Gift Giving Tips to Find the Perfect Present

The gift-giving season is here … and finding the perfect present can present a challenge. While gift cards are always a great option, they don’t exactly say, “I gave this gift a lot of thought.” Instead, start brainstorming ideas for your loved ones so you can show that it is the thought that counts. If you’re finding yourself stuck for ideas, here are gift giving tips to consider:

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Start listening closely

First of all, pay attention to what your friends and family talk about. People often give hints and don’t realize it. Maybe they mention that they lost their gloves. Or perhaps they remark that they forget to plan dinner. By paying attention to the things they talk about, you can get some insight on what would make their life easier or what they need replace.

Consider their personality

Another idea is to match gifts to the personalities and pastimes of your friends and family. If your sister is a fashionista, for example, a bold scarf or faux fur purse might be perfect. If she prefers to stay home in sweats, she’d probably love a book and assortment of teas.

Think about hobbies

Also, hobbies can be a great path to finding the right gift. Does your brother love to golf? Cook? Drink wine? Consider a new tool that can help them enjoy their hobby more, or find a home accent that celebrates their interest.

Give of yourself

Maybe you have a talent that can be turned into a gift, giving something you’ve made can be extra special. Maybe you can give homemade baked goods, a painting or a hand knitted scarf. As a result, every time they use it, they’ll be reminded of your generosity.

Make it special

Finally, consider items that most people don’t buy for themselves—something special or indulgent. Cindy Crawford takes Christmas seriously, and buys dozens of gifts each year. She says she keeps a list going back five years to make sure there are no duplicates.

“I start thinking about Christmas in September,”she told AOL. “I try to find gifts that I can give to ten people. If I try to buy something different for everyone on my list, I would go crazy.”

One of her recent favorites was a champagne ice bucket. “This one is for the person who has everything. We actually gave it to friends of ours as a wedding present. It’s just cool,” she says.


Spend time thinking of the perfect gift, and you’ll show how much you care. If you need more ideas, be sure to visit the Art Van Furniture Holiday Gift Guides, with unique and fun ideas for everyone on your list.

Starry Night Holiday Décor

Tis the season to start decorating for the holidays. This year, why not think outside the box when it comes to your décor. While traditional red and green are timeless and elegant, consider choosing a palette that’s fresh and fun. Our Creative Director Broc Clark has identified three important holiday trends for 2018, each with its own distinct style and twist. First up is Starry Night. This look is inspired by the rich colors and drama of the Van Gogh painting, setting a tone that celebrates a calm winter’s night. Here are its signature elements:

Navy, Gold and Pink

Three important colors for Starry Night are navy, gold and pink. Navy and gold combine to bring the look and feel of an evening sky to your home. Pink touches provide a playful twist and a rosy glow. Imagine decorating your tree in navy, gold and pink ornaments. The combination will feel quite refined.

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Gold Finishes

The important metal of this palette is gold. Look for places to spread its richness. Gold pillows and frames would set your rooms aglow. Use gold silverware, chargers and candlesticks at dining room table settings. And decorate bannisters and chandeliers by embellishing them with gold garland.

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Rustic Accents

While Starry Night features elegant colors and finishes, rustic touches keeps things grounded and fun. Look for textures plucked from nature as well as shapes and accents that feel like they belong in the woods. This sweet Santa Gnome, for example, is sure to make you smile.

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Faux Fur

The elegant colors of Starry Night are complemented by rich textures, especially faux fur. Drape a warm minky throw on the arm of your sofa, or swap out the toss pillows on your chair or bed with some covered in faux fur.

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Forest Animals

Finally, add the feel of the forest to your holiday setting with woodland animal inspired accents. Add a small trinket or statue to a tabletop, or look for animal shapes on pillows, such as this sequined velvet variety. The sparkle will catch the light and make your room feel like an enchanted forest.

Holiday Survival Guide: Create a Home That’s Calm

The decorating. The baking. The shopping. The entertaining. The. Elf. On. The. Shelf. When it comes to holidays, the list never ends. The key to keeping calm in the midst of the chaos is taking charge of the holidays instead of letting them take charge of you. Here are five tips for a holiday survival guide that keeps things merry:

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Set holiday goals

It can be easy to get swept up in materialism and festivities, but don’t lose sight of your holiday goals, such as spend more time with family or stick within a certain budget. Decide what is important to you and your family, and make sure every holiday event or activity is in line with your vision.

