The holidays are almost here! If the anticipation, prep, and list-checking of the holidays already has you stressed, we have creative hacks at the ready. Whether you are looking for affordable holiday decorations, tricks to make wrapping presents easier or holiday cookies in a flash, these budget-friendly ideas will save your season. Keep reading to see them all.
Decorated Cookie Boxes
Show off your fam’s holiday cookie recipe with these gorgeous cookie boxes. Give your friends, neighbors and teachers a yummy gift they’ll love. Find out how to create these beautiful boxes from our friend Aunt Peaches.
Twinkling Trees for Your Lawn
Decorating your lawn for the holidays can be expensive and a little complicated. But not anymore! With these helpful tips from Mary & Tim of 17 Apart, you can create your very own trees to give your lawn a little extra twinkle.
Create Your Own Festive Plates
Save money on expensive holiday table decor by crafting your own with a little help from The Krazy Coupon Lady. Grab a roll of chalkboard tape and a chalk pen to add holiday flare to any plate, platter, or mug.
Making Santa’s Footprints
Make Santa’s visit even more magical by creating footprints that lead your kiddos right to the tree. Little Hiccups has all the info you need to make your good little boys and girls extra excited on Christmas morning.
Candy Canes as Card Holders
Turn those extra candy canes into cardholders with this awesome idea from The Krazy Coupon Lady. Tie a pair of them with a ribbon, and you’ve got a festive card holder! Bonus: They are also the perfect party favor or dessert!
Mini Pumpkins as Bowls
One of the more creative ways to use pumpkins on your table is by creating pumpkin bowls for soup, dip, or as a funky ice chest. Incorporate the pumpkin into your Thanksgiving meal in an exciting way that will make your dinner a holiday hit.
Condiment Bottle For Icing
Frosted sugar cookies are a holiday staple, but decorating them can be super messy. In order to keep the crazy contained, use clear condiment bottles to create intricate designs and keep everything clean(er).
Making Pink Champagne
Champagne is a must for every holiday party, and you can make this treat even sweeter in a snap. Add cotton candy to your flute and pour the bubbly over it. Bonus: Try a non-alcoholic version with 7-Up for the kiddos.
Paper Wrapped Candles Centerpiece
These DIY paper wrapped candles make the perfect gift or centerpiece for any holiday party. Pick up some winter wonderland gift wrap and dollar store sanctuary candles, and head over to Today's Creative Life for all the details.
Store Ornaments in Cups
Everyone wants to keep their ornaments organized, and it turns out all you need is a bin and a stack of plastic cups to make sure each ornament stays perfectly packed until next year. Head over to eHow for a fun video tutorial.
Make Your Own Baking Powder
Baking is one of the best parts of the holiday season, but what if you run out of baking powder for your festive confections? We have a simple solution. To get 1 teaspoon baking powder, mix ¼ teaspoon baking soda with ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, and voila!
Photos Instead of Gift Tags
Instead of using those tiny gift tags, follow Our Suburban Farm’s lead and use your favorite photos from the past year. Print and paste the pics on each gift to add an artistic and unique touch.
Hot Glue For Twinkle Lights
Having trouble getting the twinkle lights to stick to your home’s exterior? Try applying hot glue in exactly the right spot, and your lights will stick to those porous surfaces in no time. This awesome tutorial from Christmas Decorators will help you get the job done.
Wrap Your Tree Before You Toss It
The big day is over and you need to take your tree to the curb, but how do you make that happen without getting pine needles all over your house? We recommend wrapping garbage bags around both ends to minimize the mess. Simply remove and re-use the bags after (most city tree pickups require the trees to be unwrapped). You can also do the same thing with an old sheet unless your tree is extra long.
Whipped Cream Shapes
You can make any mug of hot chocolate extra festive with this brilliant hack. Try freezing your whipped cream to make fun shapes with cookie cutters. Get the recipe and some helpful tips on An Italian in My Kitchen.
DIY Colorful Menorah
Get creative this Hanukkah with this delightful take on the traditional menorah. Grab a few extra paper towel rolls, a vibrant selection of paint, popsicle sticks and some sparkling golden paper to create the flames, and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind keepsake to add some colorful fun to your holiday décor.
DIY Cookie Holders
If you’re looking for a cute and simple way to deliver your delicious holiday treats without breaking a single one, try this cool method from It’s Always Autumn. With a paper plate and a few adorable embellishments, you’ll have one sweet cookie holder.
Hot Glue Snowflakes
Save on holiday décor by making your own snowflakes. All you need is parchment paper, a glue gun and Muslin & Merlot’s tutorial for Glue Gun Snowflakes. (Her free snowflake printable is also available here.) You’ll have wintry, one-of-a-kind décor for windows and tabletops and even the tree!
