What’s New for the Holidays: Festive, Fashion, Food 


By Michele E. Buttelman  

Signal Staff Writer 

When looking for the latest ideas in home decorating you can’t go wrong by checking in with Etsy, the global online website for makers. 

Etsy saw searches for wreath sashes doubled; ruffled bedding up by 35%; gingham bedding up by 34%; personalized recipe boxes up by 28%; and holiday cookie cutters up by 24%. 

This means that “rustic chic” is “hot” this holiday season.  


Among other “hot” new trends in 2023, mantelscaping is your holiday décor “must do” this year. Mantelscaping is infusing your fireplace mantel with your own personal style and flair.  

Make sure to mix up the height, shape and texture of your various decorative elements. Add sentimental pieces, like old Christmas cards or family heirlooms, for that personal touch that makes your mantel the eye-catching centerpiece of your holiday home décor. 

Etsy has also seen an increase for candle lanterns (86%), ceramic trees (67%), and accent ornaments (52%), all items perfect for mantelscaping.  

If you don’t have a fireplace mantel, use the top of a buffet table, or long coffee table as a substitute. You can also put up a shelf to serve as a mantel in a focal point in your family or living room. Install hooks below the shelf to hang stockings under your “faux” mantel. 

Grandpa Chic 

In addition to “rustic chic” add “grandpa chic” to your holiday décor checklist. This masculine inspired home decor style is a combination of rich, warm tones, like burgundy, olive green and tobacco brown and traditional material such as dark woods, plaid textiles and leather. The style has become increasingly popular in recent years as people look for ways to add warmth and character to their homes with the use of antiques and “retro” furnishings.  

Holiday Food Trends 

Inflation has taken a big bite out holiday meal budgets. However, consumers are still looking to serve turkey, ham and roast beef this holiday season.  

Where consumers are saving is the trend of made-from-scratch sides. Shoppers are increasingly interested in making their own side dishes for their holiday meals, forgoing pre-packaged fare. These traditional sides include comfort foods like mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. 

One popular trend this holiday season is French Onion Soup Baked Mac and Cheese, a decadent “take” on the always crowd-pleasing mac and cheese.  

French Onion Soup Baked Mac and Cheese 

Courtesy Food Network 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 pound elbow macaroni  

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter  

4 onions, thinly sliced  

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves  

1 teaspoon granulated sugar  

1 cup white wine  

1 beef bouillon cube  

1/4 cup all-purpose flour  

2 teaspoons mustard powder  

1/4 teaspoon cayenne  

3 cups milk  

1 pound sharp yellow cheddar, grated (about 4 cups)  

1 pound Gruyere, grated (about 4 cups)  

One 6-ounce container French fried onions  

Preheat the oven to 350F. 

Add the pasta to large pot of salted water and cook until just slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, drain pasta and rinse under cold water.  

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with the thyme, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown, about 20 minutes. Add wine and bouillon cube and stir to dissolve the bouillon. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Set aside.  

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, mustard powder and cayenne. Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to boil and thicken, about 7 minutes; remove from heat.  

Stir in cheddar and 2 cups of Gruyere until melted. Stir in the pasta and pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.  

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave. Brush a 9-by-13-inch metal baking dish pan with melted butter. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared dish. Top with the onion mixture in an even layer, then cover with the remaining pasta. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups of Gruyere on top.  

Bake until heated through and just bubbling, about 20 minutes. Top with the French-fried onions and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Holiday Cocktails 2023 

The must have 2023 Holiday Cocktail is the “Frostbite.” You can find several recipe variations of this cocktail online, but here’s a recipe from a bartender friend.  

1 1/2 ounces tequila 

1 ounce blue Curaçao liqueur 

1/2 ounce white crème de cacao liqueur 

1/2 ounce cream 

Top off with whipped cream 

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice, shake vigorously, strain into champagne glass. Top off with whipped cream and garnish with crushed peppermint candy or a rosemary sprig. 

Another festive cocktail courtesy of Absolut Vodka is the “Jingle Buck.” 

1 ounce Absolut Vodka 

3/4 ounce cranberry juice 

3/4 ounce lime juice 

2 ounces ginger ale 

Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice. Stir briefly. Garnish with two fresh cranberries and one rosemary sprig. 

Holiday Fashion 

This year find your holiday fashion at the local thrift store. Vintage holiday sweaters, cocktail dresses and casual red blouses with black velvet pants are the season’s “must haves.” Classic holiday colors in shades of red and green are popular this year. Don’t forget the bling. “Sparkle” still rules.  

“Barbie” pink, the hottest color of the summer, also continues in fashion through the holidays, adorned with silver sparkle.  

Leave the holiday multi-colored light bulb necklace and earrings at home, that’s passe. Also say no to reindeer antlers. 

Happy Holidays! 

Don’t forget tradition this holiday season, it is always in fashion.

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