ALL POSTS IN Holidays

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Name that movie: “Well, I see it still smells like pine needles around here.” Hint: It’s a classic holiday movie released on Christmas Day in 1946.

Mood Board Monday: Pine NeedlesTree | Cocktail | Necklace | Tassels | Print | It’s a Wonderful Life | Tea | Napkin Ring | Embroidery

It’s a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite holiday movie. Every year, I watch it on the big screen at our local historic theater. That’s definitely one of my favorite traditions of the season. Share yours!

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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BRIANA: Over-the-top holiday light displays aren’t exactly a new fad, but this 2013 trend list suggests that social media and Pinterest are inspiring people to get more creative. Themes like “winter wonderlands, candy canes, Santa’s workshop and character themes” are apparently in-demand and hey, looks like someone found a way to tip a hat to that fox trend, too. Some homeowners have even gone high-tech with smartphone apps so they can orchestrate the whole setup with just a tap or flick of the finger. So, what do you think? Are souped-up holiday light displays merry or scary?

Are over-the-top holiday lights merry or scary? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

MARIANNE: Do I love to take my kids out in their Christmas jammies for a holiday light tour? Definitely. Do I put lights on my house? Nope.

KAYLA: I’m with you, Marianne. They’re great to look at it but I’ll never, ever, ever put lights on my house like that. I’d rather sit on my sofa and sip a hot toddy. I do appreciate those that go the extra mile, though.

MORE HOLLERIN’ ABOUT HOLIDAY LIGHTS

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With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

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If you’re planning a sweet treat for your upcoming holiday festivities, cotton candy may not be the first dessert that comes to mind, but why not? When you infuse white sugar with spices inspired by chai tea and dust with edible glitter (yes, edible glitter!), your guests will be charmed by these nostalgic-turned-chic puffy white clouds of spun sugar. Wouldn’t this be amazing alongside a glass of champagne on New Years Eve? I’m on a bit of a cotton candy kick, it seems.

Not a fan of chai? Feel free to customize your spice combinations. I might have to try grapefruit zest + vanilla + rosemary next time I bust out the cotton candy maker, or perhaps bring a little heat with smoked paprika and lime zest? Who knew cotton candy could be so creative?

Chai Spice Cotton Candy

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Just like pumpkin in the fall, I flavor everything with gingerbread during the holiday season. Traditional gingerbread cookies are great, but why not spice up cocoa, pies and cakes with this classic flavor? Try out some of our favorite ideas just in time for Christmas guests.

Mood Board Monday: GingerbreadMini Houses | Sweater | Cookies | Skirt | House | Cocoa | Cheesecakes | Cake Pops | Ornament

Our favorite ways to use gingerbread:

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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Home for the HolidaysWhen it comes to hosting, I’m all about making the party look like a million bucks without putting a significant amount of effort into it. Your company is likely coming because of you and those around you, so the food and drinks are just a bonus. Hence, today’s post: dressing up a store-bought bottle of champagne with tasty garnishes … in seconds. I’m serious. I prepped most of these the night before, then popped them in the glass right before our holiday party shoot. Voila! You’ll basically have five fun drink options for your guests right from one bottle.

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Our Five Garnishes:

Star Fruit
Gold Sugar Sprinkles
Candied Cranberries, Raspberries + Blueberries on Skewers
Rosemary Sprigs + Pomegranate Seeds
Rock Candy

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Keri sips on champagne garnished with rosemary and pomegranate, while Kristen drinks the party’s signature cocktail.

For the Star Fruit Garnish: Slice the star fruit while on its side into 1/2-inch thick slices, and then cut a slit halfway down the middle so the star can sit on the rim of the champagne glass.

For the Gold Sugar Sprinkles: Sprinkle gold sugar onto a plate. Wet the rim of each champagne glass, then dip into the sprinkles so the rim is entirely covered.

For the Candied Fruit Skewers: Skewer assorted fresh fruits (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries) on a small wooden stick. Rinse with water, then generously sprinkle with sugar. Freeze until ready to use.

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

Marianne drinks champagne flavored with orange rock candy.

