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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Outdoor Holiday Lighting Tips

Whatever style of outdoor holiday lighting you choose, installing it can be a snap.

Greet your guests with seasonal style by adding lights to your front entry. Getting a strand of outdoor lights evenly-spaced and facing the same direction used to be quite an accomplishment. As much as outdoor lights are a beauty to behold, they can be a beast to install -- and you're trying to tame this unwieldy tangle on a chilly December day.

A little Yankee ingenuity has come to the rescue. New styles of clips that attach to the gutter, inside the doorway or along the walkway make it easier to space bulbs evenly and allow you to easily direct the lights.

Made of a sturdy plastic, the clips snap in place with ease. And the clips come in a styles suited for standard or miniature lights. You'll find them just about everywhere -- from home centers to grocery stores.

Light the path to your door with a strand of clear holiday lights. Simply push the plastic stakes into the ground, slip in the lights and close the plastic hinges to hold the lights in place. Swish some snow or moss between the lights to cover the exposed cord.

 

If the ground is frozen, use an old screwdriver and a hammer to create a starter hole. And plan on leaving the stakes in the ground until spring even if you pull the lights out after the holidays.

Before you head outdoors to string lights, be sure to do the following:

Buy lights with the same kind of plug, either stacked (like the white plugs above) or end-to-end (like the green plugs).
  • Do the math. Measure the distance to cover, and figure out how many lights and clips are needed. Chances are the length of the strands won't match the total length required and you'll need to do some adjusting. For a brighter display, place clips closer together, or run two alternating strands.
  • Measure carefully. If you're using special spacing between lights, cut a piece of cardboard or a strip of wood to the exact length. Use it to measure the space between clips.
  • Test your lights. Plug in each strand ahead of time to be sure each bulb lights up and that the sockets and cords are solid. Replace strands that have brittle cords or cracked or loose sockets.
  • Check the connections between strands to be sure they are compatible and the extension cord easily reaches the plug. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for the maximum number of strands to connect to each other. You may need to use a second extension cord.
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