I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Holiday decorating: I like greens, vibrant reds, punchy patterns, and any excuse to pull out plaid pillows and plaid ribbons for the tree. I always love decorating to the nines over the holidays—whether I have guests coming in and out at a moment’s notice or just want to capture as much warm holiday spirit as possible.

Whether entertaining for impromptu parties or virtual get-togethers, it’s always good to have some tricks up your sleeve to help you navigate with ease and keep the holidays as stress-free as possible.

5 Tips to Help Welcome in the Holiday Season

One: Open up your floorplan.

My very first tip is at first glance more useful for large holiday bashes, but this year it will serve to change up the scenery at home so you truly feel transported to a room full of holiday spirit. Create space for any extra guests or, if you have none this year, to make room for trees, end tables strategically decorated, and that Black Friday winter decorating buy that you couldn’t resist.

Christmas lights
Photo by Dasha Crawford Photography

Two: Keep the lights on.

We spend almost a whole day or more turning our homes into Christmas wonderlands, so when at home, leave the lights on and light a candle. The light from the tree subs in way better than your floor lamp and casts a lovely, glowing warmth in the room. My favorite candles from Candlefish have a delicious pine scented candle (#004) that fills the house with a sweet and evergreen scent!

Three: Bake something.

Having something freshly baked is a great way to awaken your holiday spirits and bring on the cozy vibes. It makes guests feel right at home, and if you can’t be together for the holidays, try a favorite cookie swap: plan a virtual bake-night and swap favorite recipes with family and friends, then all bake together and enjoy someone else’s favorite sweet treat. It’s a fun way to enjoy each other’s baking from afar.

Pouring Sequoia Grove wine
Pouring Sequoia Grove wine. Photo by Dasha Crawford Photography

Four: Always have bottles of wine on hand.

I like to keep a rotation of white and red wine in my house year-round to suit all sorts of drinkers that walk through the door. It’s important to always be stocked so that you can have an impromptu happy hour—even if that’s virtual or with a downsized crew this year. For the holidays, I wanted something robust and from a Napa Valley vineyard, so I settled on Sequoia Grove. Upon first sip, it was a hidden gem among giants. I love the silken oakiness of the Chardonnay, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is always the first to disappear around the table. This family-owned winery was a winning selection, and I hope to be able to make it out to Napa sometime soon and explore the property in person.

Five: Have a plethora of sharable snacks available.

I like to have a multitude of appetizer snacks on hand for when guests come over and it’s important to have a variety of things stocked up in your fridge. I typically like to have fresh veggies (broccoli, grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumber) and hummus, then I will also have olives, parmesan, and a cured meat. A little something for everyone so you can be sure your guests will always leave happy. And again, if your get-togethers look smaller or non-existent this year, the snacks are still essential: plan a holiday movie marathon at the same time as friends or family far away, cook up some of your favorite snacks, give suggestions for wine pairings.


Cynthia is the creator of the blog Darling Down South, and is a California native relocated to Atlanta, Georgia who has spent most of her life figuring out whether she was Southern or Californian. She non-ironically uses y’all now, so believes it is safe to say she is southern. Her blog captures navigating modern life with a southern-ish twist. Darling Down South began in 2015 as a southern life well-explored, whether that is seasonal and fresh recipes, a new travel destination, or reinventing personal style through home and fashion.

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