Christmas is approaching and just a week is left now. We all are busy in preparations for the big day but there are certain times when something or other is always left out if not taken care of.
As we are getting closer to the holidays, many of us are preparing to spend hours in the kitchen assembling the annual family feast. In order to keep things calm during the festive season, follow some tricks to save the life.
If there was ever a time when ladies could use some real life saving hacks then it definitely is Christmas season.
Whether it is a snow pocalypse, the Grinch or an anemic Christmas tree, this time of the year raises the holiday threat level to a reddish orange.
How to survive? The best answer is – Be prepared.
The holidays and the weeks leading to the festivities can be a real stress for most people out there and so it is important to cut the corners and make life a little bit easy. Although the stress from family members and friends can’t be reduced, a few tips and tricks can turn the chores and nuisances of the holidays in an easy and organized activity that you will never dread again.
Here are some ideas:
TURN ON THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS WITH EASE:
With a simple voice command or with the Amazon Alexa app, turn on and off the lights in your house, no matter where you are.
If you like Christmas lights then this idea is definitely for you. Create something creative by using burlap. Things you will need are: Red Burlap Ribbon: 2 inches, Green Burlap Ribbon: 2 inches, Natural Burlap Ribbon: 2.5 inches and White Mini Lights.
LAYERED CENTER PIECE:
If you are amongst those who after filling a vase with a flower likes to put some cranberries, lemons, limes etc then this is your life saving hack.
Take 2 vases of same shape but different sizes. Place the smaller vase inside the larger leaving a small channel between the two because that is where your things will come in. Now place the floral frog in the smaller vase, fill it with water and add flowers. It will look like your flowers are floating in chocolates but only you will be aware of the sneaky second vase.
PERSONALIZED PLACE SETTING:
A simple organic and casual décor is anything but a tedious with the cost that can’t be beaten. A real life saving hack that you must go for this season. Use craft plate mats, table runners and hand lettered guest’s name. For the center piece use white mini pumpkins or any other white colored decorative piece and some fresh greenery and pair them up with some deep red ornament peppers.
HANIGNG HOLIDAY DÉCOR:
Use command hooks in inconspicuous areas. You can use 3m command hooks to covertly hang your home decorative items. They are available in variety of shapes, sizes and colors that you can use them anywhere in the house. The best place recommended would be the mantel. Hang them right on top of each mantel to hang your garland.
HANG WREATH WITH COMMAND STRIP:
Use this life saving hack for your garden or the drive way. Turn your command strip upside down and fix it to the inside of the glass on the door. Fir a thick red ribbon around the wreath and leave enough of a tail to get it over the door and you are done.
CENTER PIECE HACK:
Use a jar for this idea and some filler along with a toilet paper roll. Put the toilet paper roll in the jar and then layer the ornaments around it and decorate it on the center table for the perfect life saving decoration hack.
INEXPENSIVE OUTDOOR DÉCOR:
The easy and affordable way to decorate not only the front porch or entryway but also the window, carriage light, door, gate and the fence post. Add greenery. To make a hook on Christmas porch light decoration using greenery, you will need: green foam block, 4 green chenille stems, wire coat hanger, florist pins or paper clips in U shape, tree branch snippers, different greeneries, ornaments and ribbons.
Instructions: Bend the coat hangers and attach with U shaped pins. Twist 2 chenille stems to create one longer one. Repeat with other 2 chenille stems, wrap and tie around the foam block which will become the back of your greenery hanger. On a light fixture, hang over the arm and if hanging on a door and window, add a piece of green felt to the back so the wire does not mar the paint of the glass.
CARDBOARD BOX FOR GIFTS:
It might seem silly and a waste of paper but think back to the Christmas photos and cringing upon seeing the trash bag. Imagine your kids tearing through the presents and tossing off the wrapping paper all around the house. Here is the idea to reduce the trash.
Create your own trash box for Christmas this year and you can also use it as a carrying box if you plan to celebrate Christmas at your relative’s place.
