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
No time to deck the house for Christmas? No worries. Use basic holiday decorations and everyday items to get your home ready for company.
All you need is the basics. Mix clay pots with glassware and ball ornaments for an easy mantel display. Use a variety of glassware to show off candles, ornaments, pinecones and greenery. Drape red ribbon in glassware and drape throughout. The next four slides show you step-by-step ways to create this holiday scene.
Keep those clay pots. They make great decorating tools for mantel displays and centerpieces. Create a unique "flower" in a clay pot with a wine glass, ornaments, and tissue paper. Simply place a wine glass in the clay pot and crumple tissue paper around the base of the glass. Fill the glass with mini ornaments for a flowerlike effect.
Have the ribbon ready. Make sure to choose ribbon that coordinates with your bag of choice. Purchase a variety of ribbon with different textures and widths. Layer them as you tie the ribbon into a bow around the handle of the bag.
Attach two ornaments near the bow of the ribbon with wire. The clean white of these sparkling ornaments goes well with the red ribbon and neutral tones of the bag.
Clip twigs and evergreen branches from trees in the yard. Place inside the tote so they lay to one side. To protect the door display from winter's elements, bring the tote inside overnight.
Prepare a seasonal arrangement with ready accessories in the kitchen. To make this look, see the next three slides.
Editor's Tip: Instead of using place cards at the table, try bright-color wide ribbons to mark each place setting. Write names on them with a white or silver fabric paint pen, then drape across each plate.
Add a variety of nuts, dried pods, and greenery to layers of the centerpiece to play off of the glossy white and red ornaments.
Dress up your Christmas boots with twigs, greenery, and ribbon for a welcoming entry. To protect the boots, layer plastic bags and stuff newspaper on the insides. Add weight with rocks or marbles to keep the boots from tipping. Tie a bow around each boot with ribbon, and secure a small piece of an evergreen branch to drape down one side.
Editor's Tip: Use bright red or green children's rain boots for a more playful arrangement.
A bundle of wintry brown twigs makes a great hanging decoration to put on a door, above a mantel, or on a wall above a buffet table. Wrap a wide rubber band around to secure the cut ends of the twigs. Tuck one branch of greens inside the rubber band (we used eucalyptus). Wrap a pretty ribbon around the top to hide the rubber band. Make a loop at the top of the ribbon to hang from a nail.