Holiday Entertaining & Decor

Fun and beautiful ideas for making your house a cozy, welcoming home for the holidays
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To avoid tangles when packing up holiday decor, wind string lights around an empty wrapping-paper tube; to save floor space, stow rolls of gift wrap in a garment bag.

Happy holidays from This Old House to yours!

This house, based on the movie Up, 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. Created by Skyla D. of Asheville, NC. See more details of this movie-inspired house.

This boat was made from gingerbread covered with a layer of fondant. The animals are molded from fondant and marzipan, and hand painted. Created by Barbara E. of Edelstein, IL and Mary Jo D. of Westford, MA. See more details of this gingerbread ark.

An old-fashioned Christmas scene made from gingerbread, royal icing, and fondant for some of the decorations. Created by Mary E. of Timonium, MD. See more details of this classic Christmas scene.

This Christmas-themed cottage is made from gingerbread, icing, candy rocks, and ice cream cone pine trees. Created by Mary E. of Timonium, MD. See more details of this gingerbread cottage.

This gingerbread beauty stands four feet tall and is made with 40 pounds of gingerbread and 30 pounds of royal icing. Created by Eduardo M. of Omaha, NE. See more details of this Grand Victorian gingerbread house.

This house looks so real that you might forget it's less than a foot tall and edible. Its builder crafted the white decorative trim using rolled-out fondant and an X-Acto knife, and created the intricate brickwork with a small paintbrush—and a steady hand.

This row of gingerbread houses weighs about 80 pounds, measures 28 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches, and took a more than two months to build. The houses feature shiplap and individual pastillage shingles. The windows are gelatin sheets, and the inside figures are made of marzipan. The trees are fondant rolled in granola, then covered in royal icing. Created by Russ R. of Orinda, CA. See more details of this Victorian trio.

A trio of preserved boxwood rings hung with ribbon decorates a vintage looking glass. About $60 for a set of three, available at Wayfair

This was made using a classic Victorian gingerbread blueprint. Jelly candy rocks make up the chimney, and chocolate fondant with corn starch snow make up the roof. Yellow edible paper creates the glowing windows. Created by Kenna N. of Louisville, KY.

Pick up a few extra paint chips next time you're shopping for a project and recruit the kids to help create these cute ornaments. Get the instructions on @mollywag

Give the gift of a whimsical miniature Christmas tree adorned with fresh flowers. The retailer, Leona Sue's Florist, is a Scott, Louisiana, outfit that's been in business since 1974 and is a Small Business Saturday partner. About $99.95; Leona Sue's Florist

Trim your tree in mod style with corner brackets from the hardware store. See the simple tutorial on @thriftyandchic/

TOH copy chief Dorothy Irwin makes these lovely cantaloupe seed ornaments from practically nothing: she simply uses Elmer's Glue-All to secure the washed, dried seeds to a cardboard base.

How to transport your holiday tree without risking life, limb, or damage to your house.

Pier 1 Imports Made of: Wrought iron and glass From Pier 1 Imports, this37"Wx14½"Dx32¼"H gold-toned bamboo bar cart is a mid-century classic. An antiqued finish gives it a vintage vibe. About $330; Pier 1 Imports

Put the beauty of salvage spindles front and center on your Christmas tree by painting them in bold, festive colors. Get the easy DIY on @LollyJaneBlog

Perfect for holiday entertaining: The oval shape of this 34.5"Wx17.88"Dx30.13"H bar cart is eye-catching and provides plenty of usable deck space to boot. About $289; Wayfair

Bake a handful of kindling or twigs—to get rid of any bugs—then chop it up to put together some tiny trees to hang on your big tree. Check out the steps on @amystowandtellu

Looking for a fresh way to amp up the festive factor? House-shaped luminaries will set a merry mood on bookshelves, tabletops, mantels, and more. Luckily, it doesn't take a village to make them in multiples. | Photo: John Gruen

Fabric wrapped around a straw base is accented with old wooden spools above the weaver's shop in Colonial Williamsburg. Setting it on a bed of evergreen, as shown, is a simple way to add volume. The evergreen is easy to switch out midway through the season when it needs freshening up.

Give that spare dowel rod you unearthed in your workshop another life in the form of this modern Christmas tree bauble. Get the full how-to—along with a construction GIF—on @ohohblog

Chopping down your own Christmas tree this year? Here's the right tool--and how best to use it.

The frequent entertainer deserves a crowd-pleasing bottle opener like this sleek Timber Bottle Axe. Stainless-steel construction and a sturdy leather loop make this attractive find a go-to for the long haul. About $18; Need Supply Co.