Christmas Gifts: 20+ Cute and Clever Ideas to Try

Friends and family will adore these handy handmade Christmas gifts -- including dishware, vases, and other home accessories -- that are just as fun (and easy!) to make as they are to give. Start one of these simple Christmas crafts today so you can check everyone off your holiday gift list.

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Three-Step Christmas Centerpieces

Create a striking holiday centerpiece in just three steps. We have a special secret for the step one: How to lay the table runner.

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Creative Christmas Tree Themes

Be creative by decorating your Christmas tree with a favorite theme that suits your decorating style or your family's personality. We were inspired by a local festival of trees and have included tips for bringing the looks inside your own Christmas home. Bonus: We've included lighting tips to make your tree shine.

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Christmas Sugar Cookies

Turn a simple sugar cookie into a masterpiece this Christmas. Whether you like your sugar cookies soft or crisp, simply decorated or frosted with intricate designs, these sugar cookie recipes are sure to sweeten up your holiday season.

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Deck a Christmas Staircase in Two Steps

It's so simple to decorate your staircase for Christmas! Get our damage-free, two-step plan to ensure that the holiday spirit extends from first floor to second.

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Creative Christmas Wreaths

Christmas wreaths don't have to be made from traditional evergreens -- in fact, we encourage you to mix it up with eucalyptus leaves, boxwood, lotus pods, and even items that don't come from nature, such as peppermint candies and pom-poms. These fun-to-make creative designs show you how to make Christmas wreaths with unexpected shapes, dazzling colors, and out-of-the-ordinary materials.

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Genius Christmas Hacks

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.

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Decorate Your Mantel for Christmas

Let these beautiful mantel arrangements turn your fireplace into an eye-catching focal point for the holidays.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Classic Red & Green

      Fresh pomegranates pop against a fragrant evergreen garland and a row of mini conifers. Sprigs of red crystals tucked into the evergreens repeat the color of the pomegranates on a smaller scale and add some sparkle.

    • The Right Formula

      Outfit your mantel with a variety of objects that feature a common denominator. Here, natural elements in classic red and green create a cohesive look -- from the unassuming green pine boughs to the red tulips and calla lilies. The grapevine star adds a textural backdrop to the mantel display.

    • Christmas Garden

      Poinsettia bracts in shades of red and pink stand proudly in mismatched glasses standing in as vases. The different shades of pink soften the look of the crisp white mantel and surround.

    • A Balancing Act

      Have a wide assortment of pieces to display? Arrange them in a symmetrical pattern for an organized -- not cluttered -- look. Each side of this mantel mirrors the other. A hurricane and bottle-brush tree ensemble, along with two stockings, dress each side. The symmetry extends to the surrounding built-ins, which are outfitted with more Christmas collectibles and matching wreaths.

      Editor's Tip: The objects used to decorate the mantel are carefully chosen for size so they don't interfere with the television screen.

    • Vintage-Look Display

      Add interest to your Christmas mantel by using chipped white wooden furniture legs as pedestals for tarnished metal containers.

    • Simple Seasonal Change

      Dress your mantel in a flash with a statement-making wreath. Although unadorned, this handsome green wreath is eye-catching because of its size, which is perfectly scaled to the handsome fireplace.

      Editor's Tip: Hang the wreath over a mirror for a reflective element. Mercury glass candleholders and votives add gleam to the scene.

    • Merry & Bright

      Add a pop of citrus to your mantel with lemons, limes, kumquats, and clementines artfully arranged on trays along with miniature sparkling ornaments. Fill in the open spaces with springs of greenery and classic white pillar candles.

      Editor's Tip: Highlight the trays with no-sew runners. Using a 1/2 yard of white felt from a crafts store, cut a piece for each arrangement that is slightly narrower than the tray and long enough to hang over the mantel (but not too close to the hearth for safety reasons). Snip the ends to a point.

    • Vintage Vision

      When decorating for Christmas, take the opportunity to show off your favorite collectibles. This grouping of brown-and-white transferware inspired the creation of complementary stockings and a sofa pillow. Touches of red were added for warmth.

    • Pretty Peppermint

      Candy canes, vases of red-and-white amaryllis, and a garland of fluffy pom-poms across the mantel create a sweet scene for Christmas.

      Editor's Tip: To enhance the look, add greenery and plump red pomegranates to the lineup.

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      Forest Flavor

      Take your mantel-decorating cue from the facade's color. This warm green fireplace is outfitted with a simple garland made of fresh evergreen branches. Snowy white stockings hang from the mantel, pointing toward the birch logs below.

