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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Our Best Cookie-in-a-Jar Recipes

In need of a creative addition to your cookie exchange party or a tasty gift for friends and family? Look no further than our collection of irresistible cookie-in-a-jar recipes. Each holiday-ready gift takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and features layer upon layer of favorite cookie, brownie, or blondie mix-ins.

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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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New Ways to Use Your Good China this Thanksgiving

When you set the table for the Thanksgiving feast this year, try one of these ideas for dressing up (or down) your fine china.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • A Formal Affair

      Give your dining furniture a whole new look in minutes by borrowing seating from other rooms. We pulled in a pair of wing chairs and added plump pillows to the back of a low-slung settee to make it the right depth for dining.

    • Set the Table

      Our pull-out-all-the-stops formal table starts with a classic ivory damask tablecloth layered with scalloped linen place mats (it's fine to use both). Next come filigree-pattern chargers, each topped with a dinner plate and salad plate. Though the chargers are gold, they blend well with the touches of silver that come from the salt-and-pepper shakers, napkin rings, flatware, and place card holders for an opulent look.

    • Serving Dishes

      Serving dishes make beautiful cachepots for flowers. We cut water-soaked floral foam to fit the bowl, then poked in orange calla lilies, Leonidas roses, hypericum berries, and fiery dahlias. For maximum freshness, store the flowers in the refrigerator until the guests arrive.

    • Stay Organized

      Here's a hostess tip from the pros: Set out serving dishes and utensils in advance and label them so it's easy to remember what goes where when the food is ready to be served. A small flower arrangement that complements the table centerpiece is a nice touch for the sideboard, and an entertaining journal is a handy place to record the details of your dinner parties. Include a picture or two of the table, the menu, a list of guests, and notes on their food preferences or allergies.

    • A Casual Supper

      The same dining room and the same china take on a very different look thanks to the table and chair backs being draped in fabric, a high-impact technique that's quick and easy to do, even on a weeknight. (We used paisley shawls, but you could use any yardage you have on hand.) The long dining table feels cozy enough for four when the chairs are gathered at one end and the food for a family-style meal is set out at the other.

    • Colorful Tabletop

      The same china pattern reappears, this time with a deep bowl and a large orange plate used as a charger. (You can get colorful, oversize dishes like these by the box at discount stores.) Whereas the formal table set the china against a sea of elegant cream, the fun of this tabletop is the way it mixes several shades of orange -- in the dishes, the amber goblets and tumblers, and the napkins with their whimsical holders -- for a warm and intimate feel.

    • Casual Centerpieces

      A row of rustic barley-twist wood candlesticks holding beeswax candles visually separates the seating area from the food area. An old-fashioned wooden ice bucket holds white Alstroemeria for a no-fuss centerpiece. These inexpensive blooms are almost always available at the supermarket, so there's no excuse for not having fresh flowers at home every day! Just pick up a bunch on the way home from work.

    • Relaxed Decor

      A fringed wool car blanket placed on an angle at one end of the dining table not only protects it from hot serving dishes and scratches but suggests the casual feel of a tailgate for this simple soup supper.

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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.
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