Christmas Tips And Ideas



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Christmas Tips And Ideas

Try these easy tips and ideas to make your Christmas easier and more enjoyable! Planning ahead now will make everything go much more smoothly!

Christmas Tips and Ideas

  • Keep things as simple as possible. If you find that you are unable to manage the twenty-five different cookie recipes you want to make, pick two or three of your specialties and just make large batches of those. Don’t serve fifteen different dishes for Christmas dinner. Just make the five or six favorites.
  • Cut scraps of fabric or felt into Christmas shapes. You can do this by using cookie cutters or templates. Then attach them to twine, wire or ribbon and use for garland all over the house or on your tree.
  • When stringing popcorn for garland, let it sit for a couple of days to get stale. Stale popcorn is easier to string. (I sure wish I’d known that a couple years ago year! We made popcorn and cranberry garland. It was very pretty!)
  • Put some vegetable oil on a rag and polish red and green apples. Place in a bowl and fill in the spaces with greenery. (Lemons look nice, too! …Or is that a different time of year? ;-)
  • Wrap some of the pictures you have hanging on the wall to look like packages. This can be a really cute and inexpensive addition to your decorations!
  • Send your Christmas packages early. This may seem like an obvious tip, but many people don’t do it. You can save a huge amount of money by doing this. Not only will you save money, but the more things you can get done and out of the way early, the fewer things you will have to do all at once at the last minute when too many tasks are already stressing you out!
  • When you have to send things through the mail, think about what you’ll buy. Is it fragile, heavy or very large? None of these are good candidates for shipping. (Some of our family spend $150 in shipping to mail $100 worth of gifts.) Instead, send smaller items like videos, CDs, or books, which can be sent inexpensively by Media Mail. If you’re OK with gift certificates, you can usually send them for the price of one stamp.
  • Do you like to have fresh greenery in your home for Christmas? Go to any place that sells Christmas trees (tree lots, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, 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. (We sometimes go to a local park after a windy day and collect freshly fallen evergreen boughs.)
  • For the kids’ table at Christmas or just to use as a cute decoration, put a candle in a glass jar or bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl around the bottom of the candle with cinnamon candies, peppermints, nuts or colored gum balls or jaw breakers.
  • I like decorating my house in a Candyland theme each year. If you have the same type of theme, at each place setting for dinner decorate a small glass jar with a ribbon around it and fill it with multi-colored candy. This not only adds to the table decorations, but you can write the person’s name on the jar and make it a small gift for him or her to take home.
  • One of our traditions at Christmas is to always dress up. After all, we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday, and in the same way that we would dress our very best if we were invited to the birthday party of the Queen of England or the President, why do any less for Christ’s birthday? Besides, dressing up adds to the fun!
  • Buy your Christmas tree after December 15th when they are much less expensive.
  • Instead of a fancy tree skirt, use a white sheet. The colored gifts look great against the white. (Then your seven year old can decide she wants to wear the tree skirt herself! ;-)
  • Don’t worry about the extra expense of a “tree extender”. They don’t really work. Your tree just needs lots and lots of water. Make sure the cut end is always under water or it’ll seal itself shut and stop drinking. Check often! Your tree may drink gallons of water in the first few days.
  • Go to your carpet store and ask for the cardboard cores that carpet comes on. I wrap them in white plastic trash bags and twist red ribbon around them. That way I have instant giant peppermint sticks for my outside decorations (and they don’t cost $50 each like the ones in the stores).
  • Are some of your Christmas decorations and ornaments looking a little battle-scarred and worn? Maybe you want to change from the country look to a more sophisticated look? Try spray-painting your older things with gold, silver or copper paint.
  • Recycle that artificial tree that you don’t want any more. Bend the branches and connect them to make either one very large wreath or several small ones. If you’re not ready to part with an artificial tree, you can still watch at garage sales for inexpensive trees to use for wreaths in the coming year.
  • If you send a lot of cards each year, consider sending postcards instead of Christmas cards. They are less expensive to buy and cost less to send. You can even recycle some of the fronts of old Christmas cards to use as postcards.
  • Got more eggnog than you can drink? Use leftover eggnog for French toast. Just add a little cinnamon to it and it works wonderfully.

Comments

  1. Jenny B says

    Hey I loved your comment about baking 25 different cookies….that’s me in a nutshell!!! I actually found some really neat ideas in the December Martha Stewart magazine about how you mix up 1 to 4 slightly different cookie doughs to make MANY different cookies without a whole lot of work. It was fabulous!!!

    • says

      Allison since I bake gingerbread men I make my house look like a gingerbread house or a candy land theme. I go to carpet places and get the 10-12 ft long cardboard cores carpet comes on, wrap them in white plastic bags and then using outside wide red ribbon (the kind you use to make bows for wreaths) I wrap it down the core like a candy cane stick. I then place them on each side of my garage or tie to my fence on each side of my driveway etc. For $1to $2 I have a decoration with a big impact.

      I one year got some clear colored cellophane paper in different colors for free so I take 2 paper plates and tape them together with right sides facing. This makes a slight curve. I then wrap them in the cellophane leaving the paper about a 3-4 inch longer on each side and tie the sides with a string to look like a wrapped piece of hard candy. I hang many of these on my fence from my roof and up and down columns. They are so bright and cheery that my decorations look nice even during the day with no lights on. I also took some to the candies and tied on to a stick (I had 25 old white spring curtain rods I couldn’t use so that is what I used for a stick but you could use even a regular stick spray painted white) and stuck them in flower beds and places like lollipops.

      My son cabbaged on to some 3 ft. heavy card board cores from work they were tossing and I spray painted them white and painted a red stripe on them or used the wide ribbon for more small candy cane sticks.

