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Getting Ready for Holiday Guests

November 25, 2014

Whether greeting carolers at the front door, serving dinner- or cocktail-party guests or hosting friends and family for overnight stays, find some creative, crafty and downright clever ideas to make yours the ideal home for the holidays.

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A Grand Entrance

Your guests' holiday experience begins at the front door and entryway. Greenery, tasteful lights and decorations set the stage. Customize your seasonal decorations with some DIY touches. "Welcome guests at the door with a fresh wreath made from a treestand studded with things you forage," says stylist and author Matthew Mead. His wreath features pinecones, acorns, berries and roses in water picks to dress up the greenery. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead.

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Fresh Hues

"Colorful produce is a fragrant and easy way to add style to the entry," Mead says. "Inexpensive fruits like green apples, tangelos and lemons" add interest everywhere, from centerpieces to the staircase, and create engaging focal points, he says. "Berries and sprigs of evergreen add a festive touch." Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead.

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Holiday Touches

Stylist and designer, Tara Riceberg likes to decorate a foyer by adding traditional seasonal touches to everyday home accessories. Here, the hallway table houses a glittering tinsel tree, wrapped gifts and a plant sparked with a little holiday glam. "To simply transition from fall into the holidays, dress up plants with your favorite keepsake ornaments," she says. "Choose a plant like an orchid that can easily support the weight of decorations and isn't too leafy, so you get a great view of your (treasured accents)." Photo courtesy of Tara Riceberg.

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The Best for Guests

Mead doesn't miss a trick when he "feathers a nest for a guest." His checklist includes a reading light, cozy throw blankets, a big basket with bottled water and snacks. (Try mixed dried fruits and sweet-and-salty pecans in cellophane bags.) Evergreen sachets scent the room, while lavender-spritzed linens encourage sweet dreams with visions of sugarplums.

Smart tip: Mead reminds that high-tech guests will definitely appreciate an iPod docking station, an outlet strip for extra cords and a small note on how to use the household wi-fi. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead.

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