As holiday decor springs up and seasonal tunes begin to flood the airwaves, it's time to embrace the most wonderful time of the year. If you didn't line up on Black Friday, and decking the halls is something you typically save for the last-minute, not to worry.
Lifestyle expert, celebrity stylist and television personality Robert Verdi shares his tips for putting together a beautiful and low-stress holiday - including his picks for great last-minute gifts that can be found at your local big box, grocery or drug store.
Set the stage
Instead of decorating your home in a sea of red and green, consider using more neutral shades like silver and burgundy. Silver is one of the easiest colors to decorate with for the holiday because it transitions seamlessly into the new year. Use mercury glass balls, silver balls and white for a festive, wintry look that you won't tire of come Dec. 26.
Hostess with the mostess
The holidays are the time of year for gatherings. If you're attending an event, always come prepared with a small gift for your hostess. If you're hosting, be sure to stock up on extra food and beverages for unexpected guests. To make any spread more stylish, simply arrange meats, cheeses and other small bites on slate tiles from a home store. Not only is a tile attractive and durable, but you can let guests know what delicacies they're be sampling by writing on the slate with chalk.
Being a thoughtful gift-giver isn't necessarily about purchasing lavish, over-the-top gifts. Often, it's best to give gifts that you know the recipient will actually use. For someone who loves to cook,
consider loading a basket with the ingredients for a favorite recipe, pretty hand towels and other kitchen goodies. Or, for the beauty-lover in your life, stock up on P&G Beauty gift sets full of must-have products from Olay, Venus, CoverGirl, Herbal Essences, Pantene and Secret to spread holiday cheer to your children's teachers and babysitters.
Pick up high-tech finds like the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System or Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips for your beauty-focused friends. Best of all, these gifts are available at the stores you shop at every day, which means one less trip to the mall.
The finishing touches
You don't need to spend a fortune to put glamour into your gift wrapping. Brown craft paper makes a great holiday gift wrap because it's earthy, inexpensive, and can be customized with ribbons, stamps or stickers. Or, add a little touch to any regular gift to make it visually appealing. For example, when you give a candle, present it with long matches and a beautiful bow.
Remember, the holiday season should be a time for reconnecting with friends and family, so no gift is complete without a thoughtful hand-written note.