25 Ideas & Tips for Decorating & Preparing for the Holidays

Today I’ve pulled together some of my favorite ideas for decorating and entertaining for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. Hope you find this helpful as you decorate, craft, cook and prepare for your festive holiday parties and gatherings.

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Turkey Napkin Fold

Both the adult and kiddos will love this napkin fold. Easy to make, too!

Turkey Napkin Fold for Thanksgiving Table Setting


Decorate a Mantel for Fall and Thanksgiving and an Autumn Fire Screen

I look forward to pulling this fire screen every fall, it’s a favorite.

Autumn Fall Firescreen Depicting Cardinals and Birch Tree


How to Repair Those Dead Christmas Tree Lights

Sometimes the fix is an easy one, but the secret is in knowing where to look.

Easy Repair for Dead Christmas Tree Lights


Pottery Barn Inspired Garland Tutorial

I was obsessed with this picture when I first saw it in a Pottery Barn catalog. Since the cost of the garland was outside my holiday decorating budget, I decided to make my own. You’ll find all the steps to making your own PB inspired garland in this tutorial.



Here’s how the garland looked on my front porch one year. This year, I’ve been searching for 10 foot garland, I’d love to redo this garland this year, following the same steps as before in my tutorial, just using garland that’s a bit beefier and about a foot longer. It’s hard to find realistic looking garland that’s 10 feet long and not 9, but that extra foot would help since the columns are pretty fat. Maybe I should look for some that’s even longer and wrap the columns 4 times. lol

Christmas Porch with Snowflake Wreath and Lit Garland


An Insanely Awesome Champagne Punch: Great for Parties or a Christmas or New Years Brunch

This is by far my favorite drink to serve for a holiday party. Makes several batches because this punch is always a big hit and goes really fast. Also, it’s a good idea to have a few copies of the recipe on hand, because everyone always wants to know how its made.

Insanely Awesome Champagne Punch 2


The Easy Way To Hang Wreaths on Exterior Windows, Even Those Second Floor Windows

This has to be my favorite decoration for the Christmas holiday season, hanging wreaths on all my windows. It’s super easy to do and this tutorial shares all the details.

Easy Way to Hang Wreaths on Exterior Windows for Christmas


Set Up A Hot Cocoa Bar To Enjoy All Winter Long

I had so much fun putting this Hot Cocoa Bar together and you’ll find the link to the tutorial for making the sign in this post, as well.


Make This DIY Sign for Your for Your Hot Cocoa Bar

In this tutorial, I share very detailed steps to make this Hot Cocoa sign.



An Inexpensive Way to Wrap Presents & Turning on ALL Your Christmas Trees At Once via Remote

Christmas Presents Wrapped in Craft Paper


Christmas Tree Napkin Fold

A fold that looks complicated, but really isn’t. Tip: Works best when using two napkins…explain why in the tutorial.


Twas the Night Before Christmas

Set the scene for a nostalgic Christmas, may remind you of a past Christmas from your childhood.

A Visit From Santa


Decorate Your Door With Triple Wreaths: Grandinroad Knockoff

It took me a while to figure how to hang triple wreaths down my front door. I’m sharing how I did it in this tutorial.

Front Porch Decorated for Christmas with Triple Wreaths on Door and Pottery Barn Knock-off Garland


21 Drinks Great for Holiday Parties

So many wonderful, easy-to-make recipes in this post!


Cranberry Trifle for Christmas Dessert 

This trifle is soooo good and super easy to make. Your guests will think you slaved all day just for them. 🙂

Cranberry Trifle, Great for a Christmas Dessert_wm


Make a Colonial Williamsburg Apple Tree for Your Holiday Table

This is probably my favorite centerpiece to make for the Christmas holidays. I love that’s it’s made from all natural ingredients available in the grocery store and/or you own backyard.


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Served this soup for one of my Christmas parties and it was a big hit.


Emergency Substitutions for Common Ingredients

Emergency Substitutions for Common Ingredients


Christmas Mice Ornaments, Make Great Present Toppers Too!

Top off your presents with these adorable easy-to-make Christmas mice.


15 Minute Holiday Centerpiece

Such a fast and easy way to dress an entry table. Works great as a table centerpiece, too!

Easy Christmas Centerpiece You Can Make in 15 Minutes Using Greenery from Your Yard 2a


Decorate a Lantern, Mailbox or Pergola for Christmas

This is a really easy arrangement to make for a gate, post, lantern, pergola or mailbox. If you don’t have a magnolia tree in your yard, use holly or another long-lasting evergreen. There’s a lot of faux greenery available out there that would work well for this, too.

Lantern Decorated for Christmas


Decorate a Porch for Christmas

Decorate your porch and enjoy it all through the holiday season, even if you’re just viewing it from inside your home, snuggled up by a warm fire.

Between Naps on the Porch Christmas Porch


Snowman Spice Cake Dessert and Centerpiece

Bake this adorable Snowman Spice Cake for a festive holiday dessert! He’ll make a great centerpiece for your holiday table!

