Ben and Erin Napier's Top 7 Holiday Hosting Tips

HGTV sat down with Home Town's Ben and Erin Napier to learn more about their holiday decorating tips, hosting tricks and family traditions.

Our Home Town favorites Ben and Erin Napier know more than just a thing or two about curation. They’re experts when it comes to home renovation, town restoration, woodworking and interiors — so, of course, we’re turning to them for advice on how to create the ultimate holiday ambiance in our homes. Ahead: The couple’s top six holiday hosting tips, tricks and traditions.

1. Keep It Casual

The first words out of Ben’s mouth after we asked the Napiers to name their best holiday tips: “Potluck.” The Napiers don’t do fancy sit-down dinners for the holidays. “It’s always buffet style … everybody gets a plate,” Erin tells HGTV.

2. Get Creative With Place Settings

But if you do want to do a little something extra during holiday dinners, Ben and Erin suggest getting creative with place cards. “Marker guests’ names onto dried fall leaves. Or print off photos and have a picture of each of your guests where they’re supposed to sit,” says Ben, touting “Ben-trist” (i.e., Pinterest) as the source of his creativity.

3. Make Your House Smell Incredible

“Have a signature fragrance that everyone remembers about your house,” Erin says. For her, it’s the ever-enticing scent of oranges and cloves wafting from an aesthetic holiday staple officially known as the pomander. “You take a navel orange, prick it with a fork and put whole cloves into [the fork holes] and you make a display with them,” Erin says. “They look like very fancy ornaments, but they smell amazing.” Growing up, Erin and her mother crafted pomanders for the holidays. Now, Helen helps Erin carry on the tradition.

4. Practice Holiday Traditions As a Family

The Napiers love a good advent calendar. “During the holiday season, it’s a ritual for our family to [gather around the advent calendar] and count down to Christmas Day,” says Erin.

Photo by: Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson

5. Keep a Christmas Movie Playing (at All Times)

“Just have one on in the background,” says Ben. “It’s ambient noise.” (Permission to play A Christmas Open House on loop — granted.)

6. Make an Annual Dessert

Of course, there's a story behind the Napier's chosen sweet treat. Erin's mom gave Ben a big bag of boiled peanut butter cookies, because "no one else in the family liked them." In fact, Ben liked them so much, Erin makes them every year during the holidays.

7. Enjoy Time With Loved Ones

Whether it be with friends, coworkers or family, “The most important thing is to get together,” says Erin. “Make it your own.”

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