ALL POSTS IN Holidays

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blue room tree
Have you ever wished you could sneak behind the curtain at the White House and snoop around? Wish granted! Genevieve Gorder was given exclusive access to tour the White House while it is all dressed up for Christmas. We took tons of pictures to share with you, but don’t ask us to pick a favorite! It’s too hard. Pour a cup of hot cocoa, lean back and have a look at these stunning shots of the president and first family’s home.

michelle obama decorating cookies

First Lady Michelle Obama decorating cookies with special guests.

red room

The Red Room

state dining room

State Dining Room decor

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I admit — I haven’t even started holiday shopping yet. I’m so bad, I know. But that’s what overnight shipping is for, right? With less than a week until the big day, you probably need some quick yet thoughtful gifts to pack up for your Christmas road trips. Crafty or not, we’ve got you covered.

For Anyone: Personalized Gift Baskets

Holiday Gift Baskets

Gourmet gift basket ideas >>

For Her: Vintage Hair Comb

Vintage Hair Clip

Get this plus even more handmade gift ideas >>

For the Chef: Rustic Bread Board

Rustic Bread Board

Make a bread board in six steps >>

Gifts for Him, the Pet + More

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brown butter eggnog waffles

The big morning has almost arrived and between all of the shopping and wrapping of gifts, have you stopped to think about what you’ll be eating? A great way to begin the special day is with a tasty and filling breakfast (or brunch, depending on how early you awake) and serving Brown Butter and Eggnog Waffles will make it extra special. The golden brown squares have a crisp crust and moist fluffy interior with bits of brown butter streaked throughout. Also, the recipe helps put the last of the eggnog to good use. The batter is purposefully designed to be made the night before, saving you precious time. In the morning when you’re ready to make the waffles, simply heat and oil your waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with a spoonful Strawberry and Orange Topping and a hefty dollop of whipped cream for extra decadence. Complete the meal by serving the waffles along side cooked thick cut bacon and plenty of orange juice. Happy Holidays!

Get the Irresistible Recipe

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Hanukkah starts tomorrow, and we have some pretty festive ideas to keep your celebrations rocking until the 24th.

Mood Board Monday: Hanukkah HuesPhotos: Dining Room, Place Card, Tree, Favor, Doughnuts, Cupcake, Centerpiece, Garland

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

More last-minute Hanukkah ideas:

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My sweet tooth is unstoppable, and there’s nothing I love more than creamy, chocolate-based holiday cocktails. Calories might as well be unicorns from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. I let myself indulge in foods I won’t see for another 12 months, like most of these lovely bevvies. So, get out all the garnishes and warm up with a decadent dessert cocktail this season.

Peppermint Mocha Toddy

Peppermocha Toddy Recipe

Photo + recipe courtesy of Old Forge Distillery

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Coffee Moonshine
  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Chocolate Moonshine
  • 1/2 ounce white creme de menthe
  • hot coffee
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • peppermint candy, crumbled, for garnish

 

Pour coffee moonshine, chocolate moonshine and creme de menthe into an Irish coffee mug. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and crumbled peppermint candy.

Uncle Billy’s Holiday Treat

Holiday Cocktail Recipe

Get the recipe for this creamy cocktail >>

3 More Recipes to Whip Up

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The holiday season is upon us whether you’re ready or not. If you’re hosting a holiday party this year — casual or formal — our easy tips will help you get party-ready in no time.

Cookie Exchange

Around-the-World Cookie Exchange

Take this traditional holiday party to the next level with an around-the-world theme. Ask guests to use international cookie recipes, serve hot chocolate to accompany the cookies and offer to-go boxes so guests can easily take their favorites home with them.

Easy Tips:

  • Keep the decor to a minimum, such as a pinecone garland and other natural elements.
  • Arrange guests’ cookies buffet style to keep hosting duties to a minimum.
  • Ask guests for their cookie recipes in advance, so you can set out recipe cards the day of your party for guests to take home.

Get Cookie Recipes + More Party Tips>>

Get More Holiday Party Tips

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Holiday decor is typically dominated by the classic seasonal colors: Think red, green, royal blue, silver and gold. (Cue the Burl Ives Christmas classic.) But for this year’s HGTV Holiday House, our designers wanted to create an unexpected color palette that was still evocative of the season. The colorful anchor in this season’s design? Cool, crisp lavender.

Christmas Tree

We loved it so much, we also chose lavender as our December Color of the Month. See how this color shines when paired with plum and silver on a white Christmas tree? It also brightens up a holiday door in this ADORABLE yarn-ball wreath. Since the tone-on-tone design uses non-traditional holiday color, you can leave it up until the first signs of spring!

