How to Plan a Classic Christmas

Holiday striped thigh highs

There’s nothing better than a classic Christmas. Some people like to mix up their holiday celebrations, spice them up with new traditions or test out a new style, but having a classic Christmas, especially if you are inviting a new person into your family or starting a family of your own, can be a great way to celebrate this holiday.

But what does a classic Christmas consist of? There is the tree, the xmas decorations, the meal, the presents, and the traditions. While you don’t necessarily have to stick to this list, you can find some great inspiration here for the ultimate in Christmas-y Christmases. Take these traditions and give them your own twist!

The Tree

While an artificial Christmas tree may save money, it can lack that necessary life that a real tree can bring into the room. Half the fun of putting up a tree is getting to go to the tree yard—or even out to the forest—and picking out the tree that you want. There is no specific breed that is particularly synonymous with Christmas, but the standard is a green, full tree that is about seven feet tall.

Of course, there are many variations of this tree, ranging from the very tall and lush, to the short and wispy, a la A Charlie Brown Christmas. Find the tree that best matches your decorations and your idea of the right Christmas tree. Some prefer a blue spruce, while others like a more classic color and scent.

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

If you have room for a larger tree, there is something grand about a towering tree, though it may be difficult to decorate without a ladder. In smaller spaces, a short, squat tree can be just as charming, especially if it matches the scale of the room.

Living in an apartment or in a small house, you may simply not have room for a Christmas tree, whether it is fake or real. In this instance, you can get a little creative with your tree decorations, including make a life-sized paper tree to hang on your wall and surround with presents, or stringing green-wired twinkle lights in a tree shape, to the same effect.

The Meal

Christmas foods will vary from region to region (and certainly from country to country). Planning the perfect classic Christmas dinner may depend heavily on your family’s traditions from the past and the region where you live. For example, crab is considered a classic part of the Christmas meal in California, while the case is quite the opposite, here on the east coast. Tamales are classic in the Southwest, but are rarely part of the traditional Christmas meal outside of this region.

Some of the most ubiquitous and classic items you might want to add to your Christmas meal are as follows:

• Apple cider
• Eggnog (come on, who has Christmas without eggnog?)
• Fruitcake – though maybe just for show, not actually for eating
• Gingerbread (for houses and for eating)
• Ham
• Mashed potatoes
• Pecan pie
• Apple pie
• Plum pudding
• Stuffing
• Turkey

Make the meal your own by choosing your favorite dishes from this list. Things like turkeys and hams are popular because they can roast in the oven for hours with needing much attention. Choosing smaller cuts of meat may be easier to cook, especially if you are not cooking a feast for a horde, but rather a small meal for a few close friends or family members.

The Decorations

Christmas decorations are one of the most important and most fun parts of Christmas. This is really where you get to show off your style and holiday spirit. What better way than with lights and garlands and all manner of Christmas accoutrements? Putting lights up outside is a great way to participate in your neighborhood’s show of good cheer. Even stringing a single strand of lights around the eaves of your house will brighten it! If you prefer to go all-out, you can always add more lights and even yard decorations like lighted reindeer or snowmen.

Decorating the tree is a highlight of every year’s celebrations. This is usually a family affair, with everyone helping to trim the tree. Some families use a range of ornaments that have sentimental value, while other choose a theme for their tree and stick to it. For example, you might choose red and silver to compliment the natural green of your tree. Gold is also a popular choice, but these days you can find ornaments and lights in any color. Top it off with a star or an angel and you’re done!

Christmas is a great time to deck the halls with garlands and wreaths. You can often buy real garlands and wreaths, made from leftover bows at tree yards, or fake ones (that will leave fewer needles behind) in just about any store during the season.

The Traditions

There are plenty of holiday traditions you can engage in for your classic Christmas. Caroling is one of the most fun, even if you are not exactly Bing Crosby. Bundle up with a group of your friends, take some hot chocolate and grab some sheet music for your favorite Christmas tunes. The people you drop in on will love the extra bit of cheer and you will have fun shuffling through the snow, singing holiday favorites.

