Personalized Christmas Gift Ideas

Make the season extra special with a personalized gift. We're sharing 15-plus personalized DIY gift ideas that everyone will love. Whether you're looking for monograms or maps, we've got a gift for everyone on your list.

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Steal This Home's Cottage-Style Decorations!

Icy Christmas garlands are a cinch to make (and cost just a few bucks!). Here's how to create a frosty icicle garland for your own home.

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Easy-to-Make Christmas Centerpieces

Make your Christmas table shine with these easy ideas for festive centerpieces.

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Decorated Christmas Trees

The star of your Christmas decorations -- the tree! -- deserves extra attention. Here are four diverse looks you should consider for your tree decorating scheme.

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Gingerbread House City

This Christmas, make a snowy cookie city of gingerbread houses. It's an easy Christmas decoration the kids can help make.

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Genius Christmas Hacks

Get ready for the Christmas season with our clever tricks to simplify the holidays. Including crafty Christmas wrapping ideas, must-try ideas for hosting guests, and why-didn't-I-think-of-that Christmas shortcuts, our tips for the holiday season are guaranteed to make your life easier.

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Fresh Ideas for Classic Christmas Decorating

Guests coming for the holidays? Here's how the Better Homes and Gardens design team decorated America's official guesthouse for Christmas. See how natural materials; crisp, clean shapes; and an updated color scheme bring fresh holiday style to classic, elegant rooms.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Christmas Decor at the Nation's Guesthouse

      Blair House, built around 1824 across the street from the White House, serves as the President's official guesthouse for dignitaries. As part of the State Department's Magazine Holiday Showcase, the Better Homes and Gardens team, along with New York designer Elaine Griffin and garden designer John Carloftis, gave its parlors and courtyard fresh holiday spirit. The key? Use simple shapes, natural elements, and plenty of color and sparkle.

    • Decorate a Magnificent Tree

      Complement a strong fireplace and large-scale accessories with an equally magnificent Christmas tree, as shown in the Blair House parlor. Hundreds of Christmas lights bedeck this 9-foot-tall tree and provide a glow that rivals that of the room's elegant crystal chandelier.

    • Mini Trees for the Mantel

      In a room with strong traditional patterns and a grand mantel, go for simplicity and a change in scale with holiday greenery. A row of potted mini conifers and a swag of fresh evergreen garland catch the eye and add softness to the mantel. Fresh pomegranates carry the color from the carpet and upholstery.

    • Festive Fireplace

      If a fireplace is no longer working, use the firebox as another decorating opportunity. Here a stack of birch logs behind gleaming brass andirons adds natural, textural beauty. Christmas ornaments affixed with tacky wax add colorful shimmer.

    • Simple Decorations

      For all its splendid effect, this tree's decorations are surprisingly simple. The key to the lush look is wrapping every branch with white lights and hanging ornaments deep inside the tree as well as at the tips of the branches. And you don't need to overdo the garland. Wrap the tree only four times from top to bottom to create directional movement without overpowering the tree decorations.

    • Update Christmas Colors

      Classic ball ornaments pick up on the room's hues and make a modern statement through color: Trendy pomegranate, coral, and copper update the more traditional red, gold, and silver holiday colors. Garlands of golden laurel leaves and oak leaves with real gilded acorns reinforce the glittery effect.

    • Topped with a Bow

      A luscious bow made by layering wide satin and organza ribbons puts an easy final flourish on the tree. Balls of all sizes, from tiny to large-scale, give the tree a clean, classic look.

    • Tuck Color Under the Tree

      Coral poinsettias encircle the base of the tree, brightening the area and bringing color all the way to the floor. Choosing poinsettias in a shade lighter than the tree's coral-color ornaments offers a fresh counterpoint to the dark furnishings and mantelpiece.

    • A Christmas Forest in a Bowl

      A classic silver bowl holds a mini forest of live conifers in a bed of soft green moss. Tucking a few red Christmas balls around the trees brings color and shine to the grouping.

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      Silver Accents

      Adding a layer of silver accessories to existing furnishings makes a festive statement without being literal about the Christmas theme. Placing one large object -- a lidded silver ball -- under a table carries the eye to the floor and adds interest to the room's decor. The silver elements were chosen as counterpoints to the gilded accents in both parlors.

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      Pillows with Punch

      On the sofa, new pillows repeat the red and green colors of the holiday decorations and update the traditional setting with more graphic motifs -- red Greek Key trim, folk art vines, and a mod geometric.

