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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Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

Preparing side dishes shouldn't be stressful. Make-ahead methods and shortcut ingredients make easy work of these delicious recipes, including stuffing, cranberry sauce, and salads. Whether you're prepping for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's, these side-dish recipes will help you get an early start on your holiday cooking.

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    • Bacon-Topped Green Bean Casserole

      Everything is better with bacon, including the classic green bean casserole. Make and chill this easy vegetable side dish up to 24 hours in advance, then bake just before serving.

      Our Best Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes Shop Christmas table settings!
    • Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Gouda and Crispy Pancetta

      Hold on to your hats: Here's the ultimate mashed potatoes recipe! We combine red and russet potatoes with a little green onion, plenty of salty pancetta, and lots of cheese. There's no way you'll stop at one scoop. You can make the side dish a day in advance and warm it up to serve.

    • Skillet Scalloped Corn

      This creamy, quick, and easy skillet side dish is made with Swiss cheese and red sweet peppers for a colorful spin on the favorite autumn vegetable. Just mix all the ingredients ahead of time, then cover and chill for up to 48 hours.

      Get delicious holiday main dishes just for you! Shop holiday dinnerware now!
    • Candied Sweet Potato Casserole with Parsnips and Carrots

      The veggies in this holiday side dish get a dose of butter, cream, and sugary marshmallow for the sake of indulgence. Assemble this sweet potato recipe the night before, then simply top with marshmallow and bake to serve.

    • Cranberry-Lime Relish

      If you like a little tart and a little tang, this is your cranberry sauce! And if you really like getting a head start, this is the only cranberry sauce for you. The cranberry-lime combo can be made and stored for up to a week.

    • Blue Cheese and Pine Nut Puffs

      Say good-bye to boring dinner rolls. These fluffy cheese-filled puffs are the perfect complement to your favorite holiday recipes. Savory Roquefort and Gruyere cheeses add sharp flavor to each bite, and the puffs can be made up to a month ahead of time.

    • Skip the Store-Bought Stuffing: Homemade in Three Easy Steps

      Homemade bread cubes are the secret to delicious stuffing. Learn how to make your own in three simple steps!

    • Fresh Citrus and Cranberry Salad

      We added a refreshing kick of mint and ginger to an arugula salad, then topped it with chopped fresh cranberries. You can prepare the salad up to 2 days in advance. When you're ready to eat, all you need to do is add the dressing.

      Shop chic serveware now!
    • Squash, Mushroom, and Farro Dressing

      No holiday menu is complete without the dressing! This side-dish recipe is full of cold-weather favorites -- butternut squash, farro, rosemary, and pancetta -- and can be made 24 hours in advance.

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      Herb- and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms

      Taste the lighter side of the holidays with a batch of so-easy stuffed mushroom caps. Light goat cheese helps keep the calorie count to just 56 per serving, and you'll love the slight zip from the fresh chives. Prep the mushrooms and filling a day in advance so you'll only need 15 minutes to get this holiday recipe on the table.

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      Herbed Potato Salad

      Classic potato salad is all dressed up and ready to party. Tiny red potatoes get fresh flavor from green onion and snipped tarragon, and the light Dijon-mayonnaise sauce adds flavor without all the calories. Pop the potato salad into the fridge up to 4 hours before serving time.

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      Olive Bread Stuffing with Fennel

      Fresh herbs, fennel, and two kinds of mushrooms put an Italian-inspired spin on this traditional holiday stuffing recipe. You can mix it up and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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      Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

      What's better than warm, buttery dinner rolls? A batch you can prepare the night before. This oh-so-easy dinner roll recipe calls for a standard baking pan and requires only 12 minutes in the oven.

      Shop bread makers now!
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      Glazed Carrots with Pistachios

      A thyme and brown sugar glaze and crunchy toasted pistachios add just the right amount of savory and sweet flavor to this quick and easy side dish. To make ahead, cook the carrots and toast the pistachios the day before, then glaze and reheat before serving.

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      Winter Slaw with Kale and Cabbage

      Try a modern twist on the summer potluck classic with this side-dish slaw that's brimming with wintry veggies. Kale and a mix of cabbages tossed in a creamy, herb-infused sauce make this vegetable recipe one that's sure to be devoured.

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      Easy Parmesan-Fennel Rolls

      This five-ingredient bread recipe starts with purchased dough, so just add spices and cheese to create a holiday-worthy bread recipe. You can even use our tip to make and store the rolls for up to 3 days before serving.

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      Mashed Potatoes with Savory Thyme Granola

      Pumpkin seeds give these creamy potatoes a fresh fall feel, while a splash of Worcestershire sauce adds bold flavor. To make ahead, prepare the crunchy granola mixture up to 1 week before your guests arrive.

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      Cranberry-Fig Relish

      Our relish contains a sweet berry flavor that pairs wonderfully when blended with citrus-orange marmalade. You can freeze this delish relish for up to 6 months in advance of your holiday meal! Add mint leaves for extra freshness.

    • Sectioning Citrus
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      How to Section Citrus

      Watch how to make easy work of sectioning any citrus fruit.

    • How to Cook Brown Rice
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      Healthy Make-Ahead: Brown Rice

      Watch this clever technique to cook brown rice in advance to add to any recipe calling for cooked rice.

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      Autumn Potato Gratin

      With a bubbly dish of these creamy, cheesy potatoes on your holiday table, the menu is complete! The make-ahead tip can be applied to many of your favorite recipes -- slice and chop your ingredients the night before for easy assembly on the day of the meal.

