Now that you’ve fixed enough turkey sandwiches for another year, it’s time to start thinking about the one holiday that really matters: Christmas. The pre-Christmas countdown is so intense, it’s essentially an extreme sport.
There’s decorating to do, presents to buy and household chores to get done—all before the next round of relatives makes its way to your front door. And since there’s less than a full month until Christmas is in full swing, we’d thought we’d find you some of the best home hacks for a stress-free holiday season. Read on to get started.
Dress Up Sandwich Cookies for Quick Gift Bags
There’s no doubt that homemade Christmas cookies made a tasty handmade gift, but with all you have to do to get ready for the holidays, who has time to bake? Try this shortcut instead: whip up a batch of these no-bake cookies and stick them in these custom-wrapped gift boxes made from old aluminum foil packages. Seriously, mint oreos dunked in chocolate beat your standard sugar cookie any day!
Hang Wreaths with Command Hooks
The only thing worse than the decorating crunch is going to all the trouble of hanging wreaths on your front door only to have them fall off every time you close it. Instead, hand them with outdoor command hooks—they even come in sophisticated colors, like brushed nickel and and slate. What a pretty way to celebrate the season!
Have an Extra Gift Lying Around for Impromptu Parties and Guests
This time of year, your social calendar can become really unpredictable—you never know what kinds of parties you’ll be asked to attend or what unexpected house guests you’ll have to host on a few days’ notice. And of course, you’ll feel obligated to bring wine or to exchange gifts with your house guests. Don’t get thrown by a last-minute party! When you shop for Christmas presents, buy an extra bottle of wine, gift cards, or generic housewarming-type gifts that you can hand over on the spur of the moment.
Take Some Time to Weed Out the Kids’ Toy Collections
Most likely your kids are going to get plenty of toys come Christmas day, so you’ll set yourself up for a stress-free New Year if you do a little housekeeping now. But let’s face it: getting kids to pare down is tough. All the sudden your eight-year-old remembers how much they love to play with those blocks they haven’t touched in three years. Some ideas to take the sting out of decluttering: turn it into an opportunity to teach your kiddo about sharing and donate the toys. Emphasize how much more room they’ll have to play, and that it will be easier than ever to find their favorite toys. And turn the task into a game: have your kids play “garage sale” and pick the toys they want to “sell.” You can “pay” for the toys with Hershey’s kisses!
Set a Good Example and Declutter Your Stuff Too
Speaking of stuff, you’re probably going to get plenty of gifts of your own. So be the role model your kids deserve and do a little decluttering of your own stuff. Go through old decorations, your closet, and of course, the “junk” room, and give it all a good sorting—after all, you’re going to need that space for when the relatives visit! Check out our guidelines for what goes where.
Get Tree Decorating Right
Not sure how many strings of lights you need for your freshly-bought 15 foot mega tree? Refer to this guide and you’ll have it all shored away in no time. If you’re not a visual person, though, the magical equation is 100 lights plus nine feet of garland plus 20 ornaments for every foot of tree height. Tree decorating in no time—Christmas, do your worst!