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.

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