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      Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

      Whip up a batch of these fluffy garlic mashed potatoes for a dozen guests in no time flat -- they cook for 8 hours in a slow cooker after just 25 minutes of prep work.

      Our Best Slow Cooker Recipes!
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      Gingered Fruit Compote

      The prep work for this colorful fruit salad takes just 20 minutes. Start it in the morning and store it in the fridge for up to 6 hours for a great make-ahead dish.

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      Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans

      Toasted pecans and sticky-sweet marshmallows top creamy whipped sweet potatoes. The result? A sweet, classic holiday side dish. This one can be made a day ahead.

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      Twice-Baked Pesto Mashed Potatoes

      Mmm, mmm! No one will be able to resist this holiday potato recipe. Pesto, cheese, and toasty pine nuts will lure your guests to the table. With only 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and a tip for making the potatoes 24 hours ahead, these side-dish spuds couldn't be easier.

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      Butterhead Salad with Smoky Ranch

      This tasty holiday salad takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish; prep the dressing a few hours in advance and store in the fridge for an almost-instant side dish.

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      Make-Ahead Apple, Bacon, and Onion Stuffing Muffins

      These unique muffins are easy to transport, making them an ideal potluck recipe and a fun twist on traditional stuffing. Plus you can make and chill them, then just reheat for a warm, savory side.

      Shop serving utensils now!
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      Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

      This six-ingredient side dish features cranberry relish, dried cranberries, and walnuts, and will be a hit with your holiday guests. Make and fill the stuffed spuds the day before serving, then bake just before dinnertime.

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      Brussels Sprouts with Frizzled Prosciutto

      Even kids won't be able to resist this flavorful Brussels sprouts side dish. The crisp, savory prosciutto pieces are a delicious contrast to the tender veggies. To ensure golden caramelization and crispy prosciutto, precook the sprouts and finish off the second half of the recipe the day of the meal. Brilliant!

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      Corn Bread

      Easy to make and marvelous to eat, this moist corn bread makes a stellar side for any holiday meal. Plus, it includes ingredients you'll likely have in your pantry and can be made and frozen for up to 1 month.

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      Pickled Dilled Green Beans

      Cayenne pepper, pickling salt, fresh dill, and garlic add delicious flavor to this simple green bean side dish. This easy side can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks before serving.

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      Oysters Rockefeller Sourdough Stuffing

      Here's a stuffing recipe that'll impress even the most sophisticated holiday guests. Sourdough bread cubes, chopped oysters, salty bacon, and garlic meld to create a mouthwatering side-dish recipe for the holidays. Make and chill this stuffing for up to 24 hours to cut down on day-of food prep.

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      Paella-Style Stuffing

      This make-and-chill stuffing recipe has the expected bread cubes, onion, and celery, but kicks things up with the addition of chorizo and green olives. Serve it alongside a classic stuffing recipe and see which disappears first.

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      Green Beans with Shallots, Thyme, and Shiitake Mushrooms

      Don't worry: We would never forget the green beans! We start this green bean recipe with fresh -- not canned -- beans and finish with bursts of lemon and crispy fried shallots for a make-ahead side dish full of in-season flavors.

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      Layered Cranberry-Quince Mold

      Put a pretty twist on cranberry sauce with these irresistible and light gelatin molds. A layer of whipped topping dotted with quince makes up the bottom, and the top is made with cranberry sauce. (They're sweet enough for dessert, too!) Make and chill a day in advance for a ready-when-you-are side-dish recipe.

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      Bacon and Cracked Pepper Biscuits

      If you're serious in your make-ahead meal planning, this is the bread recipe for you. The cheesy, peppery biscuits can be made and frozen for up to 2 months. Simply pop them into the oven for a few minutes, and you'll have warm bread ready to serve.

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      Chunky Applesauce

      Make this simple applesauce up to 3 weeks ahead of time or in your slow cooker. Fresh thyme sprigs add a touch of sophistication.

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      Wild Rice Dressing

      Bring the best of the harvest to your table with this better-for-you dressing recipe. Toss together crunchy wild rice, tart cherries, and veggies, and save time by adding everything to the casserole dish beforehand. Chill for up to 24 hours, then toss it into the oven when you're ready to serve.

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      Sweet Potato Salad

      Make this potluck-perfect salad (it serves up to 20) the night before; it goes in the fridge for up to 24 hours before party time.

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      Homemade Green Bean Casserole

      Every holiday menu should include a green bean casserole side dish. Our make-ahead version features mushrooms, herbed cheese, and splash of white wine, and can be made and chilled 24 hours ahead.

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      Cranberry-Orange Spread

      Step away from the canned cranberry sauce. This zesty citrus-infused spread is made with five simple ingredients, including real cranberries and a splash of orange juice. It's delicious as a stand-in for classic dressing or served on bread or crackers. Bonus: This cranberry sauce can be made and chilled for 2 weeks before the big meal.

      To make ahead: Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

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      Next Slideshow Our Best Christmas Candy

      Our Best Christmas Candy

      These gorgeous Christmas candies are perfect to give as party favors or special holiday food gifts. Whether you prefer light-as-air truffles, hard candy, over-the-top fudge, chewy caramels, or sweet gumdrops, this is your one-stop shop for delicious candy recipes.
      Begin Slideshow »

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