Make Gifts Into Holiday Decorations

Now’s the time to decorate for the holiday if you haven’t already! One easy way to decorate quickly it is to get your gifts wrapped and on display under the tree as soon as possible, says blogger Liz Marie. Experiment with gift wrap, ribbon, ornaments and other elements to lend your gifts festive visual interest, she says. “The dollar store sells brown craft paper that looks great paired with some natural elements you can find in your yard” such as pine cones and boughs.

Giving Grads Something Other Than Cash

Money always makes a good #graduation gift, especially if the #graduate in question is going away to school. But if you’re in the mood to offer the new graduate a practical, wrappable gift, Real Simple suggests giving them an instant camera or day planner to document the many moments of their new adult life. Electronics such as Bluetooth trackers and portable chargers will keep their phone available and ready to place calls and texts home when they need more money. Storage bins are an essential dorm room accessory, and a kit of simple household tools will be treasured at unforeseen moments.

Controlling Santa’s Christmas Clutter

After all of the shopping, cooking and party planning, Christmas is finally here. It’s time to tear into those gifts and feast on your favorite foods. But along with all of this bounty, Santa (and probably Amazon, too) has delivered a lot of packaging, wrap and other detritus that you’ll want to keep in check as you celebrate the season.

First, you’ll want to have a garbage bag or bin near the tree to collect all of the gift wrap that’s torn-into at this year’s gift unveiling. Americans consume about 4 million pounds of gift wrap every year, or about 333 million square feet — enough to cover more than 5,000 football fields! Collect and recycle it quickly as it gets shred and tossed aside to keep your home clean.

Shopping for all of those gifts undoubtedly produced a lot of empty, utilitarian boxes and bags. If you’re hosting, keep a few of these handy for people to put their new things in to take home after the Christmas party, and recycle the rest. Integrating new stuff is difficult enough; getting it to where it ultimately needs to go shouldn’t be a hassle, too.

The larger the group, the more work prepping and cleaning up from a meal will be. Don’t be shy about assigning tasks before you serve the big feast so that it’s clear who will be setting the table, wrangling the kids, clearing the table, and washing and drying the dishes, flatware and pots and pans. Cut the chaos before it starts!

When you’re done with the holiday, be sure to pack anything you want to keep for next year sensibly, I Love My Disorganized Life says. Purge ornaments you don’t like as you pack them, box your artificial tree with all of its accessories, and — if you’re feeling really ambitious — post printed packing lists on the exterior of all storage boxes.

“When you head into the post-Christmas cleanup with a plan, it is much easier to tackle the mess head-on,” the blog says. “Making sure you are systematic and organized doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time now, and the payoff when you can easily find everything next year is worth it!”

If you find lightly-used holiday decorations that you don’t use or want as you purge, set them aside in a separate donation box and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup so that they might bring others joy in the years to come. Your donation will also bring innumerable gifts to the nation’s veterans all year long. Happy Holidays from The Organizing Blog and ClothingDonations.org!

Decorate Your Gifts to Make Them Distinctive

To dress up your holiday gifts on the cheap, add evergreens or edible tags made of iced gingerbread, Good Housekeeping says. Make gifts into the likeness of a cartoon animal or attach cut-out paper snowflakes. Use a tulle pouf instead of a bow, or weave ribbon on top of gifts instead of tying it. Wrap gifts in reused paper from maps, newspaper or sheet music. Make beaded gift toppers or attach sparkly monograms. Or top your gifts with mini ornaments or candy canes — your creativity is the only limit when it comes to decorating your packages to make them stand out under the tree.

Use Kraft Paper as a Canvas for Gift Wrapping

Kraft paper is an inexpensive canvas to use when wrapping holiday gifts, Loves the Find says. Simply wrap up your gifts in the plain brown paper, then use your creativity to make it distinctive. Tie them with ribbon, fabric trims or twine and add tree trimmings or pine cones — or go more exotic with feathers, chalkboard paint and glitter. To create a repeating pattern, cut simple stamps out of potatoes, linoleum or a lint roller, and imprint the paper with a stamp pad or tempera paint. Kraft paper isn’t just for the holidays, either — you can use it at any time of year gifts are given.