HOOK LIGHTS TO CLAPPER:
If you are tired of shutting off those lights for the night then squeeze in around the prickly needles to pull the plug is no fun. Simply hook the lights up to a Clapper. Applaud and you are done.
REVIVE DRY TURKEY WITH CHICKEN STOCK:
If you have over cooked your turkey then instead of tearing the head off, simply pour some chicken stock on the overcooked bird which will add the needed moisture and prevent a potential holiday meltdown.
PULVERIZE CANDY CAKES:
For this idea, grab a fistful of candy cane and dump them in the food processor and grind them in to fine powder which will now give you a delightfully minty candy cane dust which is perfect for sprinkling on hot chocolate, desserts, cocktails or whatever strikes your fancy.
BAKING POWDER FOR MASHED POTATO:
If you are looking for some lighter than air and creamy mashed potatoes that makes everyone ask for more at their fluffiness then try adding a pinch of baking powder. The heat from the potato will mix with the baking powder to create tiny air pockets.
CANDY CANE CARD HOLDER:
A latest way to spruce up the dinner table is to tie together two candy canes which will become a perfect Christmas holder for place cards or tags.
SLOW COOKER FOR HOT CHOCOLATE:
To make a jumbo sized batch of hot chocolate, use the power of your slow cooker. A perfectly smart idea if you are dealing with a large, cold, thirsty crowd. The same strategy can be used if you are making a big batch of mulled wine, hot buttered rum, hot toddies or any other toasty holiday libation.
FREEZE HERBS IN OLIVE OIL:
In addition to chopping veggies the day before, you can also prepare fresh herbs and stuff them in an ice cube tray, adding olive oil and then freezing it. In need of herbs and preparing your holiday feast, just grab a savory cube from the freezer and pop in the pan for an instant seasoning.
FREEZE WHIPPED CREAM:
Create formed dollops of whipped cream on a sheet of wax paper and carefully shift to the freezer, if you are serving the large quantities of dessert or hot chocolate. When you are ready to use them, simply pop these fluffy, frozen whipped cream toppings on top of your desserts or whatever you have to serve instead of having to create little dollops of whipped cream on the spot.
CHEESE GRATER ON FROZEN BUTTER:
Rather than waiting for cold and hard butter to thaw or trying to soften in the microwave when baking for holidays, try using a cheese grater to shred the needed amount for a particular recipe.
OVEN TO TABLE COOKWARE:
Use an attractive oven to table cookware rather than transferring food into serving dishes. This hack will save you few steps while serving and also there will be fewer dishes to clean up later.
Make small stuffing muffins by cooking stuffing in muffin tins while making extra stuffing. Not only it will be easy to serve but it also looks swanky.
ADD SOY SAUCE IN GRAVY:
If your gravy is lacking that certain something then add few dashes of soy sauce. The salty and rich flavor is a guaranteed gravy enhancer that will add the perfect zing to the gravy when needed.
GRAVY IN THERMOS:
On a holiday table there are fewer things that are less appetizing than cold and congealed gravy, so it is recommended to pour it in thermos which will keep it warm and fresh until it is ready to be poured in the gravy boat and brought to the table.
EASY COOKIE CUTTING:
Before cutting out your cookie shapes, dip your cookie cutter in flour which will help the cutter cut through the dough with less resistance. You will then be able to cut your cookies out fast and with less frustration. Add more flavor to the cookie cutter if needed.
WARM EGGS QUICKLY:
If you have just taken out your eggs from the refrigerator and your recipe needs the eggs at room temperature then place them in a bowl of warm water, let them sit in it for few minutes and they will be ready to be used (at room temperature).
Use a piece of dental floss to create those perfect slices of cheese cakes, cinnamon rolls and other soft and doughy items. A dental floss slides through soft stuff much better than a standard kitchen knife.
