Christmas Holiday Tips, Tricks, Hacks

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.

Traditions reign

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

Canned bows

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

Centerpiece

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

Stale popcorn

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

Christmas art

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

Tree skirt

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

Decked out

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

Ornament storage

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

Family treasure

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

Tree handler

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

Make memories

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.


 

More from Mary's Everyday Cheapskate

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open a paper envelope with the dollars tied with red ribbon and bow.
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Portrait Of Family Enjoying Camping Holiday In Camper Van


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  1. Anita says:

    Cardboard Egg Cartons can also be used to wrap lights to store them to prevent from getting tangled. I did that for many years until I found the store version at 75% off.

    Reply
  2. Brooke Kingston says:

    Every year after Christmas, I tape together the photo Christmas cards we received that year. I make them large enough to be placemats. We usually get about 3-4 placemats out of the cards we tape together. I pay a few dollars to have them heavy duty laminated. Then, throughout the year, we pray for each family pictured on our new placemats. Whenever we eat, we give thanks to God for the food and for one of the families on our placemats. It’s a great way to continue the good will of Christmas throughout the year!

    Reply
  3. doris wood says:

    When I put Christmas away I write a few pages of what happened in that year and leave it with the decorations!! Next year, it’s a reminder of what went on. (even if it’s not so hot)

    Reply
  4. Kay Seiler says:

    Soon after my husband and I married, I read a suggestion to reduce paper waste by buying an extra-special card for each other, and adding a new message, each year. My husband and I did that, and not only was it a very romantic “history” of the growth of our marriage, it became a treasured memento after my husband died.

    Reply
    • Gayla Schapker says:

      My kids have reused Mother’s Day cards for years. Seeing the new message each year is great, but looking back at the old messages are special. They actually compete to see who can remember to reuse their car the most. This is also done for birthday and anniversary cards. We open the cards read the message, display them for a few days and then return them to the sender.

      Reply
  5. Ginny Hayden Eacret says:

    We are 75 and getting decorations out and down from the attic just wasn’t working anymore. We don’t have a lot and most are not breakable. I use a
    beautiful Loboy Dresser with four drawers and it stays in the living room year round and I have used it as a snack or dessert bar for parties. Now I store my Christmas decorations in there and no more attic stairs etc. We still have to have someone get the tree from the attic, though. Any dresser in any room would work for more decorations.

    Reply
  6. Ginny Hayden Eacret says:

    We are 75 and getting decorations out and down from the attic just wasn’t working anymore. We don’t have a lot and most are not breakable. I use a
    beautiful Loboy Dresser with four drawers and it stays in the living room year round and I have used it as a snack or dessert bar for parties. Now I store my Christmas decorations in there and no more attic stairs etc. We still have to have someone get the tree from the attic, though. Any dresser in any room would work for more decorations.

    Reply
  7. Terri says:

    I sew and embroider, so I make cards for loved ones. I purchased heavy weight card stock, fold it in half and trim to make the card the perfect size. I cover the front with whatever I have stitched. If you don’t sew, you could do something similar with wrapping paper or holiday fabric glued or taped to the front of the card, and write the perfect sentiment on the inside. Only those on my naughty list get store bought cards.

    Reply
  8. Jule barta says:

    I have collected many decorations over the years and have over 10 totes. Several years ago I bought all red and green totes of inform size so that I can stack theme do easily find them in the rafters. When packing up my decorations, I put then in totes by room or area and label the totes. Such as one tote for the mantle, one for the bathrooms, etc. This way I can open one tote, decorate an area easily, instead of having decorations and half full boxes all over. This allows me to decorate a little each day without getting overwhelmed. I do my favorite areas first so if I don’t get to one, it is no big deal.

    Reply
  9. Lorrie Blackburn says:

    When newly married, our first Christmas found us just starting out and not owning any Christmas decorations. Not so much as a lightbulb. Our budget really did not include buying everything new all at once. Christmas was sparse to say the least. Ever since then, I buy a few extra ornaments after Christmas and put them away to use as wedding gifts. People tend to raise their eyebrows when they open them and see that they’re Christmas ornaments, but I’ve had many a bride tell me years down the road that they think of me every Christmas when they put their tree up.

    Reply
    • Lynnette says:

      Great idea, Lorrie! Here’s a similar one: After the holiday when everything is 50% off (or better), buy a few pretty holiday tablecloths, napkins, dish towels, decorations, etc. and put them aside (don’t forget where you put them!). If a friend or relative gets married during the year, or graduates and is setting up housekeeping for the first time, you have a perfect gift for them. They sure won’t be thinking about the holidays in May or June, but come December, they will love the gift from you to help them get started.

      Reply
      • Una says:

        I do something similar – – I buy hand towels throughout the year – Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, etc. Then I give one of each as a wedding gift so the couple has something for every holiday.

      • Cathy says:

        I did something similar to Una. During my daughter’s last year of grad school, I took advantage after each holiday to pick up sale placemats, kitchen towels and dish cloths. After she graduated and got her first apartment, I gave her everything so she could have the feeling of home in her new home. She loved it!

    • Joanna says:

      My husband and I were married in late November over 30 years ago. One of our wedding gifts was a box of assorted Christmas tree ornaments and decorations, including a custom- made ornament ” First Christmas Together” with the year. Another friend included a hand-smocked Christmas bell which she had made as part of her wedding gift. Those wedding gift ornaments were the only ornaments we had on our tree that first year, especially with our wedding just the month before. I think of those dear friends every year when I pull out those beautiful ornaments to decorate our tree

      Reply
  10. Donna Pheneger says:

    Dear Mary – I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but we have come up with a gift that never fails. We call it the Christmas Cookie Club. Four times a year, I make enough cookies that everyone gets two dozen each. White Chocolate Chip with Macadamia nuts, regular chocolate chip, peanut butter with kisses, and one a baker’s choice. Plus, we usually have one or two special times they get cookies—this year it was Halloween spiders. What’s nice about this is the cost is low and it’s spread out through the year.

    Reply
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