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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Shrink-Art Christmas Ornament

Create a unique Christmas ornament from digital images and shrink-art supplies.

What You'll Need

  • Copyright-free floral clip art
  • Photo-editing computer software
  • Grafix shrink film sheets: Inkjet Opaque
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Permanent black ink pad
  • Clear acrylic stamps: assorted holiday greetings
  • Standard hole punch
  • Toaster oven or conventional oven
  • 1/4-inch-wide foil tape
  • Glass beads: red and white
  • 2 to 3 silver metal head pins for each ornament
  • Pliers: round-nose and chain-nose
  • Flush cutters
  • Large silver metal jump rings
  • Silver metal connectors
  • 1/2-inch-wide sheer white ribbons
  • Sterling-silver jewelry wire
  • Wooden dowel
  • Terry cloth hand towel
  • Mallet

1. Select a black-and-white holiday floral digital image to print onto the shrink film. Import the image into a photo-editing software program and change the color by adjusting the hue saturation. The color will intensify when shrunk, so the lighter the clip art color, the better.

2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to print the image directly onto the shrink film.

3. Use a pencil and ruler to draw a rectangle around a selected part of the plastic image, keeping in mind it will shrink to 30 percent of its original size; cut out the rectangle.

4. Ink your stamp and press it directly onto the rectangle.

5. Punch a hole in the center top of the rectangle. Shrink the ornament in a toaster oven or conventional oven following the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Cover the edges of the rectangle with foil tape. Burnish to remove any air bubbles.

7. String a glass bead onto each head pin. Shape each head pin into a loop with the round-nose pliers, and trim the excess wire with the flush cutters. Use the chain-nose pliers to open the jump ring, then loop it through the punched hole. String the beaded head pins and connector onto the jump ring before firmly closing it.

8. Loop a 7-inch length of ribbon through the center of the connector or add another jump ring to the connector and loop ribbon through the last jump ring; knot ribbon ends together.

9. To make a metal hook: Using the wire cutters, cut a 3-3/4-inch piece of sterling-silver wire. Using the round-nose pliers, form a small loop at one end of the wire. Referring to Illustration 1, form the large curve of the hook using the dowel to assist with shaping.

10. Turn the hook with the straight end up. Using the chain-nose pliers, grab the wire at the base of the straight portion of the hook. Bend the straight wire over the edge of the pliers at a 90-degree angle so the wire (when turned hook-side up) resembles the number 2.

11. Trim the wire 3/8 inch from the bend. Referring to Illustration 2 and using round-nose pliers, create a loop in the end of the wire that will fit the ornament. Finish shaping hook as shown.

12. Fold the terry cloth hand towel into quarters. Set bench block on folded towel and place hook on the bench block. Use the mallet to pound and harden the hook.

13. With the chain-nose pliers in one hand and the flat-nose pliers in the other, open the bottom loop. Thread the open loop onto the loop of the ornament; close the loop.

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