Craft a Festive Holiday

Budding crafters know that all you need is creativity — and maybe a hot glue gun — to decorate for the #holidays in magnificent DIY style. Reader’s Digest has 50 foolproof ideas you can use to make your home into holiday headquarters, including jingle bell wreaths, rustic reindeer figurines and cinnamon stick candles. These and other holiday crafts can keep you and the kids busy while in #quarantine, and give you that warm holiday feeling that may be missing with so many travel plans cancelled this year.

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.

Store the Holidays Away Sensibly

Even the most diehard #holiday celebrators will admit that it’s finally time to take down the tree, wind up the lights and box up the tchotchkes for most of the year ahead. They’ve communicated your holiday cheer dutifully for several weeks, and it’s time to give them a rest.

A little ingenuity will help you pack away and preserve those holiday items for next Christmas. And a little judicious weeding out will save you some space so that holiday clutter can’t get the best of you next season.

First, of course, is the weeding out. As you take down the lights, toss any strings that no longer work and can’t be fixed with a simple swap of bulbs. And throw away damaged ornaments and other decorative items — the only place to stores trash is in the circular file.

You’ll want to preserve what you keep to create that winter wonderland again quickly, so take time to sort, organize and store decorations carefully. Good Housekeeping offers a number of clever ways to keep thing safe and organized for the months they’ll spend in the attic, garage or basement.

Wrap string lights around squares of notched cardboard so they can’t tangle when stored, for example, and put fragile ornaments in plastic cups or egg containers to keep them from getting crushed. Bag any artificial wreaths to keep them dust-free, and consider shrink-wrapping the tree.

Remember to label all bins and boxes with their contents, even if you opt for clear-plastic containers. If you really want to streamline 2020 decorating, The Spruce says, you can number your bins to know which ones should be reopened first.

After all, the biggest benefit of getting decorations organized as you put them away for the season is that you’ll be able to locate and use them easily next fall! The holidays are hectic enough without your having to hunt down every item or buy it again.

If there are still-useful items you just don’t want to store or display next year, bag them and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. They will be resold to benefit veterans’ initiatives, and other families will be able to use them to create holiday cheer.

It can be bittersweet to take down and shelve your holiday decorations, but that’s what makes the season so special. Get #organized, and this year’s holiday season will be better — and more stress-free — than ever.

Toward a Clutter-Free Christmas

Now that this year’s (shortened) #holiday season is in full swing, faithful readers of the Organizing Blog have likely dragged multiple boxes of decorations out of their attics and garages in an effort to create a bit of holiday cheer in and around their homes. After all, what are the holidays without lights, tinsel, ornaments and tchotchkes?

You may have also made multiple trips to the store in search of odds and ends that you’ll “need” to create that warm-and-fuzzy holiday feeling. Maybe the lights you stored last year didn’t work this year, or you just “had to have” the newest Star Shower laser lights or inflatable snowman.

The Organizing Blog is not here to tell you not to decorate or bah-humbug the holidays. But we will always remind you that it’s often best to keep things simple. During the holidays and throughout the year, it’s never a good idea to buy or keep anything that won’t truly add to your own happiness now and in the years to come.

As you shop, don’t give in to that voice that says you “need” to buy new decorations to keep up with the neighbors or feel a sense of shopping accomplishment. Instead, consider what your ideal holiday decorating scheme will be, whether whatever it is fits into that theme, and most of all, when you’ll know if you’ve decorated enough.

Similarly, as you examine your inventory of stored holiday supplies, you may find cracked ornaments, burnt-out lights and dog-eared decorations. If you think they can’t be used now, throw them away immediately — don’t just set them aside only to repack them later.

If there are any items that are nice enough to be on display somewhere but no longer fit your needs, bag them up and donate them to ClothingDonations.org. Even though you’re finished with them, an old nutcracker, elf or #Santa figurine might bring joy to someone else’s household.

When it’s time take down the tree and unplug the lights, again question whether or not everything going back into those boxes for storage adds to your holiday cheer. If you store only what you want and use, you’ll have a head start on next year’s holiday season!

Craft Your Own Holiday Cards

One of the best ways to keep the holidays cheap is to rely on your own creativity to carry the season. Start today by making and sending handmade cards to your friends and family, HGTV suggests. With a few simple materials — paper, glue, felt, glitter and so on — you can easily make cards that look like they cost a fortune. Try creating a Santa card with a cotton-ball beard, for example, a winter scene with glitter “snow” or a card that turns into an ornament. Whatever you craft, it will be inexpensive and fun to spread a little bit of holiday cheer.