Another tradition is taking a tour of Christmas lights in your neighborhood. If you live in a neighborhood that makes a display out of the Christmas season, it can be fun to drive around in your warm car and look at the lights. Many people go above and beyond, even putting music to their light show or building elaborate displays in their front yards. It may sound cheesy, but it’s actually really fun!

Unique Thanksgiving Traditions

Felt Turkey

We’ve all done the traditional turkey and cranberry sauce meal. If you like a traditional Thanksgiving meal, the standard menu of bird, stuffing, rolls, and sweet potato pie is ideal for your household. But if you’re less inclined to follow the pack, you might be looking for some unique Thanksgiving traditions to spice up your holiday season. And why not? You can still give thanks and show appreciation for your family, even if you’re not all gathered around the television, watching the Thanksgiving football game (blasphemy!).

Especially if you are a new family, just starting to build your holiday traditions, it might fun to throw in a few unique or new ideas. It can be a secret game that just your family plays, or something different to share with guests when they drop by for the big meal. Maybe it’s just time to shake up your own traditions with something new. Either way, here are some of our favorite unique Thanksgiving traditions.

Take a Holiday

Thanksgiving is usually all about gathering at home with your entire family. For some people, however, that’s more stressful than it is fun, especially if you have to try to make a meal large enough for the ten or so people that make the pilgrimage. You love your family, but do you really want to slave away in the kitchen all day while they bum around the house?

Instead of gathering everyone at one home, why not try an escapist Thanksgiving? Pick a warm, sunny spot and book your tickets early so you can be sure to get there with plenty of time to enjoy the sun and/or the surf. Most locals will abandon the beach at the beginning of November because eighty-degree weather is “too cold” for swimming in the water. You’ll be right at home in the warm weather and cool water.

But what about the meal? You have two options. First, if you are staying in a hotel with a kitchenette, you can make a makeshift Thanksgiving meal. It’s a little rustic but sometimes it’s fun to rough it a little bit. The second option is to eat out. It might be a little like that last scene from A Christmas Story, where the Parkers eat Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant—but that’s part of the fun. There really isn’t anything better than eating out when you know everywhere across the country, people are desperately trying to get dinner on the table.

Hideaway

If you don’t want to take off on a vacation for the few days off you might have for Thanksgiving, consider instead turning your house into a hideaway from the hubbub and business that almost naturally comes along with the holidays. Make your home a refuge, where the tired and beleaguered can come, enjoy a good meal, and not worry about Black Friday or Cyber Monday or any of the other big shopping days that roll around just after Thanksgiving.

Make your home a no-work zone. Ban laptops and cellphones if you have to. Thanksgiving should be about spending time with your family, and you can’t spend time together if everyone is too busy, working away on their electronic devices. Instead, have a marathon of Thanksgiving movies. Watch the funny and poignant ones. Even stray in to the cheesy made-for-TV movies for a straight shot of sentimentality. Nothing’s more fun than just taking the day, huddling in your television room with friends and family, and watching some movies while the Turkey cooks away.

You can also make and put up Thanksgiving decorations. If you want to get out of the house in the midday, take a walk and try to find some colorful leaves for the walls. Tape them to a string and you have a colorful garland to hand on your wall. There’s nothing better than adding some fall color to your home! You can make old-fashioned turkeys by tracing your hand and then coloring them and sticking them to the wall, or you can make a fancy sign and hang it over your table. Pick up pinecones and turn them into place cards, even if only a few people are coming for the actual meal itself.

Prepare for Christmas

Bah Humbug black Santa hat

If your family isn’t mad about Thanksgiving, you might consider using this time to get a jump on the winter holidays. Black Friday has begun to bleed over into Thanksgiving Day anyway, and there is something communally fun about braving the cold weather and standing in line with hundreds of other people. It doesn’t have to be a trial, it really can be an exciting and fun experience if you want it to be.

