Christmas Firecrackers - Cut up paper towel roll, insert small gifts, then
cover in red or green tissue paper. Tie the ends with ribbon and decorate.
Glue on gold and red stripes or colored bands of fancy-edged paper. Or
punch out contrasting trees and glue all over. If desired, shred ends with
Simply fill a platter with nuts, insert a large round candle and place
poinsettia blooms around the nuts for a perfect holiday table accent.
Try draping a length of beaded garland on a lampshade to add holiday
flair. You can even use a strand of beads as a curtain tie-back.
A few days before you decorate your Christmas tree, put your tinsel in the
freezer. It'll be static-free and easier to drape on the tree.
Here's a unique way for children to have fun in the snow: fill some squirt
bottles with water and a bit of food coloring, then let the kid's squirt
colorful designs in the snow.
fine crystal stemware is stained or discolored, fill each glass with water
and drop in a a denture-cleaning tablet. The effervescent action will get
the glasses crystal clear.
little ones safe - create an alarm system that will keep small children or
pets safe and out of trouble around the Christmas tree: Attach small bells
to the ends of the lower branches. If little hands or paws get too close
to the tree, your warning bells will ring!
To hold candles more firmly in their holders, use miniature cupcake
liners. They fit into most candles holders and can be purchased in pretty
silver and gold tones.
Give your table a decorative dimension by placing a paper doily over
fabric place mats - or over a tablecloth - at each place setting.
Spray your precious table linens with a fabric protector a few days before
you plan to use them. Then the inevitable spills will be less likely to
Switch a lampshade to one in a dark solid hue for an intimate
Arrange candles in front of a mirror to double the magical glow.
Pile colorful mittens, mufflers and knitted caps in a big basket by the
back door for a bright room accent.
For a great holiday scent, buy a small fragrant topiary-such as rosemary-
for a kitchen windowsill.
Buy fragrant soaps, wrap them in colorful tissue and place them in a
basket in the guest bathroom.
Tie ribbons around the the base of candlesticks for extra decor.
Arrange a group of candles -both votive and tapers-on a pretty mirror or
tray. Even unlit, they'll look festive.
Tuck wooden toys or antique dolls among pin boughs on a mantelpiece for an
Fill glass pitchers or vases with Christmas balls and sprigs of holly.
Invert a plastic berry basket over a bow when mailing a package to prevent
the bow from getting crushed.
Don't toss that turkey or chicken wishbone, save them. Wash and dry
thoroughly and spray-paint it a bright holiday color, like red or green.
Attach and ribbon and use it as a package decoration. Kids will jump at
the chance to make a special Christmas wish.
Run errands for an elderly or homebound person. This is especially needy
for those states which have snow as many elderly people cannot or will not
drive when it snows
Write Christmas greetings on red and green balloons and deliver them to a
nursing home or hospital patients.
Give an anonymous gift of money to someone who has hit some hard times or
has been laid off from their jobs.
Learn the history of
one holiday tradition-mistletoe, the Christmas tree, reindeer, etc. - and
share it with your family as you eat your Christmas Cookies.
Try to put your
troubles on hold. It's okay to postpone worrying about your child's report
care until after Christmas. Allow yourself the give of joy!
Forgive someone. There
is no serenity like peace in your life.
If you are planning to
give money (to a teen who's hard to buy for, for example) stop at a bank
and get new bills and shiny coins. Put the cash in a unique piggy bank.
Do you holiday shopping
in a store or even a city you don't normally frequent. The change may
inspire new ideas.
kids packages with decorative shoe laces or hair ribbon instead of paper
or plastic ribbon. Fun to wear after the holidays!
a lovely scent, tie two cinnamon sticks together with bright red or green
ribbon, then hook on tree. Put several of these around the tree and in
different areas of the house for an extra good scent.
your home with the scent of Christmas. Place orange rind, cloves, cinnamon
sticks and fresh ginger in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a
boil. Let mixture simmer on low heat.
Save the inner
sleeves that light bulbs come in. They are perfect for storing your precious
delicate Christmas ornaments.
Use a hair dryer on
price stickers that won't come off. Wave it across the sticker for a
minute or so and when the glue gets warm, the sticker will come right
Keep a tin of
pirouette cookies on hand to serve with fresh fruit salad. Or tuck them into
scoops of ice cream for an instant upgrade.
Add elegance to
even the simplest desserts by serving it in stemmed glasses.
Brush melted chocolate on undersides of clean, nonpoisonous leaves, such as
mint or rose leaves. Let set, then carefully peel off. Refrigerate chocolate
leaves in an airtight container and they'll keep for months. Use them to
decorate cakes or creamy desserts.
Keep a sugar shaker
filled with confectioner's sugar and ready in the kitchen. A snowy dusting of
white sugar is the fastest way to give a pretty finish to cakes, pies or
cookies-- any dessert that has a dry surface.
shapes out of paper doilies and arrange them on unfrosted dark cake (such as
chocolate or gingerbread). Sift confectioner's sugar over the cake, then
carefully lift off the doilies.
Do as pastry chefs do and lightly sift
confectioner's sugar over the food and the rim of the plate. For special
occasions, sprinkle a light trail of cocoa around the edge of the plate before
dusting with sugar.
wrapping: Make your gift wrap functional and it becomes a part of the present.
For example, use a pretty scarf, cloth napkin or tea towel to wrap the gift.
Then decorate the package with hair accessories or dried flowers.
Spatter tissue paper with
metallic paint. Let dry well. Wrap with ribbon close to shade of metallic paint.
small present in a colorful scarf or bandana and tie with twine.
berry basket with tissue and tuck in a gift.
up the table with a cascade of sugar dusted fruit. Simply brush fruit with
lightly beaten egg white, dip in granulated sugar and air-dry on rack. Display
on fine china or a 2 Tiered display.
string of Christmas lights to a large potted plant.
sprigs of holly into the soil around potted plants.
tin cookie cutters with cranberries and popcorn and display them, with sprigs of
holly, on a pretty platter.
Create a glitzy display of golden jingle bells in a crystal bow. Add a
snippet of green and a red ribbon for the traditional cheer.
In a bowl, place some greens from a pine tree tied in a green or red bow.
Place a lemon and two limes (or vice versa) pegged with cloves.
Place a bunch of pine cones, walnuts and a few pieces of greenery in a
sterling silver bowl. Accent by throwing in a few pieces of metallic
Place some fruit in a low lying bowl and put some garland of silver bead
all around the fruit and the inside of the bowl. Place the bowl on a mat
make of pine tree trimmings.
In a decorative bowl, place a few small, wrapped presents in the bowl
surrounded by small ornaments with colors to accent the presents.
Pierce an orange with whole
cloves until the entire fruit is covered. Repeat with apples. Place the scented
arrangement in a decorative bowl for a fragrant centerpiece.
Fill your home with the scent
of a pleasant potpourri. Place orange rind, cloves, cinnamon sticks and fresh
ginger in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let mixture simmer
on low heat. Watch carefully so water does not boil away.