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Holiday Entertaining & Decor

Fun and beautiful ideas for making your house a cozy, welcoming home for the holidays

Red gingerbread dough painted with red food coloring was used for the look of stained wood in this Nutcracker created by Barbara A. of Florham Park, NJ. The nuts in the bowl, the green bag, head and votive candle were made from molded Rice Krispie treats covered with fondant. The hair is thin rice vermicelli. A Dremel, level, rulers, drill, sanding block, and paint brushes were used to build the Santa nutcracker. |

Add a low-maintenance glow to your fireplace with a large-scale candelabra. Nine-candle candelabra, about $65 from | Photo: John Gruen |

Replant entry pots with winter-hardy specimens, such as dwarf evergreens or boxwood, and ring the base with English ivy and a few faux berries for a festive shot of color. | Photo: John Gruen |

Except for the key, this clock by Ann B. of Cary, NC is made entirely of gingerbread. The grape leaves were all formed and veined by hand. Two different colors of gingerbread dough were combined to give the clock a wooden look. The gold key is made from gum paste. |

How to make your own inexpensive Eucalyptus wreath and enjoy the fragrant smell all winter long. | Photo: Jean Allsopp |

Nails and staples can damage your house and the wiring of holiday lights. We recommend zip ties or plastic clips that can be hooked onto gutters and shingles. Our favorite: Omni All-in-One Clip, $9 for 100 from christmaslightset... | .Photo: Fancy/Alamy |

The gum paste fairies in this Tree House, by Gabriella A. of Easley, SC, have faces drawn on with edible ink. The textured wood was made using chocolate fondant. | Photo: Wright Creative |

This house, created by Skyla D. of Asheville, NC, is based on the movie Up and earned the first place prize in the teen division of the 2010 National Gingerbread Competition. Each character was sculpted from fondant and gum paste. The colorful balloons are pieces of spaghetti topped with jelly beans. | Photo: Wright Creative |

This 1930 Model T Ford, created by Ann B. of Cary, NC, is equipped with windshield wipers, gear shift, headlights, and horn. Santa, Rudolph, and Ernie Elf are along for the ride. The car, tires, and inside upholstery are made entirely of gingerbread. The toys and figures are made of fondant. |

How to transport your holiday tree without risking life, limb, or damage to your house. | Photo: Chuck Franklin/Alamy |

The silvery branches of the Fraser Fir turn slightly upward, giving it a full, compact appearance. Its fresh, mild fragrance is subtler than the balsam's. Thick branches will hold most decorations; it's easy to reach interior branches, so cords are less visible. | Photo: ©Bruce Coleman Inc./Alamy |

A thin, spire-like top sets the pyramid-shaped Balsam Fir apart. Short, long-lasting dark green needles have a strong evergreen scent. Dense limbs can hold weighty ornaments and larger globe or C-bulb lights. | Photo: Neil Fletcher and Matthew Ward/Getty Images |

  • Julie Hahn

    If you click on the image it takes you to the TOH site. The answer is: Balsam Fir

  • Sonja Charles

    My face is red. i actually clicked on the image and missed that. Thank you!

  • Julie Hahn

    It would have made more sense to have it on the text here. :-)

  • This Old House

    Sorry about that folks. I changed the caption to include the type of tree. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Julie Hahn

    Thanks! :-)

See all 7 comments

The most popular tree in the U.S., the Scotch Pine is symmetrical and dense-looking with bright green needles that resist shedding and have a lasting, pleasant piney aroma. The branches are sturdy, so bring on the heavy decorations. | Photo: DDCoral/ShutterStock |

Elegantly conical white pine Christmas trees have long, flexible needles and minimal fragrance. More of a tinsel-and-lights tree; soft needles can cause ornaments to slip. | Photo: Nature Photographers Ltd./Alamy |

The pros and cons of buying a blue spruce Christmas tree. | Photo: WILDLIFE GmbH/Alamy |

Before buying your Christmas tree, read our guide to five of the best-selling conifers this season. | Photo: Blend Images - Ariel Skelley/Getty |

For this Colonial Hall, Christopher C. of Cedar Park, TX., cut the gingerbread pieces to size before baking. The house is lit from within with a string of 50 lights and is topped with shingles made of cinnamon cereal. |

A first gingerbread house-making attempt by Beverly C. of Grand Junction, CO, this Cake Bakery was created using an X-Acto knife to trim the windows, a jigsaw for the base, and a brick impression mat on the walls. |

Just in time for your holiday party, we show you how to build a slender cocktail hutch with a handy and attractive place to hang glasses, store wine bottles, tuck bottle openers and napkins, and display spirits. | Photo: Ryan Benyi |

This Christmas-themed cottage, created by Mary E. of Timonium, MD, is made from gingerbread, icing, candy rocks, and ice cream cone pine trees. |

Created by Shirley T. of Palm Bay, FL, this Peppermint Diner was created using molded forms from aluminum roof flashing and a pop rivet gun. It is lit inside, and the sign on the roof rotates slowly. It is made entirely of gingerbread, fondant, and candy. |

This gingerbread house, created by Eduardo M. of Omaha, NE, stands four feet tall and is made with 40 pounds of gingerbread and 30 pounds of royal icing. |

An old-fashioned Christmas scene made from gingerbread, royal icing, and fondant for some of the decorations. |

Cute cottage crafted of brown fondant and white royal icing. The decorative flowers are made from gumpaste, which can be sculpted like clay before it hardens to a porcelainlike state. | Photo: Wright Creative |

Follow these simple instructions--from Cal Crary, FlowerSchool New York--to build a handsome holiday garland made of magnolia leaves and juniper. |