12/13/2011 09:38 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

A Home for the Holidays

It's no surprise that so many holiday songs praise it and pine after it. Home, we're reminded again and again, is at the heart of the season that's now just around the corner. From giving thanks in November to eight nights of light in December, 'tis the season to create the memories that turn a house into a home.

Very recently, a couple purchased one of our Blu homes for their land on Vashon Island, Washington. From the second the house was complete, they got down to the business of settling in. Their furniture, art, and keepsakes -- memories from years of military service, children now grown and decades of marriage -- were unpacked and arranged. But owner Rich Mintz told me recently that to truly make it their own would take something more. It would take a holiday. A new space is an opportunity -- for new memories and new traditions. With family around the table, the new walls will start to feel like a true home.

Creating houses like Rich's -- warm spaces where people will want to make their lives -- is my job and my passion. But how those houses turn into homes is up to the people who live there. They have the exciting chance to paint their completely blank canvas however they wish.

Another favorite example of this came several years ago when a then-single friend of mine moved to a new house the week before Christmas. The first thing she did -- before unpacking even a single other box! -- was to make oatmeal cookies in her new oven. She told me that it made the new space smell and feel more like her old, cozy, lived-in apartment. Every year since, she has baked cookies on Christmas Eve to commemorate the day she moved into the house that she now shares with her daughter and husband.

It may be true that there is "no place like home for the holidays," but luckily what makes it feel that way -- be it the smell of baking something sweet or a big, noisy crowd of friends -- is all up to you.

Are you in a new home this holiday season? Please share your experience in the comments section below! How about in the past -- what did you do to make your new house feel like a home for the holidays?