Friends and family will adore these handy handmade Christmas gifts -- including dishware, vases, and other home accessories -- that are just as fun (and easy!) to make as they are to give. Start one of these simple Christmas crafts today so you can check everyone off your holiday gift list.View Slideshow
Be creative by decorating your Christmas tree with a favorite theme that suits your decorating style or your family's personality. We were inspired by a local festival of trees and have included tips for bringing the looks inside your own Christmas home. Bonus: We've included lighting tips to make your tree shine.View Slideshow
In need of a creative addition to your cookie exchange party or a tasty gift for friends and family? Look no further than our collection of irresistible cookie-in-a-jar recipes. Each holiday-ready gift takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and features layer upon layer of favorite cookie, brownie, or blondie mix-ins.View Slideshow
Christmas wreaths don't have to be made from traditional evergreens -- in fact, we encourage you to mix it up with eucalyptus leaves, boxwood, lotus pods, and even items that don't come from nature, such as peppermint candies and pom-poms. These fun-to-make creative designs show you how to make Christmas wreaths with unexpected shapes, dazzling colors, and out-of-the-ordinary materials.View Slideshow
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.View Slideshow
When you set the table for the Thanksgiving feast this year, try one of these ideas for dressing up (or down) your fine china.
Our pull-out-all-the-stops formal table starts with a classic ivory damask tablecloth layered with scalloped linen place mats (it's fine to use both). Next come filigree-pattern chargers, each topped with a dinner plate and salad plate. Though the chargers are gold, they blend well with the touches of silver that come from the salt-and-pepper shakers, napkin rings, flatware, and place card holders for an opulent look.
Serving dishes make beautiful cachepots for flowers. We cut water-soaked floral foam to fit the bowl, then poked in orange calla lilies, Leonidas roses, hypericum berries, and fiery dahlias. For maximum freshness, store the flowers in the refrigerator until the guests arrive.
Here's a hostess tip from the pros: Set out serving dishes and utensils in advance and label them so it's easy to remember what goes where when the food is ready to be served. A small flower arrangement that complements the table centerpiece is a nice touch for the sideboard, and an entertaining journal is a handy place to record the details of your dinner parties. Include a picture or two of the table, the menu, a list of guests, and notes on their food preferences or allergies.
The same dining room and the same china take on a very different look thanks to the table and chair backs being draped in fabric, a high-impact technique that's quick and easy to do, even on a weeknight. (We used paisley shawls, but you could use any yardage you have on hand.) The long dining table feels cozy enough for four when the chairs are gathered at one end and the food for a family-style meal is set out at the other.
The same china pattern reappears, this time with a deep bowl and a large orange plate used as a charger. (You can get colorful, oversize dishes like these by the box at discount stores.) Whereas the formal table set the china against a sea of elegant cream, the fun of this tabletop is the way it mixes several shades of orange -- in the dishes, the amber goblets and tumblers, and the napkins with their whimsical holders -- for a warm and intimate feel.
A row of rustic barley-twist wood candlesticks holding beeswax candles visually separates the seating area from the food area. An old-fashioned wooden ice bucket holds white Alstroemeria for a no-fuss centerpiece. These inexpensive blooms are almost always available at the supermarket, so there's no excuse for not having fresh flowers at home every day! Just pick up a bunch on the way home from work.