Snowman Spice Cake Image


Make a Yummy Roasted Pumpkin Soup for Chilly Fall Days

Delicious Roasted Pumpkin Soup Recipe for Fall-Autumn


Decorating with Preserved Boxwood Wreaths

Decorate Glass Cabinet Fronts with Boxwood Wreaths


Tour the Home in the Movie, A Christmas Story

I had the opportunity to go inside the actual home pictured in the movie, A Christmas Story during a visit to Cleveland. What a fun time that was!


I even hid under the sink like Randy did! lol

Under the sink in A Christmas Story House


Hope you enjoy these holiday decorating and recipe ideas and that they make your holidays a bit less hectic and a lot more festive!

Love you, and thanks for being here reading, I cherish your visits and always appreciate your lovely comments!

As I always say and hope you never forget, YOU are the very best part of Between Naps On The Porch!

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  1. Wonderful ideas and thank you so much!

  2. Thanks for the tips Susan and my heart always skip a beat when I see the PB porch and your version of it!!

  3. Great ideas! I’m already feeling behind! LOL

  4. EnJOYED!! check! franki

  5. Terry Beaudry says

    As always Susan, you have the best tips ever! I want to do every single one of these ideas this year as they’re all wonderful! Thank you for all you do to inspire the rest of us to make the best of our homes!

  6. Susan,
    I Love all your tips! I remember reading last year about your boxwood wreaths and how quickly they sell out. I bookmarked the site and am very happy that I ordered my wreaths weeks ago so I am ready to go. They way you decorated for a “nostalgic” Christmas was amazing! I always like to leave at least one item unwrapped with a bow. You certainly make me want to jump in and make everything magical! Thank you!

  7. Hi Susan! I’ve also decided to wrap gifts with kraft paper this year and can’t wait to try some of your great decorating ideas.
    Thanks for the very energetic post today. There’s lots of fun stuff in there!

  8. Terrific tips, I’ll be snatching a few of those ideas.
    Thanks for consolidating all in one place.

  9. Susan, these are great tips that will be refered back to time and time again!

  10. Oh, I’m stealing a few of these ideas adapting for what’s available here in Mexico. Thank you so much! I might just take some pictures!

  11. donna a zoltanski says

    I adore your decorating! I need that feather tree!

  12. Look at all you’ve done over the years! The entry centerpiece with the oranges a long-time favorite. I’m in the holiday spirit now!

  13. You’ve got some great ideas assembled here, Susan. I pinned at least one, and remember reading most of these. Great work, thanks!

  14. Nancy Dellinger says

    Hi Susan!
    I really enjoy your ideas and appreciate all the time you devote to your readers. I spent a lot of time today rereading many of your blogs and finding all kinds of good things. Thanks so much for being YOU!

  15. Marlene Stephenson says

    Lots of great ideas and reminding me of things i have seen. I love your home, it is so warm and cozy.

  16. Juanita in OH says

    All of your ideas are so helpful and beautiful. The sweet potato made my mouth water. I still LOVE the photo in the cabinet! TFS.

  17. Susan,
    I can just feel the love and warmth come thru!
    You are a second Martha Stewart and such a creAtive lady! I sent you a pic a few years ago of my triple wreath design on my front door and I’m doing it again this year, even if it’s only my son and hubby on Christmas.
    I hang the wreaths with dental floss!

  18. Susan,
    Would you mind telling me where the silver lamps were purchased? These would really
    Look beautiful on my dining room buffet.

    • Thanks, Ann! I purchased those from Speer Collectibles about 15 years ago during one of their warehouse sales. They were a lamp manufacturer that sold to higher-end furniture stores, and a couple times a year they would have warehouse sales. Unfortunately, they’ve gone out of business now. The one bad thing about those lamps is that that they are silverplate and need to be polished every couple of years, and I’m worried I’m going to polish through to whatever is underneath each time I polish them. I may have to look into having them re – silver-plated one day.

  19. About 20 years ago, we moved to a new house and I wanted a very long garland (about 20 feet) to swag on a screen wall. At that time, Michael’s sold the garland from a roll and I was able to get the length I needed. It was not as full as I wanted so I bought two 20 feet lengths and wound them together. I added white lights and red bows and I have been using that same garland for 20 years!

  20. I especially loved this post! I have a question and hoping you have time to help me. I would like to do the same in hanging wreaths from my windows, however, not all my windows are square/rectangular. I have two that are to the front of the house and are large rounded windows – one is for the dining room and the other for the formal sitting area. and of course those windows don’t open. How should I handle those? I have been looking through the internet and have yet to find a house decorated for Christmas with those kind of windows. (Built 1990). Thank you for your time!

  21. I love that you put all of these favorite posts of mine in one place! Now I can pin it and find it when I need it. I especially love the Williamsburg Apple Tree…one of my very favorites. I did check to see if the Williamsburg online shop had the wooden tree forms and they don’t, but they have a black metal one that might work but seems a little pricey at $60. It holds twelve apples when stacked but they only show it with 7 apples so not sure how if it would be as pretty as yours. I think I’m going to try to make one.
    Thanks again!

  22. Thanks for all these tips! I am pinning away!

  23. Carolyn Bowman says

    Love all of your ideas. Could you please give me a source for the dinnerware
    in the green hutch.

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