Today’s post features 12 of my favorite ways to make merry during the holiday season. 

I’ve included a range of Christmas activities; including holiday shopping, gift giving, crafting, decorating, table setting, outings and party ideas.

This year, I’m hopelessly behind! After returning from a wonderful Thanksgiving in Charleston, I discovered my website had come under attack. Eek! That necessitated taking the blog down for 12 hours, hundreds of dollars in restoration services, and the better part of the week on the phone with tech support. I’m still ironing out annoying issues here and there. Bah humbug!

After returning from my nephew’s upcoming destination wedding, I’ll be decorating four Christmas trees, setting holiday tables, putting up the Department 56 North Pole Village, sending out cards, finishing my shopping, wrapping gifts, and baking cookies. It’ll be a full court press to the sound of Christmas music.

I’m also determined to get back on track with new holiday posts. For today, I hope you’ll enjoy a look back at some of my favorites from last season.

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Each make merry post includes many more photos and lots of details; including several DIY tutorials. Just click on any picture or link to view the full article.

1: Spread the Joy

Since I’ve had the empty nest, one of my favorite ways to make merry is shopping to support the annual Toys for Tots drive.

In 6 Reasons Toy Gift Giving Gives Back, I explain how I love the hunt; researching the “best” toys and finding deals to stretch donation dollars. It’s important to hubby and I to help other parents and grandparents ensure their children have toys under the tree.

Right before creating this post, I stopped at a local insurance agency to drop off this year’s toys. We selected a ride-on Batmobile by Fisher Price, a pair of stuffed Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Horse Care and Pet Vet play sets by Melissa & Doug, and a FAO Schwartz stuffed dog.


What toys are on your kid’s or grandchildren’s list for Santa this year?

2: Trim the Tree

Normally, I decorate one live and three artificial Christmas trees in my home. The artificial tree in the living room holds fragile ornaments; including collections of Peacock Ornaments and vintage heirlooms. This is much safer than trusting the drooping branches of the live tree in the family room.

A golden angel holds the place of honor at the top of the tree. She was purchased in honor of my parents’ very first Christmas as newlyweds. Perhaps not the most beautiful or valuable, the angel is probably my most treasured holiday decoration.

Do you have any ornaments from when you were a kid? Maybe some passed down from parents or grandparents? In Decorate Tree with Vintage Christmas Treasures, I also share tips on documenting ornaments for future generations to appreciate.

3 & 4: Window Shop

Join me on several virtual shopping trips for decor and gift giving ideas. Begin Visiting Trax Farms at Christmastime.

Every year I make a return for live greens, to browse the vintage booths in the barn loft, and to look at all the fabulous new gifts and holiday decorations.

Here’s a large metal red truck I spotted this year. Wish I had a spot for it in my decoration-saturated home! Don’t you think it would look wonderful on a covered front porch, filled with greenery. Sistah B would love it.

Now, let’s make merry at Old Allegheny Shoppe where Previewing Favorite Christmas Shop Kicks Off the SeasonIn addition to holiday decor, they always tempt with festively set tables.

When I returned this year, I was sorely tempted to add to my collection of snowmen and Santa’s. Alas, no room at the inn!

Do you have any go-to stores you visit every year for special holiday decorations and tableware?

5: Enjoy a Night Out

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, hubby and I try to take an evening off to enjoy the annual Magical Phipps Winter Flower & Light Show.

This year, we’ll wait to make merry until my mother is in town. When I was growing up, visiting Phipps was an annual holiday tradition.

6 & 7: Craft a Wreath

Last year, I made wreaths for each sons’ front door. Of course, me being me, I had to have a theme! So, for each wreath, I chose a theme commemorating a family Christmas tradition. For son in Manhattan, it was our annual make merry trip to the farm for a tree.

An easy tutorial is included in both Bringing Home the Christmas Tree DIY Wreath and Elmer the Elf Christmas Wreath DIY — to replicate either design or use the techniques to create your own holiday-inspired wreath.

Elmer the elf has been part of my family’s Christmas tradition for over half a century. I met Elmer on Whiteface Mountain when I was three years old. Since then, he makes merry in our attic from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve every year.

You probably have an elf in your attic too — you just never knew it! How do you think Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good?

8 & 9: Set the Table

I love table setting during the holidays. Here are two different casual tablescapes featuring the same festive luncheon plates. First, an intimate table set to make merry Christmas morning.

Enchanting Woodland Tablescape for Christmas & Winter Holiday Meals features a charming deer centerpiece.

I like to mix and match tableware elements; changing up the linens, glasses, flatware, napkin rings and favors.

10, 11 & 12: Embrace the Snow

Along with winter’s chill comes the white stuff; fun for building a snowman, ice skating, sled riding or skiing down the slopes. I create a winter wonderland in the warmth of my kitchen and game room in numerous ways.

In 5 Snowman Centerpieces Decorate TableI use holiday decor and tableware to bring Frosty and friends to life. Which tablescape do you like best?

Polar Bear Frolic in Sleigh Ride Tablescape is a fun way to make merry with friends over cookies, desserts and hot chocolate.

A white wicker sleigh filled with stuffed bears compliments the fun dishes. Aren’t they fun? And no, the polar bears didn’t belong to my sons when they were small — they are mine! Just waiting for future grandchildren…

Skiing is not only enjoyed by the bears depicted on the plates above. My husband and sons adore it too! That and our love of visiting national parks, inspired the game room’s lodge theme decor. It’s also where all the moose hang out to make merry.

The setting is perfect for my Welcome to the Apres-Ski Lodge BuffetSkiing is not required to join the party. Do you ski?

I have at least twelve more ways I make merry to share with you. Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Christmas Tablescape Hop. I’m still debating between four different theme tables and/or a tour of my kitchen decorated for the holidays. 

The following Tuesday will be December’s Pinterest Challenge where I’ll share a Holiday Peacock Wreath.

Bee merry!



Link Parties

I regularly participate in: Metamorphous Monday, Share Your Style, Tablescape Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Crafty Creators, Saturday Sparks, Happiness is Homemade, and Love Your Creativity.


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