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      Make the Mantel Sparkle

      Poinsettias, fresh evergreens, and gold and silver ornaments are classic ingredients for Christmas decorating. Give the trio a fresh take by piling the ornaments into clear glass cylinders and setting the poinsettias into antiqued gold glass pots. Nestle round and egg-shape silver ornaments among the greenery to carry sparkle and color across the mantel.

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      Soften the Mantel Edge

      Textured silver ornaments and red crystal garland add a modern accent to the mantel decorations. Short branches of an evergreen (such as arborvitae) work well on the mantel because the greenery drapes gracefully.

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      Mantel Decorating Made Easy

      Symmetrical mantel arrangements are the easiest because each half of the display mirrors the other. Anchor each end with a tall crystal cylinder filled with ornaments. Evenly space poinsettias between the cylinders, varying the height of the pots. Use blocks of wood to raise them to the desired heights, and hide the supports with greenery. To protect the mantel from scratches or water damage, cover it first with plastic wrap.

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      Poinsettia Presentation

      Poinsettias say Christmas in any setting, so it's the container that determines whether the style is formal or casual. Here an acid-etched finish tones down the bright gold of brass pots and gives them an aged look that blends well with the antiques in the room. Soft green moss mounded over the soil provides a natural base for the plants and covers bare stems for a full, fresh look.

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      Use a Mix of Ornaments

      Instead of filling your glass container with same-size balls in a shiny finish, try mixing shapes and sizes and choose ornaments with antiqued or acid-etched finishes. The variety gives the display more depth and interest and ties into a traditional room's sense of history.

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      Pinecone Centerpiece

      A low oval arrangement of pinecones and seedpods resting on bed of magnolia leaves decorates the formal chinoiserie tray table. Placing the arrangement on a clean-lined, square silver tray protects the furniture and adds a modern touch to the formal space.

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      Add More Focal Points

      This red lacquer desk inspired the pomegranate colors in the Christmas decorations. If you have a showstopping piece, all you need to do is embellish it with a few strategic decorations to create a Christmas look. Placing a poinsettia below the desk helps lead the eye from desktop to floor. Adding a tall, clear glass urn with bare branches calls extra attention to this corner and combines a classic shape with a contemporary element.

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      Vary the Scale for Interest

      Christmas balls and pomegranates in a medley of containers bring the room's color scheme to the desk corner. Because the fruits and balls are the same basic shape, it's important to vary the scale to avoid monotony. Fill cake platters, stemware, or drinking glasses with ornaments, fruit, and greenery to make a quick tabletop display. To protect fine surfaces, cover them with glass or a mirror.

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      Customized Christmas Wreath

      Add more texture and character to an evergreen wreath by tucking in sprigs of cedar, juniper, pine, or arborvitae. The feathery textures and range of greens will give the wreath a custom-designed look with softer edges. Shiny silver balls, pomegranate clusters, and strands of red crystal garland tie the wreath to the mantel decoration.

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      Christmas Courtyard

      Geometric shapes, shiny silver surfaces, and red berry branches take the indoor decorating scheme outside to the courtyard. Large and medium-size stainless-steel balls from CB2 float in the basins of the Victorian-style fountain and pool. Spotlights and twinkly white lights on the wreaths that line the courtyard walls illuminate this area with a romantic Christmas glow. Metal-mesh spheres hung by fine wire from the trees add to the magical effect.

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      Take Ornaments Outside

      Wrought-iron furniture stays outside year-round so why not put it to use for Christmas decorating? Mercury-glass gazing balls look like large-scale Christmas ornaments when nestled into a boxwood wreath on the table -- or scattered among urns and landscaping beds. If your outdoor area is subjected to wind, make sure greenery and ornaments are well-secured.

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      Classic Outdoor Arrangements

      Magnolia and winterberry make a stunning traditional outdoor decoration for Christmas. Large silver balls tucked into the greenery add eye-catching sparkle and modern shape -- and repeat the tabletop centerpiece motif. If magnolias aren't abundant in your area, adapt the idea with large-scale evergreens.

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      Add Unexpected Sparkle Outdoors

      Metal-mesh spheres hung by fine wire from the trees create a magical effect in the Blair House courtyard. Large stainless-steel orbs rest on the ground like pieces of contemporary sculpture, carrying the ornament motif from the tabletops, fountain, and urns to the ground.

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      Add Magic with Metal Ornaments

      Woven-metal orbs that resemble delicate balls of boucle yarn take a modern, industrial material to a new decorative level. The balls move with the air, reflect the lights of the landscaping at night, and sparkle in the sunlight by day.

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      Next Slideshow Decorate Your Mantel for Christmas

      Decorate Your Mantel for Christmas

      Let these beautiful mantel arrangements turn your fireplace into an eye-catching focal point for the holidays.
      Begin Slideshow »



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