Hanukkah is already in-progress, and Christmas Eve is merely a few days away. If you’re in the same mental place as me, those facts are blowing your mind. We can officially call any holiday preparations last-minute at this point — and anything last-minute is subject to more problems and stress. Below are a few of my favorite holiday hacks, here to help you survive the next week.
No. 1: Turn shipping boxes inside-out to make gift boxes
Remove the tape, unfold the box, and fold it back together inside-out. It’s super perfect with Birchbox shipping boxes — from when you buy items from their store — as they are lined with adorable patterns. Most other boxes are lined with plain cardboard, which is still a sleeker look that having the shipping label on the outside. Just remember to fill the gift with lots of tissue paper to keep the unsightly inside as covered as possible.
No. 2: Hide your normal decor with Christmas cards
Putting Christmas decor in front of normal decor drives me nuts; the look is often too cluttered. If you don’t have enough storage space to pack up your normal decor, simply push it to the back of your shelves and cover with Christmas cards or festive DVD cases. Then, place your holiday decor in front of the new, holiday-themed canvas.
No. 3: Fix wrapping mistakes with an extra strip of contrasting paper
Did you cut an uneven line? In this case, you could see the name of the product because I accidentally jerked my hand and cut a little indent right where the edges would meet. To fix this issue, I cut a small strip of contrasting paper, folded in the edges, and wrapped it around like a ribbon. Ta-da! The gift looks even better now.
No. 4: Keep all festive tins for storage and decor
Did you buy or receive cookies in a festive tin? Wash them out and put them under the tree. During the holidays. use them to hide the decor extras you might need (spare lights and hooks, etc.) or your small gift wrapping supplies, such as tape and tags. When it’s time to pack up the decor, wrap ornaments and place them inside the tins; this should help keep some of the weight off the breakables for the next ten or eleven months. When you unpack the decor next year, you can throw anything left in the boxes — an ornament you didn’t use, the newspaper you used to wrap the breakables — into the largest tin, put all the tins under your tree, and breakdown the boxes so they’re hidden during the holidays.
No. 5: Weight top-heavy lights for about 50 cents
Ah, my ancient emo angels… They’ve seen better days, but I find them too charming to get rid of. The teeny light sits in the top, and the bottom is hollow, so both of my emo angels have always tipped over a lot. To fix this problem, I wrapped about 50 pennies in tinfoil and put it in the bottom. Perfect!
No. 6: Make a short tree seem taller by utilizing your ceiling
We have an ‘apartment-sized’ tree, which was perfect until we moved to a loft. Now, although it’s the ideal width, it looks a little short. We hung a few ornaments from the ceiling in a circle around the tree using Command hooks, and voila! It instantly seems to fit in the space.
No. 7: Keep vintage items secure with a bell jar or cake dome
If you also collect vintage holiday decor, you surely know that many pieces don’t stand well on their own. They’re too fragile and often missing something that used to keep it secure. Put your most breakable items under a bell jar or cake dome to enjoy the items while keeping them safe.
No. 8: Give your tree some stability by securing it to the wall
While this may not keep your tree entirely safe, give it a little more stability by placing several — key word: several — Command hooks on the walls behind it, and running long twist-ties or strings from the middle of the tree to the hooks. It keeps things more balanced, and in the event of an unstoppable tree tip-over, it gives you a few extra moments to keep it from falling. Yes, we know this from experience. Ah, life with pets.
No. 9: Tie a tight ribbon knot by yourself
Sick of asking for someone to place their finger on the knot while you finish? Simply make the first knot, place your thumb on the knot, and finish tying with your other fingers and hand. You’ll end up with a knot around your thumb. Grab the ends with your other fingers and hand, then tighten as you slip your thumb out of place. Your knot will be tight and the present will be perfect!
No. 10: Save slightly-broken decor by hiding it in the tree
If something is broken — or in the case of this Santa and reindeer, missing a part therefore making a section of it hideous — but not sharp, wrap it into a small tree or the top part of a large tree. That way you can still enjoy it, while simultaneously covering the ugly or broken part with branches.
Remember: If your holiday problem cannot be fixed by one of these hacks, you can always turn to festive cocktails.