Instapot Wine Recipe
If you’ve discovered the joy of cooking with an Instant Pot, then you’ll know this little beauty can do just about anything, including turning grape juice into wine. With a little help from David Murphy, all you need to do is grab some grape juice and leave the pot on its yogurt setting, and you’ll have your very own wine in a matter of hours!
Decorate Your Pumpkins for The Holidays
Save a few of your Halloween pumpkins to paint, stack, and dress up. Follow this cool tutorial from Nola Girl at Heart to create your very own snowman with painted pumpkins.
Pick Up Broken Glass
Whether you’re throwing a holiday party or just decorating the tree, you need to be ready to deal with broken glass. Instead of sweeping or vacuuming, we recommend reaching for a slice of bread. Press the bread over the glass and watch as all those tiny shards disappear in seconds.
Keep Your Chocolate Melted
Creating the gooey goodness of melted chocolate is a must for decorating your favorite holiday treats. To keep the chocolate perfectly melty, make sure it stays in a water bath in your slow cooker. You can also use The Yummy Life technique to melt peanut butter chips, milk and white chocolate to give your kiddos tons of decorating options.
Festive Trash Bin for Gift Wrap
Unwrapping presents is one of the most magical and messy parts of the holiday season. Chica & Jo came up with a brilliant idea to wrap a large box with an open top in wrapping paper and use it as a trash bin on the big day. When it’s all over, it’s as simple as carrying it out the door.
Bundt Pan Wreath
Build a cool upcycled wreath using an old bundt pan, ribbon and a little flair. We promise it’ll be nothing bundt fun for your little helpers. Click here for all of the details, and don't forget, you can always skip the painting step and go with copper or silver to make it even easier.
Get a Real Letter from Santa
Keep the magic alive for your little ones by arranging to have a letter from Santa arrive in the mail. The USPS has a Letters from Santa program; simply have your kiddo write a letter, then you write a letter from "Santa" and send them both to the North Pole by December 15th.
DIY Santa Cups
Make our drinks extra festive with these adorable Santa Cups from Monica at Homemade Parties. Consider using them for holiday gifts for teachers: one of these full of candy, bath salts or handmade cookies is cute and hassle-free!
The LightKeeper Pro
Twinkle lights make your house feel like a winter wonderland, but one faulty bulb means tossing out the whole string. That’s why one of our must-have gadgets for the season is The LightKeeper Pro. This handy little tool fixes broken bulbs is seconds, and is guaranteed to save you some serious cash.
Wire Hanger Tinsel Tree
Turn your coat hangers into holiday decor in a snap. These trees are perfect for side tables and window sills, and can even double as a seasonal hallway nightlight. Check out just how easy they are to make by heading over to Natalme for the instructions.
Bag Clip on Tape Edge
When you’re wrapping all those presents, losing the tape edge is every parent’s worst nightmare. But, we’ve got a hack that will change your life. All you need to do is put a bag clip at the end of the roll to hold your place.
Make a Sleigh with Halloween Candy
Don’t let your leftover Halloween candy go to waste! Use those yummy treats to create perfect gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. Learn more about how to turn two candy canes and a KitKat into a totally adorable sleigh over at Ellyn’s Place.
Use Hot Glue on Your Gingerbread House
You can do anything with hot glue, including build an amazing gingerbread house. It might sound kinda wacky, but using hot glue will actually make your gingerbread house last way long. Head over My Little Poppies for more details on how to create the ultimate gingerbread masterpiece.
Whether you’re bracing for the polar vortex or looking forward to a sunny holiday season, kiddos love playing with snow. Try creating your very own snow dough with this awesome recipe from Adventures in Wunderland. The best part, all you have to do is add water, and you’ve got instant dough!
Wine Glass Snow Globe
Snow globes always give you that classic winter wonderland vibe. Head to Consumer Crafts to learn how to turn a plastic wine glass and some miniature trees into this signature piece of decor. Also, if you don't feel like making fake snow, Miss Kopy Kat suggests using Epsom salts as a budget-friendly alternative.
Color Code the Wrapping Paper By Kid
Color coding your gifts is an easy way for your non-readers to pass out presents and figures exactly which gifts are theirs. Assign each family member a color or wrapping paper pattern, and forget all of those pesky gift tags.
Build Your Own Fireplace
Curling up next to a crackling fire gets you in the holiday spirit, but you don't actually need a functioning fireplace to enjoy the tradition. All you really need is six cardboard boxes, a roll of packing tape, and some brick covering. Learn all about building your very own fireplace with a little help from this awesome tutorial.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
Winter is the ultimate season for breaking out the slow cooker to help you create yummy dinners for the fam. But, this amazing invention is also great for brewing scrumptious hot chocolate. Head over to How Sweet Eats for all details on making hot chocolate everyone will love.
Decking the halls is one of the best parts of the holiday season. If you’re looking for something shinier to decorate your home, try creating a giant ornament wreath with this hack from Sweet Pickins.
— Natasha Davis with Jennifer Massoni Pardini