Some families just don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and you can use this time off of work to gear up for Christmas, by getting a lot of your shopping out of the way and even getting a jump on decorating. You don’t have to wait for December 1st in order to put up Christmas lights and trees. You might not want to be that house, that has Christmas decorations up as soon as the leftovers are packed away in the fridge, but it can be a great time to actually get your house decorated if the rest of your life is dominated by work.

Don’t Be a Host

Most people planning their Thanksgiving holiday start out assuming that they will have to make a turkey and host people at their home. If you still want to have the traditional meal, but roasting a whole turkey is out of your wheelhouse, you might consider trying to get yourself invited to someone else’s holiday. It doesn’t have to be rude, but if you start sending out inquiries, to see if anyone has extra seats at their table, you might find someone willing to let you elbow in, just on the promise of bringing along a pumpkin pie.

Family Activities for the Best Thanksgiving Day Ever

You’ve already got your Thanksgiving decorations on the wall. You’re ready to get that turkey in the oven and start spending some time with your family. But what do you actually do once the turkey is in? Unless you’ve chosen a high maintenance recipe or menu, you probably have a few hours to kill before it’s really time to start digging into the dinner preparation. We’ve got some of the most fun and classic Thanksgiving Day family activities to make sure you have the best possible day with your family.

Watch the Parade

If it’s been a while since you really sat down and watched Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this is the year to do it. It’s the 90th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving Day Parade and the floats and balloon just get better and better every year. The parade is well-stocked with performances by your favorite musicians and it’s a great way to start the morning.

The best part? You don’t even have to venture out into the cold. You can snuggle up with a blanket and your family and smell the turkey roasting away in the kitchen. Make it even more fun by making a parade bingo game and awarding a special price to whoever gets a bingo first.

Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving Day is all about the food, right? It can also be about exercise. Lots of communities hold a Turkey Trot to help you get an appetite for the big meal. Many of these run/walks are also charity events, encouraging you to bring a can of food or some other small donation as an entrance to the race.

Get a Football Game Going

Even if your entire family doesn’t like watching football, it might be fun to all get outside together and throw around the pigskin while you wait for dinner to be ready. Make it a friendly touch game if there are little kids playing, or a more competitive tackle game if just the adults want to be involved.

You can then venture back inside and watch the tail end of the televised games, just before it’s turkey time!

Pumpkin Hunts

This is a great activity is you have a lot of young relatives descending on your home that you might want to keep out from underfoot while you’re working on dinner or watching the parade or game. You can hide miniature pumpkins around the house, yard, or neighborhood and send the kids on a Thanksgiving-themed, Easter-egg-hunt-inspired adventure. You can make the game as easy or as difficult as you want, depending on the ages of the hunters.

Spend Some Time Getting in Touch with Your Roots

Thanksgiving is a great time to start digging into your family history, especially if you have relatives over who can help you get a better picture of your family tree. There are plenty of online resources that help you find your ancestors for free, and you can print out and fill in family tree with the kids.

Volunteer

Once your meal is in the works, why not donate some time to those who are less fortunate? Almost every town or city has a soup kitchen that could use some extra hands on Thanksgiving Day, which is one of their biggest days of the year. If you’re not sure where to look to donate your time (or even part of the meal, if you’re so inclined), ask around at your local church or community center.

If you don’t feel like you can devote a large chunk of your day to volunteering, you can still help out by bringing some mashed potatoes, rolls, or even a pre-cooked turkey to the food bank or soup kitchen. It will make their lives easier and ensure that those less fortunate have a great meal.

Break Out the Board Games

Fun for all ages! No, really. Whether you set the kids up with their own slate of board games or pick games that everyone can enjoy, Thanksgiving is a great time to revisit some of your favorite board games. Just make sure that it’s a low pressure situation. You don’t want your celebrations to become a stereotypical Thanksgiving where everyone gets angry and storms out of the house.

