The festive season seems to sneak up on us each year, despite the décor adorning shop windows and Christmas jingles at every turn; and it’s often a mad panic at the last moment to get things done! The excitement builds as the time draws closer to fill your home with Christmas décor and of course a tree layered in ornaments.

If this sounds familiar and you can sense the looming chaos then read on – as we’ve put together a series of blog posts with tips and ideas to get everything planned ahead of time – and have fun while you’re doing it. We guarantee you will be the perfect host this festive season, from entertaining guests in style to prepping your Christmas feast for the extended family. After all, spending time with friends and family is what it’s all about.

First up is to make a detailed list of everything you need to do – from table settings to stocking fillers. Jot down random little things when you think of them, and work out what you can do in advance. Make time to browse on Pinterest and your favourite blogs for inspiration, and have a look at our Christmas catalogues too.

When it comes to presents, keep things simple and try stick to a budget – you’ll be amazed at how many affordable presents you can find if you think out the box and plan ahead. We’ve made sure your shopping experience with @home is as seamless as possible this year, with gift ideas for a whole range of different people, from stylists to coffee lovers and friends that love nothing more than a little pampering. We’ve even created an app with a mini quiz to help you pick the ultimate gift for each person, get started here. Don’t forget that you can choose from our gift-wrapping solutions, or ask for free in-store gift-wrapping at all @home stores.

When it comes to décor for your home, the sky is the limit! Get the whole family involved and start with the Christmas tree – from tinsel and lights to an array of beautiful hanging balls, snowflakes and stars. A string of pretty white paper lanterns adds a bit of sparkle to any room too.

And finally, as the big day (or week of festivities) approaches, create a festive atmosphere and set the scene with a great playlist, a well stocked drinks trolley (more about this next week) and a dash of colour with scatter cushions and pretty lanterns. We just love this copper octagon lantern for R249. Creating a cosy ambience will immediately put you and your guests at ease, and encourage them to linger longer.

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