Happy holidays! We know it can be a hectic period, but it is also meant to be the most joyous time of the year. To take the edge off, we've gathered up our favorite time, money, and environmental saving hacks…
Jell-O Shot Christmas Tree
Rocking around the Christmas tree is always fun. Whether it's placed by the front door or perfectly in the corner of the living room, the tree is the mascot of Christmas. This year, why not create something bespoke?
It's a crowd favorite to gather around and hang beautiful ornaments on its branches. But this hack is a tradition for adults. So wait until the kids are tucked in! Forget Christmas crackers, provide a fun game of Jenga using different flavored Jell-O shots arranged in tree-style. This is one to get the festivities started!
Salty & Sweet Snowmen
When the special time of the year comes around, there are just a couple of special ingredients that go into making the perfect Christmas dinner. Of course, turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are staples, but there's always room for something creative.
Small and simple is so effective, especially when it comes to dessert. Just using three ingredients can make a fun-loving sweet and salty snack for the entire family. This includes pretzel rings, fruit roll-ups, and white frosting to make delicious Frosty the snowman cookies. (Quick tip, the colorful roll-ups make a cute scarf!)
A Christmas In-Scent-ive
It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas - and we can thank these DIY centerpieces! Candles are always a crowd favorite when taken with precaution. From gingerbread, and spiced chestnut, to wholesome burning firewood, there's no harm in adding a dash of decoration.
If candles are the go-to chosen table centerpiece, try placing peppermint candies around the burning scents to enhance the festivities even more. They're not for eating, but they sure are a sight for sore eyes. The candies won't burn, simply add a striking striped accessory to the family feast.
Christmas Tree Napkins
For this DIY item, only green napkins are allowed. If the idea is to bring the dinner table to life, this is the go-to hack. Any napkin design is bound to set the scene from the moment guests walk up to the dining area. It sets a standard for the meal about to be served. So go all out with this design!
Shaping a napkin into a Christmas tree is not easy. However, it's also not rocket science. A YouTube tutorial won't hurt and should do the trick. Slowly but surely, after one is done, the rest should be a breeze. This is a really easy and cheap way to transform any standard arrangement into something festive.
Ping Pong Ball Lights
Light up the holidays this year a little differently: there are an array of decorations waiting to be bought at the stores. The sales are calling our names, but we won't give in. Everyone will end up having the same standard decorations, but these should shine from a mile away. Be the house to stand out!
Gather a string of fairy lights, ping-pong balls, a drill, and hot glue. There should be enough balls for each light. First things first, make sure the holes are punctured into the balls with precaution. Place each fairy light into the ping-pong ball and watch the magic come to life. This works great around the fireplace or staircase.
Cable Ties for Christmas Decorations
Everyone is guilty of struggling to put a decoration up around the house. No matter how much sticky tape, hot glue, or even hammered nails are used, sometimes it just seems to fall down. There needs to be something with super unbreakable strength to keep these ornaments in one place.
We need these decorations to stay correct and perfect for twelve days. So, if there's an old trick in the book that would work, it's using cable ties. These are usually found on a child safety item or even to compact a set of wires together. However, this is a quick fix to keep decorations from moving remotely out of place.
If there's simply no time or space for a real 7ft tall tree, there are always alternatives to keep up the holiday spirit. Excluding the exterior decorations of the home, it's what's on the inside that counts. So, why not try out this substitute tree to make Christmas seem worthwhile?
Transform the tree from 3D to 2D. Gather a bunch of fairy lights and double-sided tape. Try placing pinpoints to draw out the pattern of the tree correctly before sticking on the lights. Once perfected, it's time to zig-zag the lights against the wall to create the perfect piece of Christmas art. As they say, authenticity is key.
Organize Those Ornaments
We guess those house parties came in handy. We know it can be a disaster when it's time to bring out the Christmas storage boxes once again. Although labels can go a long way, once the box is opened, it's still a mess inside. So, step up the organization skills and get to work with these decoration separators.
Stash those unused red Solo Cups into the box, lined up correctly. The number of cups should align perfectly with the size of any clear plastic box. In each cup, place whatever decoration is desired. This way, it is easy to visibly identify what is stored where while nothing gets anything tangled together.
