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.

This Is What It Was Like to Film It’s a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra’s Christmas classic marks its 70th anniversary this year. Real Simple talked to Karolyn Grimes, who play Zuzu Bailey when she was six years old, and she shared her memories of filming, thoughts on the film’s meaning today, and her favorite scene. What’s yours?

7 Fun Christmas Movies to Stream on Netflix

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

Great Gifts for Men

Find unique ideas sure to thrill all of the men in your life from our 2016 Christmas and Holiday Gift Guide.

Chip and Joanna Gaines Have the Perfect Christmas Tree (Naturally)

For Texas natives Chip and Joanna Gaines, home is where the heart is, especially during the holidays.

8 DIY Christmas Wreaths Prettier Than Anything In the Store

Deck your door with beautiful, seasonal décor you can make in just one afternoon. 

29 Creative, Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

Find something for everyone on your list with fun and inexpensive ideas from our holiday gift guide.

This Life-sized Gingerbread House Is Everything We Need Right Now

Get in the holiday spirit with one of the season’s signature treats.

How to Make Your Gift Stand Out in a Sea of Presents

When there’s a big heap of boxes under the tree, this DIY rhinestone gift wrap will ensure your present gets picked from the pile first.