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
Get a designer look for your home this Christmas by transforming crafting staples -- paper and fabric -- into customized decorations. Pick your own palette of colors and fabrics to complement (or stand out from) your existing decor.
Dress your home for the holidays with homemade ornaments, gift wrap, decorations, and more this Christmas. Start by selecting a collection of fabrics and papers in an assortment of prints and solid colors. Choose materials within your palette and vary the scale of the patterns -- include both large and small prints. When selecting your colors, use two or three main colors with one or two accent colors. We used a palette of red and mint green, with white and gray accents.
Salvaged glassware can transform into an illuminated holiday centerpiece in minutes. Wrap the glasses (search thrift stores for varied sizes) in patterned paper, securing with double-sided tape. Add some holiday bling by spraying a few glasses with spray adhesive and then rolling them in glitter.
Dress up a plain cake stand for the holidays with this easy fringe treatment. Cut paper into triangle and adhere to the edge of the stand with double-sided tape. Use the decorated stand to serve a mountain of sugar-coated donuts, reminiscent of a snowy hillside.
Raise this banner high in celebration of Christmas. Cut triangle shapes from Fun Foam (available at crafts stores) and cover with paper or fabric. Embellish with antique buttons. Cut slits in the two corners and thread the triangle on ribbon as shown to form the banner.
Create these pretty place settings in a flash for your holiday get-togethers. Cut circles from heavy patterned paper (or copy a favorite fabric onto cardstock) and sandwich between a charger and clear plate for a charming place setting. Top each place setting with a small wrapped gift, ornament, or homemade Christmas treat.
This may just be the best thing since artificial trees -- a wall-mounted Christmas "tree" that doesn't take up much space, shed needles, or require arduous assembly. Hang small matching shelves in a triangle pattern on the wall and top each shelf with a different ensemble of Christmas decor favorites. (Go to the next slides to see some examples.) Place a greenery-filled urn at the base for the tree "trunk" and surround with pretty wrapped presents.
Make use of your fabric scraps by constructing this whimsical wreath. Cover buttons with fabric scraps, securing on the backside of the button with hot-glue. Wrap a plastic foam wreath with ribbon and trim the outside edge of the wreath tinsel. Then glue the buttons to the wreath, layering and overlapping as desired.
Add a simple white bowl of peppermint candies to one of the shelves, with a bright red package as backdrop. Use artificial snow to dust the shelves for extra glimmer.
Editor's Tip: For a fresh holiday display above the mantel (or on any wall space), hang an arrangement of white platters and plates, and embellish with sprigs of evergreen attached with double-sided tape.
No mantel? No problem. Repurpose a vintage headboard as a stocking station. Make your own stockings from your cache of fabric, or look for store-bought ones that coordinate with your look. You can also customize store-bought stockings by trimming them in fabric. For example, you can wrap the cuff in one of your fabrics, or tie a strip of fabric into a bow around the stocking's hanging loop.
Build up excitement for the big day with a countdown calendar. Wrap a piece of corkboard with fun fabric and tack on gift tags cut from coordinating papers. Add a small wrapped gift or vintage trinket to each tag. Make numbered tags for each day in your countdown and add one to the board every day until Christmas Day.
Editor's Tip: Although we've shown a board decked out for 12 days, you could easily enlarge the project and create an advent calendar.
Wrap up party favors or small Christmas gifts in red bags embellished with a band of fabric. Cut strips of fabric long enough to fit around the bag opening. Fold the top of the bag over on itself and wrap a fabric strip around it, using double-sided tape to secure. Finish the wrapping with a decorative sticker or button.
Wood sock dryers, a laundry staple from a bygone era, can be given new life as a charming Christmas decoration. The red sock-shape board shown here has round holes drilled into it for holding candy bundles. Make them by wrapping red and white candy in tulle, gathering the ends of the fabric together to make a bundle. Tie the bundles through the holes of the sock form, securing the ends in the back.
Turn a pair of castoff skates into a charming Christmas decoration. Paint polka dots onto the boots of the skates and lace with lengths of red ribbon. Tuck small wrapped packages into the skates and hang from a banister or the back of a chair.
Editor's Tip: To prevent injuries, make sure the skate blades are dull.
Ready an all-season grapevine wreath for Christmas by covering it with a thin coat of white paint. Once dry, dress the snowy wreath with vintage ornaments and small wrapped presents, securing with floral wire or hot-glue. Finish the wreath by tucking holly and evergreen sprigs in among the embellishments.
Branch out from ordinary Christmas wrapping papers and embrace the look of fabric. Make color copies of a favorite fabric and print onto paper. Standard-size printouts on 8-1/2x11-inch paper work great for smaller packages. Utilize a local copy shop to enlarge and scale your fabric for bigger gifts.
Mix and match papers and fabrics for a whimsical countdown board. Here, white polka dots on red fabric stand in as the background fabric, while the opposite combination (red polka dots on white) is used for the tag.
Decorate your Christmas countdown board with petite packages, embellished with ribbon and three-dimensional scrapbook stickers. The gifts can be just for show, or you can wrap up a small treat inside. Glue a loop of string to the back of the package so it can hang on the board.
Simple corrugated paper ornaments (available at crafts stores) can be dressed up to fit your holiday scheme. Adhere fabric to the paper forms with Mod Podge and customize each one with a unique combination of vintage buttons and baubles.
Use a small, but detailed portion of a large-scale print material to cover a corrugated paper ornament. Center the ornament over the portion of the fabric you'd like to use and trace around it. Use Mod Podge to adhere the fabric onto the ornament and top with buttons and embellishments.
Crepe paper gives ornaments a ruffled, feminine look. For this project, simply glue crepe paper around the backside of the ornament, so it sticks out slightly beyond the edge of the paper ornament. For a finishing touch, adhere a fabric-covered button to the front of the ornament.
Editor's Tip: Want to keep your vintage cards intact? Make color copies of your cards and use the reproductions to craft your ornaments.
These little ornaments are sweet and simple to make. Simply cut a square of fabric to your desired size, gather in the middle, wrap a string around the gather to secure, and tie the ends of the string together to form the hanging loop. You can easily make these in multiples to outfit your Christmas tree.
Plastic foam crafts balls become stylish Christmas ornaments with the help of fabric strips, which are wrapped around the orbs and coated with a layer of Mod Podge. Hot-glue a looped metallic cord or ribbon to the ornament top.
Two basic shapes -- one circle and one triangle -- convert to form a three-dimensional ornament made from paper. Download the free pattern and trace onto paper. Cut out the circles and fold on the dotted lines to create a triangle shape in the bottom of the circle (the circle folds into a cuplike shape). Repeat with additional circles and hot-glue the flaps together to make a sphere.
Editor's tip: Photocopy a piece of fabric and print onto cardstock to use instead of preprinted paper for this project. Or, trace the pattern onto old Christmas cards to upcycle them into pretty ornaments.
Round up an arsenal of paper supplies -- die cuts, patterned papers, stickers, and more -- and get creative with card making. Use these cards as inspiration to make your own.
Display leftover Christmas decorations and small heirloom decorations in a pretty tray on a tabletop or shelf.