If there's ever been a time when a tray of cookies has been forgotten about, here's the first solution. Of course, it's a shame to think all that baking went to waste but think about the positives! The gingerbread men are stale, and though we might want to chuck them away, an organically scented ornament can't hurt.
With just three coats of varnish, these cookies should last a lifetime. With that in mind, they are a fantastic addition to any decoration. Whether this is hanging off the tree or stuck to a stocking, the gingerbread men are here to stay. Just remember not to take a bite - we know it's tempting.
Carton of Ornaments
This easy hack is a time and money saver. Although we have already covered the red cup hack, this is also one for the books. Next time a carton of eggs is finished and ready to go in the trash, clean it out and save it. There are 24 holes for use, so don't go piling the small and inaccessible decorations elsewhere.
Primarily, this egg carton trick is great for smaller ornaments. When there's a large box of clutter, there is no easy way to find that elf for the shelf, a tiny Santa Claus, or a disco ball to join the party. Instead, place each tiny decoration into the empty egg holes for safe storage and easy access.
Don't Get Tangled!
Christmas lights might be our worst enemy. In a close second, next to headphones, these dreaded wires are the easiest piece of decoration to get caught up in. No matter what, there is no way to wrap the festive lights neatly for storage... until now. All it takes is an old clothes hanger.
It's rather simple. Just grab any old hanger from a wardrobe and carefully start wrapping the Christmas fairy lights around the width. Start winding the lights sideways to place them across the whole way. This technique allows the lights to still be wrapped together - however, the width of the hanger avoids any unwanted knots.
Just like any Christmas feast, there are never too many desserts. Even when there's fruit involved, it's always a party of flavors. Not to mention, getting creative can make the cutest shaped desserts, just like these stuffed Santa Claus strawberries. This sweet treat is so easy, the whole family can get involved during meal prep.
The ingredients are strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate chips. Cut off the top half of the strawberry just enough to make a pointy hat shape. Scoop out the center and fill with whip cream until it overflows. Place the top part back on and top it off with a small drop of cream. Add the chocolate chips to make eyes, and voila!
Candy Cane Card Holders
Food is always involved. Just like the recycled gingerbread men, there are a few other foodie surprises when it comes to alternative uses. When it comes to candy canes, they work for anything and everything Christmas-related, and not just because they're found outside Santa's grotto.
This hack is pretty simple, and the only purchase that needs to be done is for the candy canes and hot glue. Hold two upside-down candy canes together, so the hooks are turned outwards and placed downwards. Glue the cane parts together to stay in place. These are great holders for name places around the table. Guests will love them!
Glisten Under the Lights
This money-saving hack is slightly odder than the others. But don't be blindsided by the amenities that are involved - that being, an old and broken umbrella. Those glamorous chandeliers are pricey, considering everything else that is prioritized over the holidays. So, there's no harm in lighting up the home with a DIY light.
They say nothing goes unnoticed, but guests will be distracted by the beautiful light that adorns the homes' interior. So, get rid of the bruised and battered umbrella cover and spray paint its frame white. Twist the lights around the stalks to form a static branch shape. Turn on the lights and get ready for a Christmas magic show.
Pick A Shape, Any Shape
Cookies are great and everyone loves them. Whether they're chocolate chunk chewies, cinnamon raisins, or cluster crunch, they never disappoint. However, don't rule out every other use that the stencil can provide. Using the cutter for different desserts could take guests back by surprise.
Using a cookie cutter is a spontaneous way to, in simpler terms, not bake anything boring. While sprinkles and chocolate chips are crowd-pleasers, something new always comes off as a pleasant surprise. So, using stencils for brownies is not only appealing to the eye but also delicious. Regarding taste, the shape of the brownie matters!
Don’t Just Look at the Tree, Read It!
This might be one of the quirkiest hacks we've seen, but it sure does work! This idea can work perfectly for a nightstand or even a decoration for the day. For those bookworms out there, there's one last chapter for this unwritten money-saving gem. The props are simple: a pile of books and a starlight.
