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.

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.

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.

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.

96 Creative, Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

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

Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone on Your List

Forget the typical cookie-cutter gifts—try these special, hand-picked items instead. Find more great gifts for everyone on your list here.

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.

Great Gifts for Men

Find unique ideas sure to thrill all of the men in your life from our 2017 Christmas and Holiday Gift Guide.

32 Personalized Gift Ideas

This season, give the people on your list presents that have their names written all over them. (Literally.) See more great gifts for everyone on your list.