Six (Actual) Helpful Holiday Hints

Aye yi yi. Everywhere I look lately (Pinterest, Facebook, my ladies mag subscriptions) there are a million listicles purporting essential holiday lifehacks. I’ve taken the clickbait and read many of these compilations (for you, dear reader– such sacrifice!) with an eye to composing a post with the ideas that were as bright as your festive lights. But, much to my dismay, 97% of the ones I’ve seen are just hacks, not lifehacks. No, Better Homes & Garden, I’m not going to wrap my cookie cutters in ribbon for extra ornaments. But, thanks for trying. So, I simply took matters into my own hands and compiled the scant new tips I’ve encountered as well as super helpful hints from our archives!

Cardboard SleeveCoffee Sleeves Re-Used for Ornament Storage: I don’t know about y’all, but my coffee consumption goes up exponentially during the holiday season. Between shopping, traveling, and needing a little “go” juice to get everything done,  I find myself at Starbucks (or hopefully a small business equivalent) on a regular basis this time of year. Why not make USE of your crippling caffeine addiction and start saving your cardboard cup sleeves to safely cradle your ornaments when you go to store them after the holidays. It takes a little forward thinking, but I’m always looking for smart, organizing solutions. And lord knows how much we love re-using things around here!

Using Old Christmas Cards to Decorate Presents Next YearUsing Last Years Cards as Decorative Gift Wrapping: Speaking of smartly re-using things, instead of using ribbon, make use of the decorative elements from the pile of LAST YEARS cute holiday greeting cards from friends and family. Cut off the front cover of a fitting card (saving the sentiment portion, of course) and use it to jazz up a present. In the mocked-up “present” to the left, I’m using an old Christmas card as a name placard and a decorative element! My mom has been doing this forever and it is such a clever idea! This gift wrapping also travels and ships well!


The Ultimate Gift Wrapping Lifehack: Making Custom-Sized Giftbags for Oddly Shaped Presents with Wrapping Paper: Consistent readers of this blog may remember a post I wrote after the holiday season was over about an amazing gift-wrapping lifehack I discovered. In an effort to make this tip more timely, I am going to remind y’all about it while you can still use it! So, here (again) is the short segment from The Meredith Vieira Show about how to make custom-sized gift bags for oddly shaped presents using wrapping paper. **And make sure to use medium weight paper– the thin, cheap stuff punctures easily!**

And if you are looking for more gift-wrapping inspirado, check out Coralie’s Gift Wrapping 101 post!

Fixing a Hallmark Light and Sound Ornament

Hallmark Light and Sound Ornament Fix: Did one of your treasured Hallmark Light and Sound Ornaments not work this year when you plugged it in? Check out the post from our back catalog about how to fix standard ornament plugs for specialty light and sound ornaments.


Search for Wish Lists: If you are struggling with gift ideas (as we mentioned last Wednesday in our 2015 Favorite Things Guide), double check that your giftee doesn’t have a wish list somewhere: either on Pinterest, or Amazon. Why waste your time and energy on something you aren’t sure someone will love when you can get them something they REALLY want. Your intended may have already done the work for you.

Coping with Holiday Stress: In going through my papers recently, I found an incredibly applicable flyer I had acquired years ago on how to cope with holiday stress. Normally these things are a little treacly for my tastes, but this one was spot on so, I’ve paraphrased it here:

The holidays are stressful, no matter how joyous the occasion. Be aware of your expectations and work on making them realistic. Accept that perfection is impossible and be true to your feelings. If you aren’t feeling jolly, don’t force yourself just because it’s the holiday season. Budget your money and your time– procrastination only ADDS to the stress of the holidays (and it’s completely avoidable). Don’t over commit, learn to say no, and agree to do only what you really want to do. Over committing leaves you feeling resentful and overwhelmed (which is the last thing you want during the holiday season). Ask for help, use your support system, and take frequent breathers. Allow for differences (especially during an election season) and practice forgiveness at every opportunity.

Take care of yourself and enjoy this time of year. It is so easy to get caught up and stressed out that we forget the bigger picture.

What do you think? Do you have realistic expectations for this year? Are you a caffeine junkie? Do you have any go-to suggestions for surviving this time of year? As always, let us know!





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