If the decorations in the stores, ads for gift giving and the kids' request for the latest toy haven't already clued you in, the holiday season is here. Celebrations begin in earnest next Thursday with Thanksgiving.
Before your guests arrive, now is the time to spruce up your home, said Sarah Fishburn, director of design and trends for The Home Depot.
"Put your best foot forward," she said. "Start at the front door and work your way back. Think of it as welcoming guests in, coming from the curb, to your front door."
Fishburn said you should focus on the rooms where you will entertain guests, such as the dining room and kitchen. She suggests projects that can be accomplished in a weekend or less like painting a room, changing out cabinet hardware or updating a light fixture.
After all the turkey has been eaten, it's time to prepare for the December holidays.
"We would recommend putting the focus on high-traffic living areas, such as the living and dining rooms, since family gatherings and entertaining are in full swing, as well as the kitchen, where everyone gravitates toward when you have a party," said Aimee Beatty, in-house stylist for Pier 1 Imports.
"The holiday season is all about embracing your style and running with it," Beatty added.
"Don't be afraid of going over the top," agreed Moll Anderson, an interior designer, lifestyle expert and author of the book "Seductive Tables for Two: Tablescapes, Picnics and Recipes that Inspire Romance," which was released Tuesday.
The holidays are when you should indulge your wildest fantasies when it comes to decorating, adding lots of glitz, glamour and sparkle, she said.
Make sure to have something appealing on the door or in the entryway such as wreaths, plants, garden tea lights or holiday decorations, said the entertaining experts at Kohl's.
You can set the tone for your celebration by using decorative pieces that mirror your invitation and party, said Sabrina Soto, Target Style Expert for Home and HGTV designer.
"Choose a style that you feel will make your guests the most comfortable whether it's a formal sit-down meal or casual cocktails," she said.
And be sure to consider the space you have available for guests and tailor your celebration accordingly, Soto added.
"If you are in a smaller living space, opt for a cocktail party where guests can spread out and maximize the space in your home," she said.
Among the hot decorating trends this season are etched hurricane glasses, mirrored vases and bronzed florals.
"A stunning look this holiday season is the delightful pairing of silver and gold," Beatty said.
"Shine is important for festive holiday decorating, and also adds brilliance all winter long as the daylight shortens and lighting becomes more important," according to Kohl's entertaining guide. "To make a big impression that costs just a little, look to candles to provide soft, glowing light and pair with shiny vases and candle holders to enhance the reflection."
"Mercury glass, especially at Christmas time, adds warmth and sparkle to you décor," said Kimberley Yant-Dominguez, divisional merchandise manager for Cost Plus World Market.
She said you can add small touches by using a single piece with other decorations or create a larger moment by grouping multiple pieces in the same finish.
Another combination that is attracting attention this year is deep teal with citric lime, according to Beatty.
Anderson said lime green decorations take the spirit of the holiday and mixes it with a bit of whimsy.
"It's a fun take on Christmas, bright and cheerful," she said.
If you want to add in a few new trendy pieces and colors, Soto suggests making a list of what you already own and then finding pieces that you can incorporate easily for flexible looks.
One of the biggest trends is having multiple trees in your home, Fishburn said. A formal tree can be set up in the foyer while a family tree with decorations the children have made can be set in the back or family room.
Having more than one tree creates destinations in your home for your guests, she added.
Beatty said that although this may seem ambitious, having multiple trees allows you to "dial-up the style for the holidays" and showcase your style and flare.
Small gestures can add a touch of the holidays without a lot of work. It can be something as simple as putting out seasonally scented soap, such as Softsoap's Scentsations limited edition Spiced Berry Bliss, Wintermint Wonderland and Enchanting Sugar Plum.
Fishburn said other simple changes include using a holiday-themed mat in front of the kitchen or bathroom sink, using a tabletop tree that is smaller and easier to decorate or hanging ornaments from a chandelier.
"One of the things I love ... it's fun to get a big glass bowl and fill it with ornaments."
Yant-Dominguez suggested switching around the chairs in your dining room or adding a chair pad to create a new look - and add comfort for your guests.
To help reduce the stress that comes along with decorating and entertaining, Kohl's recommends doing all your grocery shopping two or three days before guests arrive and setting the table the night before.
"This will cause less stress the next day and will free up more time to concentrate on other small things that pop up the day of the party," the store's entertaining experts said.
"There's no such thing as starting too early. The earlier you start preparing, the more you can relax and enjoy your party," Soto said.
She also recommends making a list of everything that needs to get done and setting deadlines. Put the biggest and most time consuming projects at the top of the list.
Once the guests have gone, Anderson said it's important to carve out a little time and create a special space to celebrate with your significant other.
"Everybody thinks Christmas is just for kids. We, as mothers - and looking back my parents did it, too - would kill themselves putting bikes together and doing all this stuff. They lived totally for the kids. But the best gift you can give your children is a loving relationship that really works. Parents need to take some time for themselves, whether it's having dessert or a nightcap in your bedroom," she said.