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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A Bold, Beautiful Holiday Style

In a house filled with kids, color, and creativity, an Oregon family celebrates in a very merry way.

Drive over the river. Turn left at the woods. You'll come to Carole and Bill Meyer's Portland home -- a grandchild's (and an inner child's) paradise if ever there was one. There are cabinets full of toys, closets full of dress-up clothes, and pots of paint in terrific colors waiting to be used in abundance to create artwork galore. And the holidays only make the Meyers' home even more spirited.

Most decorating color conventions are thrown aside in this bright and vibrant home with a chili-pepper red family room and a taxi-cab yellow living room. But a bit of conventional wisdom prevails: Use color where it can easily be changed -- on walls, pillows, and artwork. Upholstered furniture and other investment pieces are best left fairly neutral.

Strategies to Simplify

The bright walls actually make holiday decorating easier: Freed from the tyranny of decorating conventions, the focus can be put on a few areas with the greatest impact -- the tree, the mantel, the table -- and the rest of the house trimmed minimally with stars, candles, and flowers.

And that's actually another trick for simplifying holiday decorating: Choose a single motif, and vary it throughout the house. Carole has been enthralled with stars since gazing at a dazzling sky in Mexico one memorable night.

No doubt the colors of Mexico have also influenced her decorating choices. Made from boiled wool, red and yellow stockings and pillows add pulsating color to the practical white woodwork and upholstery.

Another decorating rule that's shattered in this house is continuity of color. Just about every room is a different color; the only thing that joins them is the intensity of the hues.

The violet-blue dining room invites lively conversation. Pure and smooth, the color is a perfect backdrop for the mottled hues and rough surfaces of the antique furniture.

Night-Sky Blue

At the end of the day, when the fairy dust of holiday activity has settled, Bill and Carole retreat to a master suite that's blissfully free of holiday excess. The walls are the restful shade of a night sky.

Just a few more glass stars for Carole's constellation, however, have found a place on the mantel along with a bowl of holiday paperwhites. And an antique star quilt on the bed carries the star theme through the year.

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