I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers have been sending my way, to be shared with you. Over and again, I find myself saying, “Wow! Why didn’t I think that?”
Just this week, I was boiling mad at myself when I opened boxes marked “Christmas” to find supplies of cards, tags, and gift wrap purchased on sale, then promptly forgotten. You can be sure this year I’m going to file all this stuff under “Halloween!” You’ll understand as you read on.
With coronavirus requiring us to make some tough decisions this Christmas, we’re just not doing everything we used to. Even so, we have determined to keep as many traditions as possible. We’re putting up all of the decorations and making all the special foods we love, even though we won’t have many people in this year. Instead, we’ll be doing a lot of facetime and phone calls while looking forward to a brand new year filled with hope. Teri
I use the large Christmas popcorn tins (cleaned and dry) to store my Christmas bows. I use one for red, another for green, and the other two for gold and mixed colors. I can stack them in storage, and my bows stay new looking all year. I reuse these bows for several years. Gwen
I came up with the idea one year, out of desperation, that has become part of our traditional holiday decor. I needed a centerpiece. I put some vegetable oil on a rag and polished red and green apples, and placed them in a large clear glass bowl. I tucked sprigs of fresh greenery into the spaces (snipped from an evergreen bush outside the front door). I have to say it was gorgeous! The following year I added a string of battery-powered mini Led lights. That has taken my edible centerpiece up a notch. Bethany
When stringing popcorn for garland, make the popcorn a few days ahead and let it sit out uncovered for a couple of days to get stale. Stale popcorn is easier to string. For a festive outcome, add fresh cranberries to a popcorn garland. So pretty! Cath
I wrap some of the pictures we have hanging on the wall to look like packages, then rehang them in the same spot. This is a really cute and inexpensive addition to our decorations! Kathleen
I purchased a round Christmas tablecloth at the local thrift store for a buck. I laundered it and have been using it for the past three years as a tree skirt. It is large enough that I fold it in half and wrap it around the tree holder, meeting in the back. It is reusable, beautiful, and easy to clean. Darlene
Gift of photography
We have wanted family portraits for a long time now, so last summer, we told our family members that we would make an appointment for a family photo session. The photographer took photos of individuals, small family groups, and our large family. We told everyone we would pay for the session, and we called it a Christmas gift. However, it was something that we wanted for ourselves. Everyone loved the idea. They were able to purchase any pictures they wanted from the studio. When Christmas rolled around, I still had the urge to give gifts, so I bought everyone a picture frame. Melissa
Gift of laughter
A few years ago, we decided to be creative with Christmas gifts for our two adult sons. We went through boxes of things they’d left behind, gathering some of their old childhood treasures and mementos. We wrap them as Christmas presents. One of our sons conveniently left behind a birthday gift in August. He got it again for Christmas.
One year I found school papers from their very early years of school. I put them in three-ring binders and wrapped them up. The boys loved reading their work from second and third grade.
We’ve had more laughs and fun with these “free” gifts than the gifts we purchase. Leslie
Because we won’t have many people in this Christmas season, we decided to go all out with our outdoor decorations. You should see our deck! Not to brag or anything, we think it’s right up there with Macy’s New York City famed store windows. We nailed it! We’ve had so much fun waving and greeting passersby as the word is out. Fortunately, our home backs up to walking paths and open space. Tom
Filed under Halloween
Like many people, I buy my Christmas cards and gift wrap after the holidays when they are on sale. Instead of storing them with my Christmas decorations, I put them with my Halloween decor. When I open the bin in mid-October, I have at least eight weeks to write a well-considered greeting to each recipient and still get them mailed on time. Rosemary
I have lots of small, breakable ornaments that I’ve collected over the years. They easily get lost in tissue, and the commercial ornament boxes are too large and bulky. A friend gave me a great idea—egg cartons. I save my egg cartons and put the ornaments in each cup of the carton. They stack nicely in my Christmas storage boxes with my other decorations. Betty
My sister-in-law is creating a cookbook for Christmas this year. She’s asked everyone in the family to submit five dessert recipes. Next year it will be a different category. She is compiling the cookbook this year and will only need to print out the new recipes each year in the future. Tracy
We have an artificial Christmas tree, which requires bending out the branches after it is set up to make the tree look bushy. I keep a pair of inexpensive cotton garden gloves in the tree box, so handling of the branches is more comfortable for my hands. I also use the gloves to squeeze the branches closed before packing away the tree for the season. Margie
Once Christmas is over for another year, I scrapbook all the photos and handmade cards we receive. It’s great to look back over the years at all of our friends and relatives as they grow. So much creativity goes into some of these cards. The scrapbook is with all of my other photo albums, so I don’t have to wait until the Christmas decorations come out of storage to see them. Vicky
Fresh, fragrant greenery
Go to any place that sells Christmas trees (tree lots, Lowe’s, Walmart, etc.) and ask for the branches and cuttings that have fallen off. They are usually glad to get them off of their hands since they’re just going to throw them away. Besides using them for decorations, try tucking them in and around your artificial tree to give it that fresh tree smell. Becci
It’s your turn
Now, it’s your turn to share your best, funny, clever, heart-warming, delicious, and otherwise charming tips, tricks. and hacks with all of us! You know you want to, and goodness knows you have a few! See the comments area below? Scroll down, you’ll find it. Then … take it away!
We can’t wait.