HOME MADE CAKE RELEASE:
To save time and effort for your baking projects, make your own cake release mix. Simply apply a thin layer of this cake release oil and flour mixture to the inside of the pan with a pastry brush instead of greasing and flouring baking pans separately.
To make the cake release mix, add ½ cup of vegetable shortening, ½ cup of vegetable oil and ½ cup of flour to a mixing bowl. Whisk until all the ingredients are mixed well. Once done, transfer the mix to an airtight container and store at the room temperature for up to six months.
TURN CAKE INTO COOKIES:
If you are craving for cookies and have cake mix on hand the use it because you can make cookie dough from almost any boxed cake mix by adding ½ cup of oil and 2 eggs to the dry cake mix and bake them like any normal cookie dough.
PRACTICAL PIE CRUST:
To make a perfect and a beautiful pie, you don’t need to have an arsenal of special tools. Simply use a fork, spoons or tongs to create any patterns on the edges of your crust. By using the most basic kitchen tools, you can create a crust.
SOFTEN BROWN SUGAR:
If your brown sugar has solidified then follow 1 out of 2 easy ways to soften it at home. The first option is to put the brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel and microwave it for 20 seconds. This process will rehydrate the sugar and loosen it up.
MAKE GIFT BASKETS:
A gift basket is a super frugal but a thoughtful gift option. It often works out cheaper to put together a basked of small presents than buy one big present. Gift baskets make a big impact if they are presented nicely and they are also a good way to save money for a family or couple. Opting for themed baskets is a trending option to go for. Get a basket for the family to enjoy together which will save on buying separate gifts.
USE CASHBACK SITES:
One of the biggest money saving hacks for any time of the year is using a cash back site. Using them during Christmas is the main thing to be done for saving money. If you shop online then do look out for sites which provide cash back. You might end up getting anywhere up to 10% or more on the orders you place.
Amazon cards are as good as free money, especially when it is about shopping for Christmas. There are many ways to get an Amazon gift card. You can opt for some survey sites like Global Test Market and Swagbucks which provides Amazon gift cards
If you are planning to go on a budget this season then it is essential for your to plan your food shopping because the super markets are full of tempting treats and special offers during Christmas and it gets easy for a person to spend more than needed. To avoid such a scenario, write down the meal you want to cater during the big day and then look for the recipes and write the exact ingredients you will need for each one of them.
DO A SECRET SANTA: If you have a large group of family, friends and / or colleagues to shop for then consider pitching the idea of a Secret Santa as in this way each person will have to buy one present. It will save money and can also be fun to figure out the perfect gift in secret and trying to work out who gave what.
TOMATO CAGETOPIARIES: The idea is to re – use the tomato cages in the winter months for holiday décor. The DIY project is a matter of strategically wrapping a string of Christmas lights around an upside down tomato cage to get the look and feel of a Christmas tree. Here are the steps:
Use a dome shaped LED lights for this idea as it will look wonderful outside and use less energy as well. The cool white light will look fancy but you can also use colored lights if you like. Stack 2 tomato cages of same size on top of one another to create a strong support base for the lights then twist them a little so the vertical lines don’t match up and gives more of a circular structure for wrapping the lights around. If you have different size of cages then you can really go creative with the stacking making varied heights for your trees. Secure a couple of rubber bands at the tip of the cages after stacking them to create a perfect tree point. Now, it is all about wrapping the string lights. Thread them up through the tip of the café with the outlet facing down to conceal both the rubber band and end outlet of the string lights and then tightly began wrapping the cord around the top of the cage until everything is nicely hidden. Keep wrapping the lights down the support extending the cord a little bit with each turn to create a varied effect. Wrap them at full thickness all the way around and if you have 2 strings of lights to work on the same cage then make some criss cross patterns. Once the wrapping down the base is done, secure the outlet to the wire with the twist; tie the string lights came in and you are good to go.
Here comes an end to the life saving list. Read and implement it to save yourself from stress, save your time, money as well as efforts.