Holiday Hacks for Parents Who Want to Make Christmas Even Jollier

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Everyone loves the holiday season! It is full of lights and trees and ornaments and hot chocolate and presents and cookies and decorations. The only thing is that none of those seasonal delights appear in your home automatically– someone has to make them happen. You are the one who has to put up the tree, untangle and string those lights, bake perfectly shaped gingerbread men, and wrap all the gifts. You are the one who has to pretend that Santa came down the chimney and leave evidence that he’s been there.

You are the one who has to drag the tree down to the curb when the season is through. You are the one who has to bake and package and give out all those sugar cookies. And, this is all a lot of work! It’s not fun to spend your whole holiday season running around. You deserve to sit down on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else.

And these hacks will help you do just that!

The hacks in this list are designed to make your whole holiday season stress-free, creative, and happy!

Take advantage of free shipping day.

Write it down: Free shipping day is December 15th this year, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. More than 400 vendors will ship your presents for free.

Use your leftover Halloween pumpkins as Christmas decor.

Use them to make snowmen, or go full-on Nightmare Before Christmas with your pumpkins.

Buy a lot of butter

Buy a lot of butter– just do it. You’re going to be baking and cooking and almost recipe calls for it. It lasts a long time if you don’t use it, so just stock up at the beginning of the holiday season.

Use condiment bottles to ice cookies.

They are so much easier to handle and more convenient than piping bags. These are perfect if you have kids who are going to decorate cookies.

Use hangers to store string lights.

If you wrap your Christmas lights on a hanger, you won’t have to spend hours detangling them next year. It’s worth it. Trust me.

Wrap your tree in a plastic bag when dragging it outside.

Unless, of course, you want to leave a trail of pine needles literally everywhere. Putting it in a garbage bag will eliminate this problem altogether.

Use a garment bag to store wrapping paper.

Wrapping paper rolls are a little too long to comfortable shove in a box. Using a garment bag saves you space and a headache.

Store beaded garland in empty plastic water bottles.

This stuff is so easy to get tangled, but if you drop it in a water bottle to store it, you can pour it out with ease the next year.

Make bows out of duct tape!

Duct tape comes in all manner of fun patterns these days, and you can easily use it to make lovely bows for your tree or your mantel.

Use your old sweaters to make pillowcases!

Did you even think your couch could get any cozier? Use those sweaters you don’t wear anymore to warm up your throw pillows.

Use hot glue to make slippers non-slip.

Little kids love running around the wood floors in their slippers, but that’s how you end up with stitches in your chin (just ask five-year-old me). Use hot glue to reinforce the bottom of those slippers to prevent slipping.

Roll your clothes in your suitcase.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, make sure you roll your clothes in your suitcase to maximize your space. It leaves more room for presents.

Wrap your tree in plastic wrap.

Wrap your fake tree, ornaments and all, in plastic wrap when you’re putting it away. That way it’s good as new next year. All you have to do is unwrap it and you’re ready to go.

Store round ornaments in egg cartons.

It makes all the sense! They’re delicate like eggs, and they need a place to safely sit when you’re not using them.

If your ornaments aren’t round, store them in solo cups.

It’s a way better solution than what you normally do, which is throw them in a cardboard box and hope their limbs don’t fall off.

Use paint samples to make ornaments.

Have you recently repainted? Do you have a bunch of these strips lying around? Cut the green ones into trees and the red into candy canes for chic ornaments.

Freeze whipped cream in fun shapes!

This may be the best hot chocolate topper you can make! It will be a hit with the kids.

Make your own menorah.

Chanukah is a great holiday, but it involves a lot of open flames. If you have some paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks and construction paper, you can make your very own less dangerous menorah.

Mull your wine for a perfectly spiced, wintery adult drink.

Hot chocolate is a great drink for the kids, but it’s so sugary– and the adults deserve something a little spicier.

Make Santa footprints to trick your kids.

Lying is okay around at the holidays, right? Use powdered sugar to make footprints that could only be from the big man himself!

Use grape stems to make trees outside your gingerbread house.

Seriously! Dip them in chocolate and they will look like super realistic wintry trees.

Keep chocolate melted by putting it in hot water.

While you’re decorating cookies and other goodies, you’ll need to use melted chocolate. To keep it melty, stick the jar in water in your slow cooker or a pot!

Use the box from your aluminum foil to make cookie boxes.

It’s such a fun, lovely presentation! You can cover the boxes in construction paper and decorate them to personalize each one.

Make a wreath out of a bundt pan!

The shape is there, it’s got a hole that you can hang it from, all that’s missing is the decorations!

Get a letter from Santa!

Yes, really! The U.S. Postal Service has a program called Letters to Santa. Have your kid write a letter to Santa, then you write a response, address it properly, and mail it. The rest is up to the North Pole elves.

Use candy canes to make little sleds!

Top them with candy or cookies for fun gifts or little snowmen for perfect Christmas decorations.

Make your own fireplace!

If you don’t have a real one at home, never fear! Santa can still come. All you have to do is make your own fireplace out of cardboard boxes and some paper.

Make mason jar snow globes.

Mason jars may be a trendy decor item ever! They’re endlessly versatile and can make great homemade snow globes.

Buff up your tree with green tinsel.

Is your Christmas tree looking a little bare? A little Charlie Brown-ish? Beef it up and fill it out with green tinsel! Share with someone to make their holiday season bright!