I’ve partnered with Tub O’ Towels to share my favorite Holiday Hacks!
The holiday season has arrived and with it comes the chaotic schedule of things all vying for my attention. Christmas and New Years are awesome for catching up with family and friends but it can be difficult to fit everything into the already chaotic schedule. While we love the holidays, finding ways to save time, squeeze in some extra fun, and make things a little easier is welcome!
In the spirit of this, we put together some of our favorite holiday hacks to help make your season a little easier too!
1. Pack by Day, Not by Person When Traveling as a Family
Traveling with your family this holiday season? Save yourself some possible lost-baggage heartache by mixing your family’s clothing in each suitcase! Typically, each person has their own bag but by mixing clothing between the bags, if a bag is lost by the airline, one person won’t be stuck without their clothing or other essentials!
Something we started doing for our family vacations recently (a variation of the idea above) is packing by day for the entire family rather than by person. For example, if we decided to go on a week-long vacation, we would pack one bag for toiletries for the week, one bag with our clothing for Monday through Tuesday, one bag with our clothing for Wednesday through Thursday, etc. You can adapt this idea to your particular situation, scenario, and needs. Since we have 5 children, this has made getting every up, dressed, and ready to go so much faster!
Bonus tip: bring a power strip in your carry-on at the airport. Your family (and possibly other travelers) will thank you as outlets are a coveted commodity.
2. Clean Sticky Tree Sap Fast with Tub O’ Towels
Live trees look great and smell amazing but, on the flip side, they’re super messy! Everywhere your tree goes in your house, you’re going to have pine needles in abundance on the floor. Even worse though is the sticky coating of sap on your hands. I always think back to Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase gets his hands stuck to a magazine and his wife’s hair. Sticky, sappy hands are no fun!
We recently discovered that Tub O’ Towels wipes are AWESOME at cleaning sap off of your hands and surfaces around the home. During our most recent Christmas tree set up, we had an exceptional amount of sap on our hands and a few spots of it on our hardwood floors. I tried Tub O’ Towels since I remembered how well they cleaned up other messy things in our home (like slime cleanup!) and sure enough, Tub O’ Towels works SO well to quickly dissolve sticky tree sap. Typically sap can be pretty stubborn to remove but Tub O’ Towels wipes made very quick work of it regardless of the surface.
By the way, if you want your home to smell seasonal, you should know that the Douglas Fir tree is the most fragrant so keep an eye out for one when selecting your live tree.
3. Create a Yearly Ornament or Keepsake From Your Live Tree
Want a cool new yearly tradition for your family? Keep a slice of the base of each Christmas tree you purchase and turn it into an ornament or decoration, labeled with the year of the tree!
Get some inspiration from these cool Wood Slice Ornaments from Made to be a Momma.
4. White Hot Chocolate With Polar Bear Marshmallows
Make this Upcycled Pringles Gift Containers with only 4 simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen! Then top it off with an adorable polar bear marshmallow for one impressive cup of hot chocolate! The kids will love this!
5. FREE Wrapping Paper Alternatives
Wrapping paper is ridiculously expensive for something that is literally destroyed in a manner of seconds. Wanna save some money? Get creative with alternatives! Oddly, these will also make your gift stand out from the bunch and more memorable for the recipient.
- Brown paper grocery bags, used inside out (Most stores will give you these for free, no questions asked.)
- An inside out chip bag (Please clean it first… or don’t if you think it’s funny… you do you.)
- Cereal boxes
- Map pages from an old atlas
Don’t these packages from Wit & Whistle look amazing?!
6. Always Have an Extra Gift
Always keep a few gender-neutral gifts around in case you forget someone on your Christmas list! I like to purchase gift cards to our favorite restaurants then keep them handy, wrapped in gift card boxes and ready to give at a moment’s notice. If I happen to need a gift, I’m ready to go. If I don’t end up using them as a gift, we just use them throughout the year when we go out to eat.
7. One-Minute Christmas Bathroom Decorations
Quickly turn those extra rolls of tissue paper into bathroom decor with this 1-minute Christmas Bathroom hack from Lindsey Blogs! Your bathroom will look much more festive in minutes!
8. Use Bells as a Christmas Tree Warning System
Have young children or pets? Place bells around the bottom branches so you can hear when the tree is being attacked.
9. Easy Cookie Gift Container
If you like to reuse and recycle rather than purchase cookie tins, Pringles cans make excellent alternatives. Check out these cute Upcycled Pringles Gift Containers from the Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs blog.
Tear away the pringles label and affix your own custom label or simply put holiday wrapping paper on the tube. Load with your homemade cookies and you’re done!
10. Hot Chocolate Pancakes
Our kids favorite part about Christmas breakfast is without a doubt the Hot Chocolate Pancakes we fix for them each year! What kid wouldn’t love that yummy treat on Christmas morning? Plus, you probably already have all of the ingredients!
Another quick tip about holiday baking: if you run out of eggs (because let’s be honest, we’ve all done it!) and can’t make it to the store there are several alternatives you can use! These include:
- 1/4 cup of mashed banana per egg (may give a slight banana taste)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (use sparingly… if you are short more than one egg, this isn’t recommended)
11. Christmas Cookie Countdown
Brandy Nelson, author of the new book, Sew With Me: 60 Fun & Easy Projects to Make Your Own Fabulous Décor and Accessories, recently shared this Christmas cookie advent idea that I just love! What a fun idea for kids to count down the days until Christmas! Cut off one cookie (and eat it!) every day until Christmas Eve.
12. Homemade Potpourri
If you are preparing to receive guests for a holiday party or just simply want to make your home smell like the season, you can quickly whip up some easy potpourri at home! Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, so make your party memorable! This recipe for homemade potpourri only uses a few ingredients!
13. Easy Salt Dough Ornament Clean-Up
My kids love to craft and one of their favorite things to make at Christmastime in salt dough ornaments. It’s a lot of fun but it also leaves a thick, dry coating on my table and hands. I’ve always hated the mess and the cleanup! This year as we started making our salt dough ornaments I grabbed the Tub O’ Towels and it worked so well to clean the dough off of my table and hands! Plus, they leave your hands so soft too because they contain lanolin! Like so many tough cleaning jobs, Tub O’ Towels made cleaning a breeze!
14. Make Your Own Stockings
Christmas can get so expensive, so I like to DIY whenever possible! This DIY Christmas stocking tutorial looks simple enough even for a beginner sewer like myself!
15. Christmas Movies Hack
Wrap up all of your Christmas DVD and then take turns unwraping them each time you’re ready to watch a new Christmas movie. This is GREAT for families where the kids might argue about which movie to watch next plus it helps to make sure you watch each of your Christmas movies!