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.

Holiday Negroni

The Negroni, a popular Italian cocktail, has made a serious comeback in the past couple of years—and we can’t get enough of it. Traditionally, this punchy, bitter cocktail is made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. But for the holidays, we took inspiration from the spices in mulled wine—star anise, cinnamon, and cloves—and used them to infuse the Campari overnight. The result is a crowd-pleasing holiday cocktail that’s very merry and quite delicious. We like to garnish each glass with a strip of orange zest and a whole star anise. Serving it over extra-large ice cubes will make it look like it came straight from the hottest cocktail bar.

Here’s Everything on Sale for Black Friday at Williams-Sonoma

Upgrade your kitchen with something special from this huge sale.

60 Great Christmas Gifts for Your Wife

Find the thoughtful, sexy and romantic Christmas gifts for your wife on our list, all of which you can buy now. And if your wife is pregnant, we’ve found the perfect gift her!

Cool Gifts for Kids

Dozens of fun gifts that are sure to please the little ones. Find more great present ideas for everyone on your list here.

Unique Gift Ideas for Women

Surprise your mom, sister, or best friend with one of these creative ideas from our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide. Or, find more great gifts for everyone on your list here.

Affogato with Hazelnuts and Chocolate 

Affogato: An Italian coffee-based (easy!) dessert that adds a touch of elegance to a dinner party. The combination of caffeine and ice cream is the perfect way to round out your gathering. We suggest brewing some decaf, too, for guests who shy away from caffeine come dinnertime. Hazelnuts add crunch and richness to every bite, while the chocolate shavings make each serving festive. Serve the affogatos in coupe or wine glasses to make the treat feel extra special. Or, for a more casual dessert, serve in ice cream bowls or mugs. Once you experience the ice cream melting into the coffee, this will quickly become one of your favorite party tricks.

3 Holiday Cake Decorating Stencils

These stencils designs—and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar—will help you create gorgeous holiday cakes, no special pastry training required.

Target’s Having a Major Toy Sale This Saturday

Save 20 percent off toys just in time for holiday shopping.

3 Genius Christmas Tree Ideas for Small Spaces

Three stunning tabletop trees fit for small spaces.

6 Ways to Make Your House More Luxe for the Holidays

It may be cold outside these days, but your house doesn’t have to be. It turns out that the simplest touches—a sprig of this, a swath of that—are all you need to fill your home with holiday spirit. Here’s the key: Instead of spending a ton of time or money to deck your halls this winter, simply concentrate on making a few smaller spots feel more special. Whether it’s a bench in your entryway, a bare corner in the kitchen, or even just the back door, with just a few stylish switch-ups, you can make your whole house feel festive (in a quietly elegant—not in-your-face, over-the-top—way). The best part: You don’t have to be an experienced crafter or a highly skilled decorator. These little design moves are quick and easy enough for any homeowner to handle. There’s little to no shopping involved either: You can use twinkling lights and shiny ornaments you have on hand, plus beautiful bowls, favorite pieces of art, and even meaningful jewelry you’ve collected over the years. Adding bursts of greenery doesn’t have to mean a trip to the flower shop either—you can easily forage for branches and a variety of leafy greens right in your own backyard. Just keep in mind: To tie all of your updates together, it’s a good idea to stick with a limited palette. (Here, we used soft, earthy neutrals with a sprinkling of metallic pieces and some natural, textured ones woven in.) Ready to give it a go? Try these tips and tricks to help your home look its best—and feel more welcoming than ever—this holiday season.