ALL POSTS IN Christmas Countdown

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

Have you always wanted to tour celebrity homes? What about during the holidays? I thought so. During HGTV’s Celebrity Holiday Homes, top-notch designers add festive decor to the homes of their celebrity clients. You’ll get to see the entire planning and decorating process from start to finish and the best part, the reveal. As excited as I was to see stars’ homes, I was more excited to see their reaction to fitting or … unexpected … designs. How do you think professional dancer Cheryl Burke reacted when her neutral, modern home was transformed with a palette of hot pink by designer Emily Henderson? Find out!

Celebrity Holiday HomesTop left: Designer Emily Henderson and Cheryl Burke; Top right: Cheryl’s hot-pink tree; Bottom right: Designer Danielle Colding and BeBe Winans; Bottom left: Bebe’s custom gift wrap

This year, step into the homes of Cheryl Burke, comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, singer BeBe Winans, actress Haylie Duff, musician Dee Snider and actress Tamara Tunie. See them all! Which celeb’s holiday home decor is your favorite? 

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

You guys! Only TWO DAYS left until Christmas. Today, get the kids involved in the holiday prep and make a hand-painted cookie plate just for Santa.

Cookie Plate for Santa

On white oven-proof plates, use assorted colors of food- and dishwasher-safe ceramic paint or paint pens to draw a Christmasy scene.  Let dry overnight, then bake according to paint directions and place by the tree. Don’t forget the homemade cookies!

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

A Christmas tree may be the centerpiece of a room during the holidays, but there’s nothing quite like a gorgeous mantelscape to officially tie a space together. Growing up, Mom has always covered the mantel in lush garland, berry sprigs and metallic accents, so I never thought about just keeping it simple and modern. For HGTV.com’s Holiday House, former Design Star contestant Britany Simon used vintage-inspired marquee letters, handmade stockings and apothecary jars filled with festive accessories to dress up the living room mantel. I completely fell for those “JOY” letters,  but figured they were out of my budget. Guess what? They’re handmade!

DIY Vintage Light Up Letters

You can make your own vintage-inspired lighting installation and make it say anything you want. Plus, depending on what you spell out, these can stay up all year round. All you need are cardboard letters spelling out your desired word or phrase, industrial globe string lights, a marker, paint and a craft knife. Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions >>

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

The holiday season brings its share of less-than-easy situations along with all that Christmas cheer, like weaving through the crowds at the mall, warming up after shoveling snow and fielding unexpected guests. Luckily, we have holiday drink recipes to soften any situation the season throws your way.

Hot Chocolate With Cinnamon Sticks

This steamy hot chocolate is the perfect warm-up after an intense snowman-building session. For the adults, add an unexpected kick with Kahlua, light rum or silver tequila.

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

For the first time ever, I’m housing guests at my home for the holidays. In the past, I’ve always been able to escape the chaos at night, but this year, my home is the center of the action. (We’ll see how this goes.) I’ve been so focused on getting gifts, doing last-minute decorating and actually enjoying the season that I haven’t even started preparing my home for visitors. From washing throw blankets and pillowcases to stocking the guest bathroom and loading up on snacks, there’s a whole list of things to do before guests arrive. Luckily, there are still a few days to get everything ready. Check out our tips below to get your home guest-ready for the holidays.

Prepare for Holiday Guests

How do you make your home guest-ready for the holidays? Share your tips below.

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

Still trying to find the perfect gift for those last few stragglers on your list? It’s not too late to make your own…really. We have lots of impressive, easy-to-make Christmas gifts that only look like you’ve worked on them for months.

Make Your Own Silhouette Christmas Gift

A framed silhouette is a classic keepsake that makes a thoughtful Christmas gift. A digital camera, computer and printer make this centuries-old craft a snap. Are you working on any handmade gifts this year? Details, details!

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

During the holidays we all like to make the table a little bit fancier. (Did you catch Liz’s table settings post from yesterday?) Eye-catching table runners, oversized chargers and one-of-a-kind place cards are easy ways to dress up your everyday table. The star of the show, however, will most certainly be the centerpiece. And you don’t always have to choose a pricey floral arrangement; opt for something less expensive and handmade using items that coordinate with your theme.

Easy Handmade Centerpieces

I love this metallic-glam table setup. Use spray paint to transform a basic vase or candleholder into a festive centerpiece fit for winter blooms. Mix metallic accents of silver and gold with rustic wood tones and pinecones for a warm holiday look.

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

Holiday meals call for a little extra attention to the table, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on a professional floral arrangement.  This year, try simple table decorations using items you probably already have on hand.

Holiday Table Setting Ideas

The focal point of this sparkling table centerpiece is a Christmas tree fashioned from Boxwood clippings tucked into a white mug, but you could create the same look with clippings from your tree or from a shrubbery in your yard. Leftover ornaments and evergreen clippings arranged on a serving tray complete the look.

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

There’s nothing I love more than sweet, homemade treats during the holidays. (Cough, cough — are you listening, friends?) The best way to play it safe when you aren’t sure what to get your mysterious friend or a group of 30 coworkers is definitely a batch of homemade cookies in pro-styled packaging. You can certainly go wrong with a tie but never with gooey chocolate crinkle cookies or maple nut toffee.

Handmade Christmas GiftsTuxedo Cookie Recipe

Wrap up your homemade treats in pretty packaging for the finishing touch. Get more wrapping and packaging ideas for small gifts >>

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We’re counting down to Christmas with a new holiday party tip, decorating idea or DIY project every day until December 25. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

As you can see, we’re just 11 days away from Christmas. I think one of the most daunting things for me is presentation. I may have the best gift in the WORLD, but wrapping it in five-year-old snowman paper takes away a bit of the allure. That’s why this year I’m committing to professional presentation. I want gifts that stand out underneath the tree because of their unique packaging.

Creative Gift Wrap Ideas

One of my favorite ideas is this simple yet totally charming gift packaging using butcher paper, twine and birch bark. First, wrap your gift in classic brown butcher paper. To create the patterned tie, criss-cross twine around your thumb and pinky in a figure-eight pattern. Paint the twine in random spots with your desired color, then wrap it around the box and birch bark gift tag.

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