Christmas is quite unique in its ability to make us feel many conflicting emotions at the one time. Anticipation and dread. Excitement and terror. Joy and stress. Festivity and overwhelm. You get the drift…
So my mission this year is to focus much more on the joy and excitement side of things and less on the stress, dread and terror stuff. I’ve already given the big middle finger to battling the shopping crowds by vowing to do all my shopping online and now I’m hacking my way through the rest of Christmas. Literally. Well, figuratively. As in, I’ve come up with a bunch of Christmas hacks all designed to MAKE LIFE EASIER, freeing me up to enjoy all the fun stuff. (Champagne keeps springing to mind.) Hopefully you can put some of these to good use too, and we can all raise a virtual glass together. *Chink!*
- Regain that hour or so you waste each year detangling your Christmas lights by wrapping them around a coat hanger when you’re done with them. Ok, this is technically more a hack for next Christmas, but every little bit helps.
- If your Christmas lights are impossibly tangled, give up now and turn them into an arty light installation instead. Just shove them in a planter box and top with some festive twigs and branches… voila! Then buy some new lights for the tree/ceiling/wherever you plan to string them and see point above.
- Turn your fridge into a snowman by sticking on some black circles for eyes and buttons, an orange triangle for a nose, and a colourful streamer for a scarf. Kitsch, but cute!
- Make fake snow for your Xmas table or craft projects by blitzing paper towel in a food processor. Go here for this and other easy fake snow ideas.
- Store your small precious Christmas baubles in an egg carton to stop them breaking – the larger ones can be storied in plastic cups.
- Don’t want the mess and hassle of a real tree but miss that delicious piney scent? Just burn some pine essential oil in an oil burner and inhale deeply. Ahhh, there ’tis.
- Hang Christmas ornaments from your light fixture for an easy Christmas themed chandelier or simply fill a glass vase with Christmas baubles like this lovely one below for a beautiful table centrepiece.
Gift wrapping hacks
- Last year, I estimated that I spent approximately 47 minutes of the half a day it took me to wrap all the presents just hunting for the end of the sticky tape. Never again! I declared at the time. I’ve discovered since that the trick is to attach a bread clip to the end of your tape after each turn – not only does it make the end simple to find, it also makes it easier to pull up the tape without it splitting down the middle (because doesn’t that just fill you with the joy of Christmas?). Or, sure, you could just buy a sticky-tape dispenser. Killjoy.
- Wrap empty cling wrap or foil cartons in Christmas paper – it’s the perfect way to store home-made cookies, truffles, fudge or gingerbread as a gift. Get some great how-to instructions here.
- Use small print outs of family photos instead of gift tags for a lovely, personalised touch to your gifts. If you really want to go all out, you can have the family do a lovely Christmas themed photo shoot for it. (Warning: likely to cause stress, which is what we are trying to avoid.)
- Cover empty toilet roll holders with wrapping paper or foil, then place them around your unfinished wrapping paper rolls to stop them unrolling everywhere, getting all scrumpled and causing your blood pressure to rise unnecessarily. (You don’t HAVE to cover them first. They just look prettier.)
- Not so much a gift wrapping hack, as a gift UNwrapping hack…. cover a large empty cardboard box with wrapping paper and use it to shove all your discarded wrapping paper in as you go. Makes for a much more lovely backdrop for the Christmas pictures than wrapping paper strewn all over the floor or the ubiquitous yellow garbage bag in the corner.
Christmas food hacks
- Create Christmas tree nibbles by cutting pita bread into triangles, covering with guacamole, sprinkling with diced capsicum for ornaments and sticking a pretzel in the bottom. Healthy, pretty and delish!
- Make Santa strawberries by dabbing a bit of whipped cream between two halved strawberries and adding little chocolate balls for eyes. For the recipe and other cool (literally) ideas of ways to serve up festive fruit this Chrissy, checkout this post I did for Kidspot.
- Stick upside-down ice-cream cones on top of cupcakes and frost them to make Christmas tree cupcakes.
- Glue candy canes together at the top to make place cards that sit in the hooky bits. Find out how here.
- When icing cookies or gingerbread shapes, put your icing in an old tomato sauce container, it will come out so much smoother and more precisely that a piping bag. Just wash it thoroughly first, duh!
- Make adorably festive Christmas ice cubes by freezing cranberry and/or mint in ice cube holders – great for drinks or a fancy ice bucket! Get more detailed instructions here.
And most importantly…
- Have everyone bring one plate of food each so you’re not stuck doing everything and having a nervous breakdown before the trifle comes out.
Do you have any more great Christmas hacks to share?
If you want to hear my interview with Kinderling radio about Christmas hacks, check it out here! (Hopefully you won’t cringe at the sound of my voice as much as I do…)