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      Happy Together

      All the elements -- oil painting, wall sconces, garland, tree toppers, and floral picks -- work together to create this mantel display inspired by a classic winter scene. The bright blue ornaments add a jolt of energy.

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      Puppy Love

      Small bits of color go a long way against a neutral backdrop. Here, a handful of bright glass ornaments carefully arranged along the mantel wake up the white surround. Year-round porcelain dog figurines also welcome Christmas by being outfitted with whimsical collars made of wreaths and ribbons.

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      Traditional Greens

      Lush swags of mixed greens layered along the mantel add an immediate holiday feel. Silver and purple ornament balls and coordinating purple ribbons add more holiday shine.

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      Country Classic

      Top a fireplace with an antique garden gate, then soften the rusty patina by lining the mantel with clipped evergreen boughs and suspending a simple boxwood wreath from a dramatic red velvet bow. For a dash of sparkle, tuck small frosted Christmas tree decorations in the greenery.

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      Music to the Eyes

      Shiny CDs topped with inexpensive snowflake ornaments string across the front of this mantel for a sparkling display. Use clear industrial-strength glue (available at crafts stores) to attach one or more glittered snowflake ornaments to the CDs.

      To form the garland, snip bead garland into short pieces. Using a double strand of thread, tie one end of the garland to the tip of a snowflake. Continue until the entire strand is formed. If the CDs tip forward when hung, tape coins (as weights) to the back along the lower edge until they stay upright.

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      A Festive Collection

      Grace the mantel with classic collectibles, such as pewter pitchers and vases. Surrounded by evergreen boughs and filled with festive blooms, the everyday items join the celebration.

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      Mix & Match

      Decorating the mantel doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Thicken store-bought garlands by adding fresh greens from the yard, or plump a fresh garland or wreath with faux greens. Then, dress up the garland as much as you'd like with easy accents, such as apples, pinecones, wooden blocks, ornaments, or ribbon to give it still-life look.

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      Stocking Feat

      Old-style stockings bring color to the neutral wood mantel. Providing a modern touch, no-fuss office supply name tags personalize them.

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      Playful Figurines

      Playful vintage-look figurines replace traditional candles and greenery on this classically styled mantel.

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      Old-Fashioned Elegance

      Mercury-glass balls cupped in urns create a simple yet striking display above this homey stone mantel and fireplace surround.

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      Lush Lines

      A large painting with a gilded frame makes a gleaming topper for the thick crimson and evergreen garland below.

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      Rosy Reds

      A swag of fresh greenery replete with flowers, ornaments, and plaid ribbons frames the fireplace in this cozy living room nook. Dried and silk flowers are used here in order to let the decoration stay up from Thanksgiving until the New Year.

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      Gold & Whites

      An antique gilt frame showcases a classic wreath adorned with cream and white ribbon. Tall white flower arrangements add vertical interest.

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      Homespun Hearth

      Glass vases with antique silver balls top off a garland embellished with baby's breath and eucalyptus. Homespun stockings hang below to add cozy charm to the living room.

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      Penguin Parade

      Transform your living room into a polar oasis with a black, white, and gold scheme brimming with upscale wintry accents. A flock of stoic penguins huddled in front of the hearth adds a bit of whimsy to the otherwise elegant mantel.

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      Gentle Touches

      A garland of pleated ribbon forms a band of color between natural linen stockings and a white mantel. Tall topiaries and a wreath of mixed greens bring elements of nature to the setting.

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      Candle Display

      Massing the candles together and arranging them with an eye for their height and shape will make an attractive display.

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      Golden Flowerpots

      On top of the mantel, small flowerpots have been painted gold and topped with personalized ornaments for a fun and easy project. Below, add a colorful focal point with a spectacular candle-and-ornament display within the firebox.

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      Musical Dreams

      A love of music sparked this creative mantel that features musical instruments, candles, and ribbons. Nearby, a music-themed tree sticks to the silver, gold, and white color theme. Copies of sheet music are used as special touches on the tree and in the gift wraps.

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      Sporty Winter Mantelscape

      Create a cold-weather focal point for your mantel with this easy arrangement of items you probably have around the house.

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      Next Slideshow Pretty Christmas Living Rooms

      Pretty Christmas Living Rooms

      Don't stop at the Christmas tree -- extend your Christmas decorations through the whole living room. These Christmas decorating ideas will have your space overflowing with cheer, whatever your decorating style.
      Begin Slideshow »

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