Make sure you have a variety of games, so those who aren’t into Monopoly can still play Ticket to Ride or Clue.

Get in Touch with Relatives

If you have branches of the family that were just too far away to come for Thanksgiving, you can still include them in the festivities by setting up a video chat. As long as you have a great internet connection, all you have to do is give them all call. Show them your Thanksgiving decorations, your meal, and your activities. Best of all? It’s completely free.

Make Decorations

If your decorations are looking a little sparse, gather up the kids and start making some new Thanksgiving decorations. Get some handprint turkeys in the works for the little ones or even make some felt turkeys with the older ones. For a low-pressure, easy craft that will keep the kids busy and quiet, set them up at their own table with Thanksgiving coloring pages and a box of crayons.

Set the Table and Help with the Cooking

Thanksgiving is more fun (and goes much more smoothly) when everyone lends a hand. From setting the table to rolling out the rolls to making the stuffing, there’s something that everyone can help with. Before the big day, make a list of tasks and the assign them to your family members. Even little kids can help with tasks like mashing the potatoes (or even something sillier like putting on a Thanksgiving play for their grandparents).

Ultimate List of Halloween Movies for Your Halloween Party

Beware sign

Halloween doesn’t just have to be about getting really, really scared. Not everyone likes being scared and not everyone buys into the traditional scares that are doled out by even the most popular scary movies. This can leave with you a little bit of a dilemma.

Consider this situation: you’ve planned a Halloween movie marathon party for yourself and your friends. It’s going to be fun, you think, until you realize that you’ve invited about ten people, and there is no way you can get all ten people to agree on a certain movie to watch. You have to decide which movies you want to watch, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, until you realize that while your best friend loves blood and guts, your girlfriend scares easy and will have nightmares after even watching the trailer for a scary movie.

So, what do you do? You don’t cancel the party. You already have all of the Halloween decorations up and the chairs arranged around your television. Instead, you decide to find a list of movies that will be booth spooky and funny, both entertaining and in the vein of Halloween. To make sure your Halloween party goes off without a hitch, here are ten of the most fun horror movies.

1. Rocky Horror Picture Show – It’s a classic, and there’s bound to be at least a few people at your party who have never seen it before. What does that mean? It’s the perfect movie to start out your marathon. It’s a little campy (Tim Curry in drag, anyone?), but it’s also got a great story with some hilarious and charming songs. It’s not your average musical, and that alone makes it great for Halloween.

2. Fright Night (the old one) – A remake of this movie was recently released and while it’s good, repeats are just never as good as the original. It’s got vampires and it’s got vampire slayers—perfect for the crowd that’s more than a little over Twilight. While it has its campy moments, it’s also actually scary at times.

3. Shaun of the Dead – It’s got zombies, but it’s also funny. Made on the heels of Dawn of the Dead, this movie makes fun of both British culture and the zombie genre, in a way that is both endearing and just scary enough to make it perfect for Halloween.

4. Little Shop of Horrors – Sure, it’s another musical. But it’s not one that your friends are going to complain about, but it’s got plenty of horror elements, too. The 1986 version stars a young Rick Moranis and Steve Martin—and a flesh-eating plant.

5. Gremlins – Another classic, and probably one of the first truly successful comedy-horror mashups. It has some serious moments, but it is also funny and frightening, though not the kind of scary that’s destined to leave the more delicate at your party with nightmares for weeks afterwards. On top of all that, it’s just a well-made movie, so you’re not going to offend any film-critics in your ranks.

6. Beetlejuice – Don’t say his name three times. Or do. This is by far one of Tim Burton’s best films and there’s no denying the charisma of the actors and their characters. The cast has some of the 1980s most famous actors, including Michael Keaton and Gina Davis. It’s funny but not without its disturbing parts, as we would expect from any Tim Burton film.