Yarn Ball Wreath DIY on HGTV.com

Though lavender is typically thought of as a spring color, it has lots to offer year-round. The Holiday House designers chose a hue with a gray undertone to pair with weathered barn wood siding, a sleek stainless-steel mantel and gray furnishings.

Lavender Painting on Barn Wood Siding

Lavender also offers a fresh alternative to traditional holiday table and party decor. Whip up a batch of our dollar-store napkin rings, then bring them back out for your late-winter or spring bash.

Or, use up leftover holiday baking cups to create an unexpected, ombre wall installation:

HGTV.com DIy Baking Cups Art With Lavender

Do you try new holiday color schemes, or stick with traditional hues? Tell us in the comments below.

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Hollies are my favorite traditional holiday plants. Nothing feels like Christmas more than bright red holly berries and green leaves contrasted against a blanket of snow. And if you love the look of classic holiday decor, then holly branches are the perfect touch to a mantel or tablescape. (You can even embellish dining chairs with fresh holly sprigs.)

Mood Board Monday: Holly Jolly ChristmasTop: Bride With Holly, Boots, Place Settings | Middle: Dessert Table, Vintage Card | Bottom: Wreath, Gift Wrap

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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Ah, the fireplace mantel — a homemaker’s canvas and a stylist’s playground. The mantel has always been an outlet for stylistic expression. New artwork, fanciful mirrors and decorative candles are always welcomed to my mantel. But during the holidays, this versatile shelf space can easily become a rest stop for less-than-spectacular holiday staples.

What do you say we step up our fireplace game this year with some new designs? Here are a few unexpected ways to wow your holiday guests starting with your mantelpiece.

Holiday House Mantel
Add Height: Here, watchful owls and glam trees add staggered height alongside more vertically-challenged holiday fare: ornaments and plush toys. Learn how to make a rustic mini tree here.

Joy Marquee

Light Bright: Sparkling lights of any kind are a quick way to freshen up your mantel, but a DIY marquee sign will really set your style ablaze. These simple instructions will show you how to design your very own, a feat that will turn any guest Grinch-green with envy.

White Wantel

Winter White: When in doubt, hone in light. Bright whites never look dull when paired with new neutrals. See how designer Brian Patrick Flynn decked out this crisp winter mantel. Bonus: Metallics and neutrals go together like Santa and cookies. Make your own gold-leafed log candle holders or mercury glass votives for an extra splash of holiday magic.

Chalk Mantel

Chalk in Spite: No fireplace? No problem! Design the holiday hearth of your dreams in just a few easy steps. Keep this warming accent up all season long for heaps of added cheer. You can even hang handmade stockings or a DIY pinecone garland for an extra kick of kitsch.

Don’t get caught in the same old same old. Fancy up your furnace with these simple steps and your holiday style will be ho-ho-hot!

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In lieu of today’s Mood Board Monday, I’m sharing some ideas to warm up those cold hands — DIY advent calendars. I’ll be honest, the only Advent calendar I’ve ever made has been a construction paper chain-link garland. I’m just too impatient to hold out for a treat each day. (Must. Have. All. Treats. Now.)

I know it’s December 1, but it’s not too late to craft a beautiful countdown to showcase in your home. Not sure where to start? Here are some easy-to-create ideas we love. Plus, they’re kid-friendly, too.

Takeout Boxes

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Upcycled Shirts

Upcycled Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Cardboard Tubes

Cardboard Tube Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

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Now that our fall table is complete and our Thanksgiving menu has been decided, we can finally jump head-first into the Christmas season. I already shared my list of must-do Christmas projects, but now my sights are set on the ornaments and trimmings that bring the holidays to life.

Christmas CollagePhoto credits: Stocking, Stocking Holders, Garland, Wreath, Pillow, Fabric Ornaments, Car Ornament, Cat Ornament, Sign, Tree Skirt

My Picks:

For 11 months out of the year, my decorating tastes lean toward contemporary, but in December I favor full-fledged eclectic and traditional holiday pieces that remind me of Christmases past. These needlepoint stockings are just another memento. My entire family got theirs personalized last year and I couldn’t love them more.

You can’t have stockings without stocking holders, and these twig reindeer holders are simple with rustic charm.

I can’t resist this sweet felt garland and Mimi Kirchner-designed ornaments; they’re so perfectly handmade.

Since bright red is such a classic holiday color, this felt reindeer pillow from Etsy was a definite must-have for me.

We all know what crazy Christmas family inspired this station wagon ornament. Any family (especially mine!) will appreciate a tasteful reminder of those Christmas catastrophes.

