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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Donna Freydkin

Tinsel and trains and trees, oh my. You know it's the season when all the glitz comes out to play.

Who doesn't want to sleigh when decorating their home, without going overboard on the baubles? So we turned to entertaining and party planning expert Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, the author of numerous books including "Wedding Inspirations: Ideas & Advice for Your Perfect Wedding." And with her help, anyone can throw the ultimate holiday bash that's both intimate and inimitable.

  1. Create a guest-book garland at the door. It’s so easy, and such a nice touch. Place a garland in your home near a bowl full of inexpensive ornaments pre-tied with ribbons. Provide sharpie pens in a pretty cup nearby and ask your guests to sign an ornament, date it and hang it from the garland.It is a great ice-breaker as people arrive at your home and provides great memories for years to come as you can pull them out every year to decorate with.
  2. Welcome friends to your home with an ornament wreath, which is so easy to make and always looks beautiful on your door. Just get a wire wreath form and use a hot glue gun to glue round ornaments around the frame. You can add ribbon, tinsel or glitter for extra cheer!
  3. How about this for the ultimate dinner table: give it a peppermint theme. How, you ask? Throw a white tablecloth over your table, then use red satin ribbon to create a peppermint shape. For the centerpiece, you'll need 2 vases. The outer one is filled with peppermints and the inside is filled with red flowers of your choice.
  4. For place-cards, glue 3 candycanes together to create a little stand to hold the card.
  5. And the little ones get their own special setting! To create a candy-themed kids’ table, throw a white tablecloth over your table and then add whimsical accents around. Santa plates to add a little extra fun and you can strew ornaments around them.
  6. For the kiddie centerpiece, make a gumdrop tree. Get a foam tree and then use toothpicks to secure the gum drops to the tree. As for the place-cards, make naughty or nice medals for the kids. You just use sticker paper and striped ribbon to make them and the kids can wear them with pride while they eat.
  7. The holidays are all about food, right? But here’s a way to avoid overeating and to share the goodness with others. Place some cute takeout containers by the door and ask your guests to help you get rid of the leftovers.
  8. Most of us have punch bowls, but they can be used for so much more than drinks. A bowl could also be filled with pinecones for a dramatic centerpiece or filled with ice to cool drinks.
  9. And let's not forget our four-legged friends. Why not get a stocking for each of your pets and hang it with the the stockings that the rest of your family enjoys? Fill it with his or her favorite treats.