7. The Birds – This film could go one of two ways. It’s a Hitchcock classic, but it lacks the slasher element of some of his more famous movies, like Psycho. It’s definitely a psychological thriller and some people complain that it takes a while to get started, but don’t worry, there’s enough blood and horror to go around, once Tippi Hedren shows up on the island with those two lovebirds. It will leave your guests speculating about the cause of the birds’ insanity. Pay attention to background conversation and small details—they reveal at least some possible explanations.

8. Zombieland – Funny, smart, and a definite must-watch for anyone who is fan either of comedy or of zombie flicks. It really doesn’t get much better than this movie. The characters are believable and grounded, despite the kind of wacky situations they are put through throughout the course of the movie. It should be a perennial classic—not that it’s actually particularly scary. It has its surprising moments and it’s a little bloody, but it’s not exactly nightmare fodder.

9. Ghostbusters – Another movie that most people have seen but warrants another watch in the spirit of Halloween. Again, it has its scary moment, but more than anything, it is a comedy. This movie has so thoroughly permeated American culture that if you have a friend who hasn’t seen it, it is your civic duty to, under the guise of a Halloween party, make them watch it.

10. The Ring – This movie definitely has its frightening moments, but the more times you’ve watched it (and because of its PG-13 rating, it’s probably a favorite among those who shy away from the more frightening R-rated movies), it just gets a little bit more ridiculous each time. It has its truly terrifying segments (the horses, for example), but it also has some bad acting and a frenzied plot that make it less believable than, say, a Guillermo del Toro movie (which you would only put in if you really wanted to traumatize your guests).

Pop a bunch of popcorn—make it into popcorn balls, if you’re feeling nostalgic for a classic Halloween treat—and settle in for a night of scares and laughs.

The Ultimate Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner. For fear enthusiasts, the first of October might as well be the first day of a month-long Halloween celebration. But where did Halloween come from? And how can you have the best Halloween ever? We are here to make your Halloween decorating, party planning, and celebrating the best ever, with tips and tricks for the ultimate Halloween.

The History of Halloween

Halloween finds its origins in Samhain, a Celtic holiday that once spelled the end of harvest and meant that winter was coming. In the Celtic tradition, the changing of the seasons was a time when the dead could walk the earth. This became the foundation for many of the Halloween traditions that are still popular today, including dressing up in costumes and carving pumpkins.

Over the centuries, Halloween has become less about warding off literal ghosts (though scary movies about ghosts, demons, witches, and the like are still a popular part of holiday celebrations), and more about warding off stress and having a little fun. Trick-or-treating dates as far back as colonial days, when children would dress up and go from house to house, asking for money or sweets.

Trick-or-treating itself may have sprung out of the tradition of leaving food and wine out as offering to the roaming ghosts that were believed to cross into the physical world on Halloween night. Dressing up was also a way to placate the ghosts—by wearing masks, they could not be recognized as humans, and the spirits would think that they humans roaming the land were just other spirits.

Halloween really became what it is today in the mid-1900s, with community parties, parades, and games being the norm, as well as the cultural expectation that children will go trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Especially during times of economic downturn, Halloween became an inexpensive way to give back and show community support.

The Costumes

Today’s costumes are less about not being recognized by ghosts and more about making a statement or having fun with friends. Most people will opt for something exciting or funny, rather than just a plain costume. Some people opt for the very scary, from authentic recreations of their favorite slasher movie villains, to the gruesome and morbid. If there was ever a time to get a little gruesome, though, it would be on Halloween.

A favorite in the recent years has been the “pun” costume, ranging from a One Night Stand (wearing a nightstand over your shoulders and a lampshade as a hat), to more complicated costumes like Raining Cats and Dogs (a queen or king with stuffed cats and dogs tacked to his or her cloak). These can be fun to come up with, but you may spend the entire night explaining your costume to other partygoers or trick-or-treaters.