This “Merry Christmas” sign is just a classic way to welcome the holiday spirit, just like Hallmark’s annual mischievous kitten ornament. My family has purchased one every year since the series started in 1999 and they each remind us of something different.

Finally, Brian Patrick Flynn‘s handmade pennant tree skirt is a home-hitting holiday accent that adds hip, vintage flair and lots of individual style. The best part is this that it requires no sewing machine — whew!

So get on the holiday-decorating bandwagon with me and let me know what ornaments and tree trimmings you can’t wait to display this year.

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honey apple cocktail

While most folks will agree that a holiday meal isn’t complete without a serving or two of dessert, I believe a refreshing cocktail should be the finishing touch. Once delicious wedges of pie are all but a distant memory, proceed to your bar cart and shake up a tasty beverage to properly end your feast. This balanced drink is perfect for slow sipping and is not too overwhelming for a stuffed belly handle. Cheers to you!

Norm’s Notes: No Shrubs?

The Shrub (vinegar-syrup based cocktails) seems to be just as popular amongst today’s cocktail connoisseurs as they were before falling out of fashion in the later part of the 18th century. In case you’ve missed their resurgence, the sour-sweet tastes of shrubs provide mouth puckering flavors and a bit of earthiness to cocktails. In my opinion, traditional shrubs can be a bit too strong on the sour notes, but I do love the complexity vinegar gives to the taste of mixed drink. This cocktail channels my favorite parts of shrub trend and leans more towards the sweet side of “sour-sweet.” I favored the acidity from apple cider vinegar to liven up the drink in a very unexpected, yet pleasant way. If you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to add a splash of vinegar to your cocktail, omit it from the recipe and replace with 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice.

 

Honey-Apple Sipper:

Stir 3 Tbsp. bourbon, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger together in a cocktail shaker until blended. Fill shaker with ice cubes, cover with lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Top with chilled sparkling apple cider. Garnish with fresh apple slices and rosemary sprig if desired. Makes 1 drink.

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We all remember our holidays at the kids’ table — that small, isolated table in the kitchen is one Thanksgiving tradition you don’t want to uphold. Reverse the trend this year by setting up a few fun activities that kids will love to do and parents will love to see.

Thanksgiving Kids' Table

Let’s start with the kids’ table itself. Don’t settle for parking that old fold-out table in the middle of the kitchen — dress it up a bit. This adorable Thanksgiving kids’ table will give little ones a grown-up space of their own.

Foam Turkeys

While kids are waiting for the meal to be served, keep excess energy at bay with this fun foam turkey craft. Simple instructions are great for any age and will give them a cute memento to take home at the end of the holiday.

More Kids’ Crafts They’ll Love

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It seems like we’re always prepping for one holiday or another over here at HGTV.com. Finally, one of those holidays has arrived! I’m actually making my first from-scratch pie (fingers crossed!) and trying out a few of our cold-weather cocktails to whip up while we watch traditional holiday flicks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Tell me — what do you make year after year on Thanksgiving? Let us know your mouthwatering meal details!

Mood Board Monday: Thanksgiving Inspiration and IdeasTop: Banner, Buffet | Middle: Table, Centerpiece, Vignette | Bottom: Pie, Decor, Cider

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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My enthusiasm for the ultimate chowdown that is Thanksgiving is overshadowed by one thing: my enthusiasm for Christmas. I always end up wishing Thanksgiving away so I can finally cover every flat surface of my home with trees, garland, lights and oodles of fake snow.

Because I’m just too excited to wait, I’ve already marked the hours on my calendar (usually set aside to sleep off my food coma) for decorating. As soon as the maple-crusted roast turkey is done and I’ve inhaled my pumpkin pie (and just a smidge of apple pie), I’ll begin my annual pilgrimage to the attic to take down every box, bin, bag and cart labeled “Christmas”.

This year, however, I’ve been inspired to do something just a little different. I’ve been scouring HGTV’s Holiday House and handmade holiday collection for a few exciting — and easy — DIYs. Check out some of the projects I’m itching to try.

Holday Decor Collage

Marianne’s monogram string art project is an HGTV favorite, but this festive holiday version will fit in well with my home’s rustic accents. I’ve actually had this wooden chandelier on my list for a while. It will make a big impact hanging above my dining table and give me something to brag about.

Ah, trees. I’m always looking for trees, but I hate buying them at the store. But with some Styrofoam cones from the craft store, I can make these upcycled sheet music trees on the cheap. The stocking advent calendar will give my banister (or mantel, I can’t decide) that homey, handmade look I love. But I really can’t wait to hang that vintage light-bulb wreath for a huge dose of my favorite color — bright red.

