Barbara 'Babs' Costello shares a last-minute Christmas decor make – and her biggest festive mistake

In an exclusive interview with H&G, the social media star shared an instant hack to elevate your home before the holiday

Barbara Costello
(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello )

Barbara Costello has adopted nearly 3 million virtual grandchildren since beginning her career as TikTok's most-loved grandma – but no holiday showcases her skills quite like Christmas. 

While many of us tune in year-round to hear Babs' home hacks and recipes, the author of holiday recipe book Celebrate with Babs is a real authority on festive traditions – so we were delighted to discover her top last-minute Christmas decorating ideas

With the 25th fast approaching, the star of @brunchwithbabs (opens in new tab) shared a small but effective Christmas decor hack with H&G: a homemade potpourri candle that, she says, you can make using ingredients you already have in your home. To our delight, it's a Mason jar craft, one of our very favorites.

Barbara Costello

(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello )

'All you need is a Mason jar. Then, in the jar, you could put rosemary, a handful of cranberries, and some cinnamon sticks. Fill it with water, then right at the top, float a little tea light,' Barbara says. Any simple tea light – from the ones you have in your home – or these from Amazon (opens in new tab) will work well.

This, in itself, is a failsafe Christmas table decor idea, but if you want to accentuate it further, you can add a fifth ingredient – an orange slice – that, Barbara says, will make your home smell lovely while looking warm and inviting. 'It's super easy, and you can probably make it with everything you have in your kitchen.'

'Especially at this time of the year, everyone has fresh fruit, like oranges, and sticks are probably around in your spice cabinet. It's easy, and things are there.'

Barbara Costello

(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello )

The Connecticut-based grandma recently partnered with Adobe Express to create stationery designs (such as recipe cards and to-do lists) for the holidays. She is, she says, committed to making the holidays easier – whether through simple decor hacks (such as this) or nuggets of wisdom to make the season more seamless. This includes being aware of the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to Christmas. 

'I host Christmas dinner every year, and [the biggest mistake] is to have too high expectations,' Babs says. '

Barbara Costello

(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello )

'Everyone thinks that to celebrate a proper Christmas, it must be perfect. By this time, the hostess or the host is exhausted and wiped. The most important thing, probably, is to lower expectations, to think about yourself a little bit, and know that it’s not about the things but the people and the memories you are making.'

Therefore, she told us, when it comes to fulfilling Christmas traditions and making the 'perfect' dinner, it is better to relax and know that 'not everything will be a show-stopper.'

You can find out more about Babs' partnership via Adobe (opens in new tab) and shop for her book below. 

Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions (opens in new tab)

Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions (opens in new tab) – $20.40 on Amazon 

In this aforementioned book, Babs shares recipes and hosting tips that will change how you host all year round. This includes advice on celebrating Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Oktoberfest, and, of course, Christmas. 

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.