For the Rosemary and Pomegranate: Sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds into the champagne, then top with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

For the Rock Candy: Put a rock candy stick or rock candy crystals (any flavor you desire) into a champagne glass. Pour champagne over the rock candy in the glass. Watch the drink fizzle and the color change. Soon, the drink will take on a sweet, candy-like taste.

Get more ideas from our holiday bar:

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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Homemade gingerbread houses can be a bit intimidating, but you don’t have to be a professional baker or create a three-story Victorian house to get in on the fun. I make a gingerbread house almost every year — from scratch — but I don’t aim for perfection. Here’s a mini house I made this year:

Make Your Own Gingerbread House

Sure, the mortar is a little bit oozy and the roofline isn’t quite straight. Do I like it any less? Of course not! It’s about the process more than the result. (And its flaws give it character.) No matter what your baking skill level, all gingerbread houses start with a great gingerbread recipe, lots of royal icing and a pattern. Here are 5 houses to try out this weekend.

Five DIY Gingerbread Houses

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Did you know that December 24th is not only Christmas Eve but National Eggnog Day, too? In 1826, U.S. soldiers smuggled inexpensive whiskey into the barracks at the United States Military Academy to make eggnog for Christmas Day, an event now known as the Eggnog Riot. Originally crafted in Europe centuries ago, eggnog eventually crossed the Atlantic and made its way into our hearts, becoming a holiday staple across the country.

Keeping the holiday tradition alive, the mixologists at Mulberry Project in New York combined classic family recipes with their expertise to create a delicious adult eggnog recipe.

Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Eggnog Cocktail

Ingredients

1 ounce white port wine
2 ounces white rum
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3/4 cup milk
dash vanilla extract
cinnamon, for garnish

Instructions

Dry shake for 2 minutes, and then shake with ice for 1 minute. Lastly, sprinkle the edges of the glass with cinnamon. Drink up and enjoy!

Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Photos by Monica Muller of Mulberry Project

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Sure, holiday decorations are nice (and so pretty), but let’s be real: It’s not a party without festive food and drink. A buffet table allows guests to flow through the food line  — perfect for the casual vibe of our holiday party.  Want to create your own? Follow these tips for success.

Find the right spot to set up your table. Food tables are kinda like real estate: that is, all about location, location, location. You want an out-of-the-way spot that still allows for an entry and exit point.  Skip spots like a kitchen island that create a bottleneck for a large group.

Holiday Food Table Setup Tips

Dress up a temporary table. You don’t need a dining room or even a buffet table to make this party setup work. We used a fold-up party table topped with a covering made from a dropcloth (!!!) and a small, hemmed piece of gorgeous marbled fabric.

DIY Holiday Tablecloth From DIY Network

Create a starting spot. Placing the plates and napkins at one end of the table creates a clear entry point. Copper string lights inside a footed cloche draw attention to the beginning of the line.

More Buffet-Table Tips

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home for the holidays mantel
The holidays are upon us, and for the editors blogging for HGTV’s Design Happens and DIY’s Made + Remade, that means it’s party time! If you’ve been keeping up with our Home for the Holidays party how-tos, then you already know what it takes to throw a fabulous holiday bash. We’ve shared delicious recipes, stylish ensembles, stunning decor and more. But sometimes, don’t you just wish you could attend our holiday shindig? Well, now you can – virtually, that is.

Join us tonight on Pinterest for a real-time Q&A, where our editors will answer your questions and share even more secrets about what it takes to pull off the perfect party. You’ll meet co-hosts Liz Gray and Made + Remade’s Kelly Smith Trimble, who will be joined by several other editors to give you the ultimate scoop.

Here’s your official invite:

Pinterest party invite

Not sure how to join the party? No worries. We can walk you through it here. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, now’s the time to get one. Just sign up here using your email or Facebook account. Then be sure to join us at our Home for the Holidays board at 8 p.m. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this!

Now, let’s recap.

What: A Pinterest party where you can talk with our editors about all their holiday projects. Repin your favorite ideas while you’re at it!

When: Thursday, Dec. 12 from 8-10 p.m. ET (That’s today. Don’t forget it!)

Where: Our Home for the Holidays Pinterest board.

We can’t wait to see you there!

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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