The holidays are upon us and bring lots of extras like extra buying, extra errands, extra decorating, extra entertaining, and extra baking. In short, the holidays bring extra stress. Before you throw your Santa hat into the fireplace, take a moment to cool down and read these tips. Here are a dozen holiday hints to do things easier and faster.
- Shred or tear colorful comics for packing. You can also wrap boxes that are going to be shipped in the comics. It is much more cheerful than plain brown paper. I save the comics from the Sunday paper all year. They also make great birthday wrapping paper, especially for children.
- If you are the primary present-wrapper, secretly assign one color of bow to each member of your family. Then you won't have to apply tags until the last minute. It foils curious kids and package pinchers.
- The first rule in holiday decorating is to only put out what you don't mind putting away. This eliminates marathon decorating sessions and short tempers when you are faced with the daunting task of packing everything up again.
- An easy, elegant way to add holiday cheer is to wrap your large pictures in pretty paper. Add a festive bow. Remember to leave the hanger or wire out for easy re-hanging.
- String lights on your tree vertically for maximum ease. When it is time to pack them away, they won't be tangled and you'll avoid prickly needles. On an average size tree, three to four connected strands look very attractive.
- If you have small children or curious pets, place plastic or other unbreakable ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. Better yet, save your fragile heirloom ornaments for when the children are older. If you can't bear to keep them hidden, you can hang them from the curtain rods, a mirror frame, or other area that will keep them out of reach.
- Dogs and cats think the tree you brought in is an exciting new toy. To discourage them from climbing it, use a spray bottle of water. One or two squirts of water are usually enough. Once the novelty wears off, they will most likely leave it alone.
- When it's time to take down the tree, repack everything in new boxes or sturdy plastic containers. Replace the worn out packing to protect your décor.
- Put everything you didn't use or no longer like in a discard pile. You can save it for a garage sale or donate it to a thrift store. Donations can be used as a tax credit. Remember to get a receipt for your donation. You'll reduce clutter and have less to worry about next year.
- Real Christmas trees are a treat to the senses and bring back wonderful memories. Until it's time to take it outside and thousands of dried out needles are left behind, embedded in the carpet and rugs. Instead of picking them up by hand or clogging your vacuum, use a butter knife and gently scrape the needles into piles. These are easy to pick up with a paper towel or dry Swiffer® sheet. You will get virtually all of them, and it saves your hands!
- Never place water globes outside in garages or sheds. Extreme weather fluctuations will damage them. Below freezing weather will shatter the glass and extreme heat will evaporate the liquid.
- When storing boxes, group items you use together in one box and label them clearly. By grouping decorations by the area you use them, you can save yourself some time and headaches next season.
If you follow some or all of these simple holiday hints, your holidays are sure to go smoother. Eliminating as many small, but annoying things you can makes the whole season one of joy as you celebrate with family and friends.
Shaunna Privratsky is a fulltime author. She lives in North Dakota with her family and is busy enjoying the holidays, preparing for guests and shoveling snow. Visit The Discount Diva for more money-saving ideas.
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- Visit the Christmas section in The Dollar Stretcher library. From holiday baking and recipes to homemade gift ideas to frugal decorating hints, we are sure to have what you're looking for when it comes to great holiday hints.
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