Finally, for the exterior. We already professed our love for over-the-top displays with Briana’s Defend the Trend. But just like Farima, I’m partial to single-color displays (I’m a warm white kind of guy). I’m forever trying to add twinkle lights to my outdoor display. Those Moravian stars will add such a romantic nighttime glow alongside a reclaimed wood tree and votive candle walkway.

As always, be sure to tell me about your holiday DIY projects and plans!

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I’m always searching for Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, and it’s nice to see something different pop up. The moment I saw how easy it was to make these festive, no-sew table runners, I knew I had to share them with you all.

Rustic Twig Runner*

Twig Table runner

It’s difficult to get place mats to play nice with table runners. This runner is the perfect solution because it allows you to drape two table runners horizontally over the table, replacing traditional place mats, while still having a visual focus running the length of the table. Make your own with these instructions >>

*This one is my absolute favorite!

Upholstery Webbing Runner

Webbing Table runner

Doesn’t this tablecloth just feel like fall? I’m usually not a huge fan of burlap, but the weave technique and the black-notch details give it a unique look. The best part about this cloth is that you can easily adapt the size and shape to fit whatever table it will cover. See just what you need to make this one here >>

Monogrammed Runner

Monogrammed Table Runner

Everyone loves a good monogram. This no-sew sew table runner with black accents is perfect for more modern holiday decor. You can customize your monogram to be more embellished or more clean and sleek — the style is up to you. Swap out the black for your favorite color, or keep it the same for more drama. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Snowflake-Embellished Runner

Snowflake Table Runner

I love how this feels whimsical and light and can last all season long, not just for Christmas. Dress it up with pinecones and evergreen earlier in the season, then swap in glass ornaments and faux snow when Christmas approaches. Make your own with these instructions >>

Share your holiday projects and ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Ok, admission time: I am terrible at table settings.

My table is always too cluttered, too fussy, or too ugly. It never fails, and it’s frustrating. I’m determined to reverse the trend this Thanksgiving by planning ahead. I’ve already decided on a theme — light — or lights. As in, twinkling lights by way of metallics and candles. Light is always a great unfussy idea for decorating, it gives any holiday decor a romantic and festive glow.

Take a look at what is on my “Twinkling Tabletop” list.

wiw-tabletop

H&M is always my first stop when looking for trendy home decor. Their gold and white tea light holders are great source of sparkle. The plaid table runner is also from H&M, its white base and rustic gold and red accents will be perfect for my dining room.

I think Alix Adams’ DIY gold-leafed log candle holders will contrast well with the twig utensil set from World Market (IT’S ON SALE) and Pottery Barn‘s hanging acorn salt and pepper shakers. Ah, and the gilded animal plates from West Elm are entirely too cute to pass up, and the silver caterer’s chargers will look just perfect underneath them — at Pottery Barn, the set of 12 has been discounted to $63, not bad for something that will last 1,000,000 years.

Don’t forget West Elm’s Fair Isle glassware set. I’m super happy the set is on sale right now; it will bring one more much-needed shimmer of gold to my table. But don’t worry, I’ll be bringing in a few personal touches. I have a cake holder, like the one pictured from Etsy, that has been in the family for years. I also plan on creating some fall “faux-liage” indoors with this chandelier DIY idea. And this to-go station will be the perfect finishing touch to my Thanksgiving tabletop.

I’m getting too excited for Thanksgiving, and I’m already practicing the whole eating part.  But I’m just relieved that I’ll finally love the way my table is put together.

What about you? Is sparkle on the table or left out in the cold? Share with us your ideas for the entertaining season — we would love to hear.

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Gold-Leafed Log Candleholder

One of my favorite fall and winter design trends is the beautiful mixture of metallic and earthy textures. I love holiday trees decked out in sparkly gold ornaments or twinkling silver lights dressing up mantels where warm log fires burn. Rustic and metallic elements are the perfect combo (the Batman and Robin of holiday home decor, if you will). This fall I crafted some log candleholders, but to make them extra glitzy I added gold leafing. I just love the rich texture that the gold leaf paper creates.

Let’s Get Started

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With Halloween days away, I’m sure your candy corn supply is only growing. Forget simply nibbling on this classic American candy as is; crafters and bakers are using our favorite Halloween treat in a number of creative ways. (For those that love nostalgia (and intermediate recipes), try whipping up homemade candy corn.) Whether inspired by its warm palette or its sweet honey flavors, discover seasonal ways to incorporate this fall confection into your decor and party fare.

Candy Corn Crafts and RecipesTop, L to R: Cake, Pinata, Patties | Middle, L to R: Treat Bags, Necklace, Popcorn | Bottom, L to R: Costume, Candles, Brownies

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"

  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"

  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"

  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"