to success here is creating a stiff meringue, so be sure to pay attention to the indicators in the recipe. To test whether you’ve achieved stiff peaks, remove the whisk attachment from the mixer and hold it upright. The meringue should hold its peak and not droop down the sides.

Last-Minute Gifts That Don’t Feel Last Minute

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There are trees to be trimmed (first you have to get your whole family bundled up and in the car on the way to the Christmas tree farm!), holiday dinner menus to be planned (you know what that means: multiple trips to the crowded grocery store), and countless visits to jam-packed shopping plazas. Oh, and let’s not forget all the work that needs to be done, so you can use up the last of your vacation days. What we’re saying is: We get it. The holiday season, though truly magical at times, can be downright stressful. If you still have a few empty check boxes on your shopping list, let this collection of great gifts be your guide. Each idea on this list can still be ordered (with time to wrap it up and put it under the tree) before your Christmas Eve or Hanukkah festivities begin. And you don’t even have to leave your living room—simply click to buy, and then wait for the goodies to arrive on your doorstep. A handful of the presents on this list can even be wrapped before they’re sent out, so you can truly focus on completing everything else on your to-do list.