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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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    • Turn Cookie Cutters into Ornaments

      A quick ribbon-wrap turns holiday baking supplies into trendy tree baubles. Put a tiny bit of tape (instead of glue) at the beginning and end points and you'll be able to reuse the set to shape cookies next year.

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    • Make Scrabble Tiles into Place Settings

      A bit of double-stick tape lets you borrow your board-game supplies as nifty table settings. Spell out a greeting or a guest's name, then set on the dinnerware for a kickoff to the night's conversation.

    • Freeze Cranberries with Your Ice

      Your wine bucket just gained the spotlight on your dinner table. Lay cranberries on a shallow tray and run just enough water to cover them. Freeze, then break into pieces. Add to your ice bucket with a collection of fir cuttings, and pop some bubbly.

    • Skip the Bow for Travel-Ready Gifting

      If you have places to be this Christmas, opt for a ribbon-wrap over a bulky, crushable bow. This quick weaving technique ensures that your gift wrap is still stylish.

    • Glue Crafts Sticks to Make a Snowflake Tree Tropper

      Crown your tree with the prettiest of snowflakes. A bunch of crafts sticks spray-painted white and hot-glued together make an easy, zero-stress Christmas tree topper. Attach to your tree using no-show fishing line.

    • Make an Advent Calendar out of a Muffin Tin

      Craft yourself a Christmas countdown in no time with our do-it-yourself calendar. You'll need a muffin tin with 24 cups; a circle cut from adhesive magnet sheets for each cup; and fun trinkets, notes, and candies to give as gifts. Simply number the circles (one for each day leading up to Christmas) and fill each cup with a surprise before covering with the magnetic circles. Hang on a wall with festive ribbon.

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    • Label Christmas Gifts with Family Pictures

      Add a little extra festive cheer to your gifts by using family snapshots in the place of name tags. Simply print digital photos on white cardstock, cut into decorative shapes, and attach to your presents.

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    • Personalize a Clear Ball Ornament

      Plain, transparent ornament balls get a personalized update when stuffed with meaningful keepsakes. We opted for sheet music from a favorite carol, but old Christmas letters and other memorabilia work well, too.

    • Use Scissors to Cut Cookie Balls into Holiday Blossoms

      Get ready for your Christmas cookie exchange with our adorable holiday blossom cookies. Start with sugar cookie dough rolled into balls, roll in colored decorative sugar, and simply snip to form lovely flowers. See how!

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      Wrap Gifts with Fabric

      Save money, save time: Those are the end goals of any holiday hacks. Try to repurpose what you already have for unique, fun wrapping -- say fabric scraps for smaller presents that can travel with you without worry of paper ripping or bows bending. Place your box in the center of the fabric and tie the ends together in a tight knot.

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      Use Family-Favorite Photos to Make an Everlasting Garland

      Display your favorite holiday memories year after year with a DIY photo garland. Use snapshots taken during the season and mount them onto pieces of cardstock; add scrapbooking label holders as IDs. Hang the photos from plain or colored twine using clothespins. You can reuse the same garland each year or switch out old photos with new ones.

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      Decorate with Leftover Ornaments

      Too many decorations and not enough tree? Here's a pretty Christmas mantel hack that involves minimal effort: Simply organize your orbs in a glass cloche (turn the cloche upside down and fill it carefully with different-size ornaments to pack them in tightest). When you're happy, turn it over and place on a plate for the ultimate mobility.

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      Store Christmas Lights on Tension Rods

      Skip the Christmas-light stress. Instead of piling your lights in storage boxes or wrapping them in circles, opt for a tangle-free option. The trick to storing your lights mess-free is by wrapping the individual strands around your hand, transferring them to tension rods, then fitting the tension rods to a plastic storage container.

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      Wrap Grocery Items as Gifts

      The shelves at the grocery store are filled with quick and easy gift ideas. To make this cake mix gift, simply wrap your favorite mix in a Christmas-theme fabric (or table runner!); sew or hot-glue closed. Add handles by sewing or hot-gluing ribbon to the package, then attach small bags of decorations for a finishing touch.

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      Create an Advent Calendar with Ornaments

      No time to craft at the holidays? You're not alone. Instead of the time-consuming handiwork necessary for a from-scratch Advent calendar, make this fuss-free one. Simply hang extra ornaments from a cork or felt board, along with a number for each day.

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      Reuse Tangled Light Strands

      Christmas lights balled up after last year's display? Instead of throwing them out, turn your tangled outdoor lights into a showstopping spectacle by laying them in a planter and topping with branches.

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      Use Ice Cream Cones to Turn Cupcakes into Christmas Trees

      Create the perfect Christmas cupcake with our tannenbaum design. The secret to the leafy topping? Place an ice cream cone upside down atop your snowy white-frosted cupcakes, then pipe green frosting to the cone for the leaves. Carefully add edible pearl candies for ornaments.

      Make these cute treats & more! Shop muffin tins now!
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      Add Layers to Your Christmas Wreath with Faux Leaves

      Enhance Christmas greenery with layers of faux leaves, pinecones, and other winter foliage. Take inspiration from this design: We used faux lemon leaves, deep red poinsettia petals, and copper magnolia leaves to bulk up the Christmas wreath.

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      Use Plastic Storage Boxes for Gifting Candy and Cookies

      Who knew? Household items, such as plastic storage boxes, can make pretty gift packaging when updated with holiday-theme fabric. For the chocolate truffles pictured here, simply use candy cups to separate each luscious truffle.

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      Label Your Christmas Decorations

      Keep your Christmas decorations organized by marking similar accessories based on their holiday location. For example, if you have artificial garlands cut to fit a stair railing, mantel, and sideboard, hang a labeled tag from each section for easy identification, or store them separately in clearly marked bags.

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      Next Slideshow 25 Ways to Set the Holiday Mood

      25 Ways to Set the Holiday Mood

      Don't let your to-do list steal your holiday spirit. Here are 25 ways to simplify and enrich the season for you and your loved ones.
      Begin Slideshow »

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