      Then one year I add some giant gingerbread men to it all. I found huge card board boxes someone was throwing out and asked for them. Opened hem up to make one large piece of cardboard and had a family members of different sizes lay on them. I traced around them, painted on a face and cut them out for a gingerbread family which hung by my front door. The largest one was almost 8 ft tall.

      I’m no artist at all. My kids laugh because the best I can draw is stick people but I don’t have the money to buy expensive decorations so I see something I would like and then try to figure out how to make it for almost nothing or with what I have on hand. Toss in tons of multi colored lights and some greenery. It may seem like a lot of work but I just kept adding something each year and you can save everything once it is made and use over and over.

      I also top it off with a candy wreath on the door.

  2. Pat Havens says

    I just have to tell you I love Dining on a Dime the cook book it is awesome I bought 6 of them and have given them as presents to my friends and family and everyone really loves them ! I made some of the cleaning solutions in the book and have to say the vinegar, alcohol , and ammonia mixture is the best thing I have ever used to clean my stove and appliances and it cost just pennies to make . This is the best ever for cleaning by black stove top and I cant say enough good things about this book or this site , my daughter and granddaughter and I are making our Christmas presents for all our female friends and relatives from the recipes in the book . All I can say is WOW..WOW…WOW thank you so very much !!!!!!!!

  3. Sheri says

    Another egg nog tip: Egg Nog is a great ice cream base! Just put it into your ice cream maker and let it run! Or, like what we have, it’s a frozen outside shell and the mixing fins inside, we just churn the egg nog into ice cream! It works with yogurt too, but as yogurt gets colder, it loses flavor.

    Thank you for the ideas!

  4. says

    Please, if you are sending gift cards through the mail, wrap them in Saran or Bubble Wrap not making it too thick. Our son sent two Wal Mart Cards to a needy family one year and they never received them. They were stolen through the mail. Wal Mart told him to always write down the numbers on the cards before mailing and this way they can be traced. The clerk said hers was stolen and used in Pa. and she was in SC. I usually use the bubble envelopes and they seal so tight, you cannot get them open without cutting the top off. So far, I’ve been lucky.

  5. Mary Jane says

    Some members of my extended family make a big fuss about giving and receiving Christmas cards, but years ago I didn’t send them, due to postage costs, and the truth was, if I thought of a person during the holidays, I usually wrote a letter, called or sent a small gift. My mother always called and expressed her disappointment at not getting the Christmas card, though she got a gift by mail. One year, I took a thrift store picture frame and covered the background cardboard with wrapping paper, and then collaged the surface of that cardboard with Christmas images cut out from old Christmas cards, or magazines. Then I used a glitter pen to highlight certain parts of the collage, cut out and pasted a verse from the cards, or a greeting, and put that on the collage as well. When it was all dried, I put he cardboard in the frame, and using a gold or silver marker, gilded a groove into the outside of the frame. Off I sent the picture, which could be set on a table with the easel back, or hung up on a wall. Wonder of wonders! She was delighted, and no more complaints about missing Christmas cards, as this has become a permanent decoration. Some ideas that I have done for collages are: nativities/Christmas stories/angels, Santa scenes/children, snowy landscapes, pets at Christmas, Christmas trees/ornaments/wreaths. Inexpensive and pretty.

    • Alice says

      One year, we had no money for presents, and I made my in-laws a collage of postcards of old movie posters that I had gotten for free when a library was moving out of their old facility. That collage hung in my father-in-law’s TV room until after he died, when it was sold at auction. Another year, one of my sorority sisters gave me a March of the Wooden Soldiers poster that she was going to toss because the glass in the frame was broken. I took it home, removed the glass, polished the brass frame, and gave it to my father in law. He cried. That, too, hung in his TV room until he died. It now hangs in my living room.

  6. sheila says

    I had leftover eggnog at the end of last Christmas and found I could use it in a cake. I replaced the water and the eggs part of the cake mix. I just figured 1/4 for each egg it called for. The cake came out great! It did taste like eggnog (used vanilla cake mix) and everyone liked it!

  7. pat says

    If you live in a cold country and it will be snowing when you want to cut your tree, or will be freezing. Cut your tree early, get a 5 gallon bucket and put water, sugar , and green food colouring in the pail. We cut the trunk just a sliver shorter when we get it home and put the trunk in the water and keep it out in the cold till we want to decorate it. The tree sucks up the sugar water, and the green goes into the branches and your tree stays green!
    Then when we take it out, we make sure all decorations are off the tree ( no tinsel left for sure!) we take pine cones and smear them with peanut butter and roll them in sunflower seeds, we also tie on apples after we have found a good place to put the tree in the yard where we can watch the birds enjoy the tree for the second time. Still later we use the tree for mulch. Such a fun thing to do, get your tree and enjoy it for a few months!
    Also I love a trip to town an evening a week or so before Christmas. We go and look at the decorations in town, the homes that are lit up then come home and have a snack and hot coco ( sometimes it’s one of the few times of the year our friends drink coco instead of their coffee!). Oh and if you have it hot apple juice with a stick of cinnamon is lovely too. This is the time to have your easy cookies, dips and snacks ready for the “special night” with family or/and friends.

    When we moved here a few years ago we were lucky in getting wonderful neighbours. One set in particular took us in as family. One day it was very cold and snowy and I heard bells, sure enough they had hooked up their horses to a sleigh and picked us up and took us on our 1st real sleigh ride! And a red sleigh no less. This was one of their traditions and I have to say it is one of the highlights of my life. ( I am not a horse woman) . So what ever your special tradition is, share it …. it might be someone else’s dream come true. Perhaps it’s your family sing song or play night, or seeing the lights, or a cookie exchange. But for someone that might make their whole Christmas special.

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