It's indisputably the best time of the year—the season for spending time with loved ones, giving to those who are in need, and, of course, festive decorating and fêting. The latter part, well, it can sometimes creep up on you and throw some unwanted stress your way, particularly if you want everything to be just right.
Perfectly wrapped gifts, trimmed trees, and beyond are all within your reach, and, if you tap some (or all) of the retailers below to be your guides, it'll be that much easier to make it through December still smiling. From in-store ornament and wreath DIY sessions, to free knife sharpening and even full-on decorating services, here are some resources to help you plan a headache-free holiday.
Gift Wrapping @ The Container Store
If you're like me, you're oftentimes more excited about the presentation of a gift than the gift itself. So when I found out that The Container Store transforms their shop into a Gift Wrap Wonderland for the holidays, I literally couldn't contain my excitement (see what I did there?). They have everything you would need to impress with your wrapping skills: paper, bows, ribbon, gift boxes, gift totes, tags, tissues, tins and tape—the list goes on and on. But what the heck do you with all of it? Luckily Gift Wrap Wonderland gives in-store wrapping and bow demonstrations every Saturday and Sunday throughout the season to help you look like you know what you're doing.
DIY Decorations @ Anthropologie
Any time I can find an excuse to stop into Anthropologie, I jump on it. It's my happy place, where all of my worries and any bad things in the world cease to exist. There's a certain magic in their artisanal products and the way they're displayed. And when the holidays roll around, they host DIY sessions to teach you how to make centerpieces, paper wreaths, cardboard garlands and floral arrangements, and bring the same magic into your own home. They'll show you how to style food to impress your guests, and they even have workshops where you can get in on their creative action and help them with their window displays.
Dinner Prepping @ Williams-Sonoma
When you're preparing for the holidays, Williams-Sonoma is a must for your shopping destination checklist. Not only will they sharpen your knives for you (the first is free and each additional knife is $5), but they'll teach you how to prepare a holiday feast. Their culinary specialists host hour-long technique classes that will have you cooking like a pro. (I'm going mainly because the classes include tastings...#freesamplesforlife)
Effortless Decorating @ Pottery Barn
Walking into Pottery Barn is like coming home after you've been away for a long time. It's comfortable, warm and welcoming, and it feels like you can count on it to always be there with a timeless sense of style. Starting at $179, you can bring this feeling home for the holidays. The store will lend you two associates to trim your tree with lights and ornaments and hang your décor. They also offer services to help you plan and host the perfect party, setting the dining table and creating your home bar.
Gingerbread Houses + More @ Michael's
Michael's is my other happy place. I can spend hours in there—shopping, scheming, making faux hydrangea arrangements and then realizing I don't actually need them. They host demonstration classes all year and especially during the holidays, they're sure to get you in the spirit. Check your local store just to be sure, but on December 3, you can join them in making an impressive gingerbread house for just the cost of the kit. And on December 10, kids can make an adorable elf-themed clay pot in the morning and adults can make handmade gift tags with all the trimmings in the afternoon; you only need to purchase the tags and the rest of the materials—stamps, washi tape, etc.—are included, giving you gifts you'll want to keep for yourself.
Handmade Cards @ Paper Source
I'm really bad about actually sending people hand-written notes, but I love the artwork and the romance of stationery. The crafting experts at Paper Source share my enthusiasm (although they're probably better about putting it to good use), and they host free holiday demos throughout December to get you crafting cards and table accents with chalk board-style stamps, washi tapes and glitters that add a touch of holiday-inspired whimsy. You'll be able to invite, host and thank your guests with handmade flair.
Know of another shop that offers holiday decorating workshops or services? Share in the comments below!