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.


 

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I have a collection of old glass ornaments which I cherish. Rather than hang them on the tree (to be knocked down by my cat) I purchased a large glass jar with a lid and placed all the ornaments inside. Now the ornaments are safe. The jar is beautiful and holds many special memories.

    Reply
  2. Linda Radosevich says:

    So many great suggestions! Thank you all!
    Ala` Kay Seiler, we’ve been doing ‘recycle cards’ in our family for years, and like Kay, add messages each year – wonderful memories.
    To Gwen: I use the big Christmas popcorn tins as festive wastebaskets, replacing my usual ones in bathrooms, guestrooms, wherever, as an extra holiday brightener. (Now I can use them to store ornaments too!)
    One of my most used and prized wedding shower gifts was an assortment of Christmas ornaments.

    Reply
  3. MS Barb says:

    One year, right after Christmas, I found rolls of silver wrapping paper, at Lowes, for 25¢ each! I bought them all & used that paper for wedding wrap, b-days, etc!

    Reply
  4. Kay Jones says:

    I bought a Christmas ornament for my grandchildren every year. It was something unique to each of them. When they grew up and moved out they had enough ornaments for a small tree. Over the years they have added to them but still talk about the ones I got them.

    Reply
  5. Rosalie says:

    When r children were young and still “believers” my husband and I often fell asleep w them without getting all the presents under the tree. Solution: I cut out “Santa footprints” of red felt edged w spray snow. Cld place them in hallway when gifts were out. If they didnt see them they knew to stay put last Santa was still at work. We still hv and sometimes use them some 30 yrs later!

    Reply
  6. Jenni says:

    In addition to gifting newlyweds ornaments, I have given cookie cutters with holiday themes. My husband and I bought a lobster ornament in New England and multiple “beachy” ornaments over the years. We painted the flower gold on several sand dollars as children, and I have kept those!
    I saved the sturdy rolls from plastic wrap and waxed paper – from when they were sturdy! We keep the light strands wrapped on those and never have a struggle with tangled lights. We planted a few root-ball trees, but now use an artificial tree. We fluff each branch before putting it on the tree, and I am going to put some gardening gloves in the tree bag tonight! Thanks for the suggestion from one of your other readers! I do love helpful hints.

    Reply
  7. Linda Anderson says:

    A tradition we’ve found very rewarding in our house is making a contribution to our teachers’ favorite charity. They all have one be it St. Jude’s, the local pet rescue, the Lion Club, their church, a local food bank, etc., etc. With a bit of prompting they’ll gladly tell you one or more of importance to them and they’re always very grateful that someone cared enough to make a gift in their name. The amount is totally up to the giver but never anything extravagant.

    It’s easy and always “fits” just fine.

    Reply
  8. Donna says:

    I have two:
    I put my large glass ornaments in the clear plastic container that held and separated apples from Costco or Sam’s. It holds about 18. I stack them in large bins to store away.
    I also collect ornaments as we travel and bought ornaments each year for our children representing something special in their lives. When our children got married, I wrapped up 2 dozen of those ornaments and gave it to them as a gift at one of their wedding showers.

    Reply
  9. Gretchen says:

    We miss the wonderful scent of a real Christmas tree, but we don’t miss the mess! So, to get that wonderful smell, I plug in a Bath & Body Works Home Wallflower at Christmas Time. I finally found the perfect scent–Fresh Balsam!

    Reply
  10. Rose says:

    When traveling I try to buy Christmas ornaments from every place we go. Sometimes there are no ornaments available ( wrong time of the year) or they are too expensive. I found that keychains with the city or state name are almost always available make great substitute.

    Reply
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