Get ready for the Christmas season with our clever tricks to simplify the holidays. Including crafty Christmas wrapping ideas, must-try ideas for hosting guests, and why-didn't-I-think-of-that Christmas shortcuts, our tips for the holiday season are guaranteed to make your life easier.View Slideshow
Make the season merrier by crafting a handful of our best homemade Christmas gifts. Including cozy coffee sleeves, ingenius artwork ideas, and personalized home accents, each Christmas gift idea is sure to wow your loved ones.
Everyone knows a jewelery fanatic. Make sure their favorite earrings never go missing with a handmade jewelry dish. Roll out acrylic clay (available at craft stores) to 1/4-inch thick and trace a circle or heart shape with a toothpick. Trim off excess clay with a butter knife. Emboss clay with rubber stamps, lace, or doilies. Place a paper bowl upside down on a baking tray, and place your clay creation upside down on top, gently rounding the edges to match the bowl. Bake according to manufacturer's instructions. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper and paint with acrylic paint if desired. Seal with decoupage medium.
Pair art and organization with these practical and fun canisters. Adhere letter stickers to the side of a white ceramic canister. Use fine-tip oil-based markers to add closely-spaced dots around letter stickers; let dry. Carefully remove stickers.
Learn how to create five great presents with only a little time and a few supplies. Your friends will never guess how easy it is to make these thoughtful gifts!
Bundle up your hot drinks in cozy, stylish charm.
Make the wrap: Cut a 1-1/4-inch-wide strip of felt about 23 inches long. Adjust the length to fit a travel cup. Snip both ends of felt strip to mimic fringe; remove slivers of felt to make fringe more obvious. Tie the felt strip around the cup.
Make the tag: Glue a bead to the end of a bamboo skewer. Cut a 1-1/4x4-inch rectangle from colored cardstock. Stamp the rectangle with a suitable sentiment. Punch a snowflake from white cardstock and adhere beside the stamped sentiment. Top with a gem sticker. Trim a V-shape notch in the right-hand side of cardstock flag, glue flag to skewer, and insert in scarf-wrapped cup.
Our homemade tablet stand is the perfect Christmas gift for the baker in your family. To create the base, cut one long end of a 5x8-inch block at an angle with a table saw so a picture frame of your choice can be mounted to it. Make sure the frame is slightly larger than your tablet. Cut a 1/2-inch bevel that will hold the tablet at an angle -- approximately 18 degrees. Paint the base, then attach the frame to the stand with wood glue; secure with clamps and let dry.
On a strict budget but still want to give a thoughtful gift? Create some artistic paperweights for a friend's desk. Gather smooth river rocks and wash with water; let dry. Use extra-fine-tip oil-base markers and acrylic paint to decorate with desired colors and designs.
Editor's Tip: For straight lines, stripes, or a color-blocked design, use painter's tape to mask off a portion of the rock.
For the friend who's got a busy weeknight schedule, give the gift of a worry-free dinner. Fill one jar with pasta and one with pesto or a favorite sauce. Embellish jar lids with festive ribbon. Add white yarn to colander holes for snowflake look. Finish with printable tag and a ribbon bow.
Gift these trendy coasters to a friend who loves to entertain. Bring out the natural beauty of driftwood by using a bandsaw to cut 1-1/2-inch slices; wipe down with a soft cloth. Sand the edges until smooth and wipe again. Stack the coasters and tie with twine or ribbon. If desired, include decorative glass cups to round out your gift.
Help a friend protect their specs with a personalized glasses case. Perfect for someone who frequently travels or has multiple pairs of eyewear to keep track of. Lay a 7-inch square or fusible webbing over a 7-inch square of flannel. Arrange assorted 7-inch ribbons close together on webbing, extending the top ribbon 1/4-inch beyond the webbing. Fuse ribbons to flannel. Machine-stitch along edges of ribbon using decorative stitches. Fold top ribbon over edge of flannel and topstitch. Fold flannel over and sew edges, leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance.
If your friend is a tea fanatic, she'll love relaxing with a hand-decorated tea cup and saucer. Pick up a plain ceramic cup and saucer; decorate using a ceramic paint pen. Need some design ideas? Your loved one's initials, a favorite flower or quote, or a simple geometric pattern will work.
A beautiful vintage children's book can easily transform into a heartfelt, personalized picture frame. Using a crafts knife, carefully cut a rectangle out from the cover. To create the mat, cut a few of the inside pages into a rectangle a bit smaller than the cover rectangle. Glue the pages to the cover and tape a photo in place.
Forget giving expensive artwork this Christmas. A collection of postcards or homemade drawings from you will mean so much more. Gather a collection of floating frames and fill with artistic effects of your choice. We love using beautiful handkerchiefs, vintage postcards, or anything that will complement the decor of your loved one.
Give the gift of a trendy ombre pillow cover this Christmas. Dip sections of a purchased pillow cover in colorful fabric dye (we used RIT brand) for varying times. For the most intense color, soak for 30 minutes. Leave a portion of the fabric undyed for contrast.
If your loved one is a big fan of fun color, mix things up with a lampshade decorated with a pattern by yours truly. The secret? A bleach pen! Grab a brightly colored cotton shade in a color to match their decor, and doodle using the bleach pen to customize. Work in small sections to avoid smears and smudges. When the designs turn white, rinse away any excess bleach in the sink; let dry.
Give personalized white sheets this Christmas season for an easy and low-cost gift idea. Stitch ribbon and rickrack along the edges of the pillowcases and top sheet. For a no-sew solution, attach the trims with fusible web, available at fabrics stores. Use a stencil and fabric paint to monogram the pillowcases.
Update a collection of old bottles and vases to make a beautiful display that's worthy of any loved one. Use jewelry or glass glue to secure chain necklaces in silver and gold to each bottle or vase -- try outlining shapes, positioning as letters and numbers, or creating other simple designs. Let glue dry. When done, paint the entire bottle (chain included) in one color. We chose white, but other colors will be just as striking.
Tuck invigorating herbs inside a snowflake-topped sachet for a pretty Christmas gift. First, cut a 4x8-inch linen rectangle. Fold in half to make a square; iron. Tape off a 1/4-inch border on the front. Trim self-adhesive paper into a 3-1/2-inch square and cut out a snowflake stencil. Remove the backing and center the design on the linen. Apply acrylic paint with a stencil brush; let dry and remove stencil.
Stitch along three open edges with silver embroidery floss. Insert wool roving or cotton fiberfill and a dried herb, such as lavender, and stitch the opening closed. Stack a few sachets and tie with twine for a sweet-smelling gift.
Fashion a cute Christmas sock or small sweater into a reusable sleeve for a to-go coffee cup. After washing, cut a 3-inch section from the sock or sweater sleeve. Embellish with buttons or felt snowflake cutouts for added winter charm. Slip the sleeve onto a to-go cup or tumbler, roll the sleeve ends to hide frays, and start sipping.