It’s no secret: Tiffany Brooks loves Christmas!
The HGTV Dream Home host and interior designer is a sucker for the joyful season and opened up to PEOPLE about how she plans to make this year feel merry and bright for her friends and family despite the unprecedented circumstances.
“It has been a crazy year, and I'm hoping we have a nice, easy landing for the finale because it has been a bumpy trip,” says the [tempo-ecommerce src="https://people.com/home/watch-here-are-the-8-hgtv-stars-competing-for-glory-on-rock-the-block-season-2/">upcoming Rock the Block contestant, 41, who also recently became a <a rel=" title="Shutterfly" context="body" sid=""/] spokesperson.
“When I first came on board, they did a survey and found that 93 percent of Americans plan on pausing holiday gatherings this year,” she notes. “So it's so important to find meaningful ways to connect and just to stay together as a family.”
One way that Brooks and her family stay connected every year, she says, is by exchanging personalized ornaments (“We're very competitive,” she says with a laugh). The exchange is how the mom of one acquired her favorite ornament on her tree — and her most sentimental holiday decoration.
“We lost my father a couple of years ago, and my favorite ornament is of my father,” she shares. “It’s a picture of him two weeks before we found out that he had pancreatic cancer. And it was taken right before he started changing in how he looked and started losing weight. It’s this amazing image of him in a suit and a tie. My father did not dress up — he was a total jeans and tennis shoe guy — but he was wearing a suit and tie, and we were able to get this snapshot of him.”
“It was actually a gift from my niece a couple of years ago,” she explains, “and that's my most prized Christmas ornament.”
In addition to her personalized ornaments, Brooks also has a few key holiday decorations that she puts out every year — although she says her decor is a lot more subdued than many other Christmas lovers.
“I am not that traditional decorator type of person for the holidays where you see a hundred reindeer out, but I do have a pillow obsession," she says. "I love swapping out my pillows, my throw blankets, my candles and my photo tiles for holiday ones.”
Brooks notes these home decor items also make great gifts for the holidays — especially when they’re personalized — because they make “treasured memories” that “can be held on for years to come,” she says. Below, she shares exactly what goodies she suggests for everyone on your list.
If you’re searching for your: significant other.
“A photo album book with a story starting from when they first met, all the way up to where they are now in the relationship,” Brooks suggests.
If you’re searching for your: neighbor.
“A personalized deck of cards!” Brooks says. “Me and my neighbors, we have poker night. There's a set of women that get together in my neighborhood circle, and we talk crazy about our other neighbors and play games," she jokes.
If you’re searching for your: in-laws.
When it comes to your in-laws, it’s all about the grandbabies, Brooks says. “I would give them a personalized pillow with their grandchild on it,” she suggests, noting you can never have too many decorative pillows.
If you’re searching for your: mom.
"Moms love hanging up pictures of their kids, different vacations and all those moments, so I would have to say photo tiles.” She suggests designing a number of coordinating tiles and helping mom set them up as a salon-style wall in her house.
“As you get older, your house seems to be filled with more and more photos everywhere, and sometimes they can look a little bit cluttered on a table. So, why not create a perfect gallery wall for your mom?”
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