Be realistic about your time

It can be easy to add more things to your plate in the midst of holiday excitement, but just because your to-do list doubles, doesn’t mean that your available time doubles, too. Manage your everyday tasks first, then build in some extra time for all of your holiday to-dos.

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Plan ahead

Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Forget perfection

We all want a picture perfect life and this ideal becomes heightened during the holidays. From a beautifully decorated home to expertly wrapped gifts to angelic children, everything should look like it came from a storybook. Right? No. The more you plan for perfect, the more likely you’ll end up stressed and unhappy. Accept that it’s not going to be perfect, and make room for Plan B.

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Take a breather

Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include taking a walk at night and stargazing, listening to soothing music, getting a massage and reading a book.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? How about two Thanksgiving dinners!! Family gatherings are important and traditional, but a growing trend is hosting a Friendsgiving, a special Thanksgiving-style dinner with your favorite friends. Hold it before Thanksgiving to create a trial run for the big day, or after to make the most of leftovers or serve something completely different. Here are some things to consider before hosting your Friendsgiving:

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Consider potluck

Friendsgiving is the perfect time to hold a potluck, making it easier than Thanksgiving because no one person will be in charge of the entire meal. Assign specific dishes or a category, such as veggies or dessert. Or be bold and enjoy whatever dishes show up in hand.

Set a theme

Another dinner-planning idea is to choose a theme and have guests bring something that fits. For example, set a theme of Italian, Chinese farm-to-table or even deep-fried. This could be a nice break from your Thanksgiving leftovers.

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Think about drinks

If you are serving alcohol, plan how you’ll stock your bar. You can make it easy and serve just wine or beer. Or create a special cocktail for the day, such as a special martini or mixed drinks. Or set out what guests will need for the most common drinks.

Make sure to accommodate special diets

Check in with friends and see if anyone has food allergies or intolerances, or follows a special diet, such as vegan or Paleo. Then make sure you have enough on your menu to fill them up.

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Decide if you want a special décor

Thanksgiving dinner usually includes a special holiday tablescape with a centerpiece, place settings, napkins and place cards. Friendsgiving, however, can be as festive or casual as you wish.

Do you hold Friendsgiving? Share you favorite tips in the comments below!

Setting a Holiday Table: Dress Up Your Dinnerware in Style

You could go out and invest in new dinnerware for the holidays. Gorgeous designs that are perfect for holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are festive and fun. But you can also easily dress up your existing dinnerware with some easy and inexpensive details that will give you the same result. Here are five tips for setting a holiday table dressing up your existing dishes and making them shine for the season:

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1. Purchase New Salad Plates

Instead of investing in an entire set of china, why not purchase salad plates that you layer atop your everyday dinner dish? The single piece won’t cost a lot, and the top plate is the star of the setting. Choose something for the holiday or season, and it will look like you went all out.

2. Use Chargers

Classic white plates look chic and elegant when you place them on a charger. Choose luxurious silver or gold for a classic look. Or brighten up the table with jewel tones, such as ruby, emerald or sapphire. We love this snowflake charger craft idea. You’ll be surprised at the impact a charger can make when setting up a holiday table, and it can happen in a snap.

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3. Add the Details

Little things can make a big impact, and your choice of salt and pepper shakers, napkins and napkin rings can set the tone. Instead of classic white napkins, choose a bold color or pattern. Or stick with white and let the ring take center stage. You could even go simple, and tie a sprig of evergreen with twine or ribbon.


4. Roll Out the Table Runner

Add flair by using a dramatic table runner. Not only does it introduce a theme; a runner allows the natural beauty of your table show through. You’ll find a wide assortment of options designed for your specific holiday, or head to the fabric store and purchase a piece of velvet, satin or even faux fur. You could also use a beautiful plaid blanket when setting up a holiday table; the contrasting texture will create a warm, festive setting.


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5. Think About Place Mats

Place mats offer another design opportunity, and they help protect your table. Choose a color that enhances your holiday décor, or personalize a set of your own with this fun burlap place mat craft project.

We’d love to see how you create a festive tables design for the holidays. Post your photos in the comments below!