Let's not get technical. From dictionaries to old recipe books and even fictional novels, stack them all up to build the perfect tree. Ironically, this is the original physical form of a book anyway. Try using an image for stacking inspiration to create the perfect tree design. Don't forget to add the gold star!
DIY Christmas Cards
Sleigh the Christmas card trend this year with bespoke versions! This inventive DIY technique is a wholesome alternative to store-bought cards or even printed family picture collections. Using recycled paper is perfect for these cards. Plus, receiving a hand-made one makes it all more worthwhile and personal.
Save the money this year on those fancy cards that could end up in a hidden draw somewhere by the end of December. Instead, go greener and design something handmade. Surfing the web for ideas is completely allowed, and throw in a tutorial for some Christmas activity fun. Trust us, this card will be held on to for a long time.
Our Very Own Olaf
Let's build a snowman! The winter chills are getting the best of us, so it's only right to embrace them and honor the coolest Frozen character of them all. A fun activity for everyone, using socks, a cup of rice, white pompoms, orange and black felt, googly eyes, three clear elastics, and a hot glue gun. Let's get started!
Pour a cup of raw rice into the large sock and tie the first elastic to create a sphere plump at the bottom. Repeat this again twice but with 1/8th, and then 1/2 a cup to create smaller circles. Add the hot glue to the areas where the googly eyes, orange and black felt for the nose, and smile will sit. Everyone can have an Olaf!
Clinging On to Christmas
Twelve days is never enough. For most families, the warmth surrounding Christmas is something to hold onto forever. It is truly the happiest time of the year! Unfortunately, it must always come to an end. For some, this is with immediate effect on the 26th of December - but others tend to wait.
When it's time to pack up the decorations, store away the Christmas sweaters, and stuff the stockings back in the box, it's the tree that takes the most effort. Forget those movers, and grab a few rolls of clingfilm wrap! This is the best saving method for re-using trees. Should be good as new by the next year!
DIY Hot Cocoa Set
Christmas gifts: it's perhaps the most exciting and stressful aspect of the season. As family members gather every year, the number of presents becomes endless. But those savings aren't just going to appear. So, besides coming from the heart and home, DIY gifts are a tasteful incentive to say Merry Christmas!
It's the piping bag of hot cocoa dreams! Grab a piping bag and pour in the cocoa powder. Cut off the bag 2 inches before the powder stops and staple it down. Put this inside another piping bag and start filling in the mini marshmallows and choco chips. Cinch the top of the bag and tie it with a ribbon. Open up the set and enjoy!
Lighting up Christmas together one snowman at a time! These new anti-inflammatory DIY toys are the perfect activity and gift. Primarily, this is a great idea for the kids - but who says adults can't have a little Xmas fun too? Grab a battery-operated tea light, and let's get started.
Gather a black and orange sharpie, red ribbon, pipe cleaners, pom poms, and a hot glue gun. Have the light facing outwards, not upwards, like a carrot nose. Draw eyes with black sharpie eyes and a dotted mouth. Take 2.5cm of pipe cleaner to cover the top half as earmuffs, and glue the red ribbon at the bottom for a scarf. Cute and cozy!
Chocolate Tree Bark
Excluding the Christmas fairs and food halls, December is definitely the primary time of the year for all foodies. It's an excuse to incorporate food into almost anything! As the holidays loom in, we might be at fumble upon decoration ideas, but it's about choosing the right one. So, let's take a look at this chocolate tree.
This one is definitely about first come, first serve. Like a chocolate game of Jenga, gather together rectangle-wrapped chocolate bars, preferably with green and red packaging. Using an empty champagne or wine bottle, tape and ribbon, start layering the chocolate bars using tape in a tree form. Attach a ribbon bow at the top and dig in.
DIY Christmas Tags
It's another money-saving miracle! One lesson learned from this trick is to never throw away those old and vintage Christmas cards because now they're really coming in handy. Whether it's a snippet of Santa, a glimpse of his grotto, or a collection of wrapped-up gifts, these tags work great for decor.
