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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.