My mantra for holiday preparations has always been Visual. Edible. Givable. In that order.
I start with decorating. I find that once I have taken care of the "visual" joy of the holidays (decorating the Christmas trees, making a gingerbread house, putting holiday touches in each room) I enjoy myself much more. Friends can drop by and the house looks "ready" (even though I'm not!).
Then comes baking. Once I've made a batch of gingerbread men (super easy - see my secret here), I always have something to offer my friends and family. The house smells delicious and they taste great any time of day with a cup of coffee. I also bake Nama's Sugar Cookies (stay tuned) several times each December - yum!
It is only when the house looks festive and the cookies are in the tin, that I start to shop for gifts. Coming home with bags & boxes is much more fun when the visual and edible has been taken care of. Then comes the wrapping! I always choose signature colors and try be creative with my choice of papers. This year I will be wrapping in cream and raspberry - the cream gift wrap will actually be sewing patterns and for raspberry, I'll use some beautiful double pink wrapping paper that I found at the hardware store!
May you enjoy every minute of the holidays!