Grab some string, red for a festive feature, and puncture a hole at the top of the chunk of the card that was cut out. Pull the string through the hole and tie it to secure a knot. Now, these card tags can hang off the Christmas tree branch or even be put inside stockings for a wholesome surprise.
It's always enjoyable starting something from scratch. The surprise outburst of creativity is a gift in itself, not to mention the hours upon end of crafting something for such short-term use. Still, time and effort are still appreciated, which is why these hand-made tags are the perfect gift or Christmas accessory.
Firstly, type out any text or draw up something festive and personal. Once satisfied with the design, print it out and grab a stencil to lay it out on any preferred piece of card. Whether this is colored paper, plain white, or card stock. The beautifully hand-drawn tags will stand out, thanks to their personal holiday touch.
Recycled Gift Wrap
Whether it's under a tree or handed to a friend, nothing beats the anticipation of opening a gift. Still, it's best to appreciate the art of wrapping. The neatly tied red bow on the front, or even silver dust for a little Christmas magic. But wrapping paper can get a little pricey with the number of gifts. We've got the solution.
One crafty alternative for wrapping paper is an empty chips bag. While silver is a great festive color, don't think this will look boring. Grab any string lying around the house, preferably red, of course, and start decorating! No one will know the difference. It will be torn to shred by the end of it, but at least it was wrapped!
Wrapping Paper Cuff
The purpose of wrapping paper cuff roles is to simply not have the paper roll out when it's not in use. It has a mind of its own, rolling out all over the place. So, keep the wrapping paper wrapped! Most importantly, it looks extra neat and tidy when it's time to clean up. One notable item to secure it is toilet paper rolls.
Time to put that out-of-order sign up and take those toilet rolls out! No, we're not using the actual toilet paper - but wait until it's finished so the cardboard part is in use. Cut down the middle, so it stays curved and maintains elasticity. Then, just place the wrapping paper tube inside the cardboard roll, and no more flyaways.
Spice Up the Tree
While there are always new and improved tree decorations, nothing says wholesome like traditional decor! We're taking it back to 1990 in the McCallister household - old ornaments, candy canes on every other branch, and miniature versions of presents! But, if there's anything to spice up a tree, it's burlap garland.
For a 6-foot tree, 54 to 60 feet of garland is needed, depending on the tree's fullness, whereas for a 7-foot, around 63 to 70 feet is required. Take a safety pin and attach it to the end of some string, and tug it through the end of the garland. Wind the string in and out at every 2 inches. Pull the string and scrunch it up.
DIY Gift Boxes
Gift boxes are always a treat. They're filled with personal favorites, perfect for sharing, and a holiday snack at its finest. While the boxes are easy to find, it's not amazing to find that the treats are placed on top of nothing. To spruce up the box, there are two simple kitchen accessories that can be added.
Take out some aluminum foil or parchment paper. Measure it out, so it's not overflowing but just enough to make it seem like the perfect Christmas gift. Cut out the selected part and place it inside the box. Once that's done, add the treats or gifts inside so the foil or wrap scrunches and creates a festive aesthetic!
Sometimes straightforward works. At the end of the day, it's the simple things in life we need to appreciate. Who needs a Gucci bag or a brand-new pair of Airpods… Back to the point. Becoming involved in artistic activities is the perfect way to embrace the holidays, and nothing says Christmas like the fresh smell of pinecones!
While those peppermint centerpieces adorn the dining table, gather around post-dinner and have a view of something different that compliments the cozy fire. Painting pinecones can be a beautiful bonding experience. Whether applying different shades of brown or snowflake white, get ready for some family fun!
Christmas X Candyland
Yes, we know Halloween is over - but that doesn't mean the Christmas exterior can't have a little razzle-dazzle! Besides, isn't Santa's grotto made from gingerbread? Boring lights are out, bring in the sweet treats and start decorating with these giant Candyland accessories. These can be made from scratch and are easier than they look.
Ladders are dangerous, and lights are safety hazards, so let's stick to something easy like giant lollipops! These decorations look great during the day and night. To construct, wrap colored cellophane around a clear plastic platter attached to a mop handle and seal it together with the pipe cleaners. They look too good not to eat!