Some of the most classic costumes include witches, wizards, and ghosts. You can never go wrong with one of these! Check out our range of Halloween costumes and accessories to help you find the perfect, easy costume that will impress your friends.

The Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins was once a practice employed to scare away evil, wandering spirits. They would carry carved turnips, beets, or potatoes, with a light inside or hang them in their windows, so as to scare away any unsavory ghosts. Called jack o’lanterns because of the story of Stingy Jack (who tricked the devil and became a roaming evil spirit), this practice dates back well before the foundation of the United States.

Today, carving a pumpkin is all about creating a great design for your porch or (if you live in a neighborhood where hooligan teenagers will try to steal your pumpkin) window. There are many different ways to achieve this, either with a template, or by using your own imagination. The classic carved pumpkin is a grinning face, with triangle eyes. You can add some vampire teeth for extra Halloween flair, or choose a much more elaborate and impressive design.

Part of pumpkin carving is having the right tools. A power pumpkin carver or a pumpkin carving kit will make the carving process much easier. For kids, you can even just provide them with paints and let them paint a pumpkin, instead of giving them dangerous knives.

The Decorations

Decorating for Halloween can be as much fun as decorating for Christmas. Setting up a spooky scene to frighten trick-or-treaters or just a fun, whimsical display may take some time, but for those who are Halloween-enthusiasts, the perfect time to show off your creativity is with a great yard.

Start by stringing lights around your home. Orange, dark purple, and black are the most popular colors for Halloween and they can give your home a creepy glow. Almost every party supply store has grim reapers and ghosts you can hang around your yard, in trees, or on posts, to add some extra flair. Making a graveyard is as simple as picking up some Styrofoam gravestones or making your own with some foam and some gray spray paint. Come up with a concept and go all out!

Halloween Traditions

One of the most obvious Halloween traditions is trick-or-treating. Young kids love dressing up and going door to door with their siblings or with a group of friends. Parental supervision may be required, depending on your neighborhood.

Another Halloween tradition is bobbing for apples. This game is usually reserved for community Halloween parties, where a large bucket is full of water. Apples float on top and game players try to grab an apple using only their mouth.

A scary movie marathon is a favorite among many families, whether the movies are only mildly scary (safe for the kids to watch), or really scary (no kids allowed). This can even be a great basis for a Halloween party—have everyone dress up and bring their favorite scary movie.

Hack Your Christmas Decorations & Menu: Tips for an Easier Holiday Season

Though Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it usually ends up being one of the most stressful, especially if you have relatives or friends descending on your home for the celebrations. We have a full gauntlet of tips to make building a fun, holiday-themed menu, while decking out your house at the same time. As a bonus, many of the food ideas double as decorations.

1. Strawberries can easily be turned into Santa. Cut off the leaves to give Santa a flat base, and then slice off the tip to make him a little hat. Use a little white frosting or whipped cream for the middle section, and then replace the hat. If you’re really feeling industrious, you can pipe a little more whipped cream or frosting onto the front of the strawberry to act as buttons, and on the tip, for the fuzzy end of the hat.

2. Make hot chocolate the easy way. Instead of trying to heat up enough water in a kettle to make everyone a glass, make a massive batch of hot chocolate in your slow cooker. It will keep your cocoa at the perfect temperature, and enable you to spend less time boiling water and more time spending time with your guests.

3. Did you know you can make French toast in the oven or slow cooker? Instead of spending most of your Christmas morning trying to flip enough French toast for all of your guests, why don’t you just use a recipe that lets you prepare it the night before and bake it in the oven—or even better, set it in your slow cooker the night before and let it bake overnight.

4. Sugar ice cream cones can become trees. Not only will these be a tasty treat, they can also act as a decoration. Dip pointed ice cream cones (pointy side down), into melted and dyed chocolate. Alternatively, put a few drops of green food coloring into some frosting and frost the cones. Use different colors of candies for ornaments.

5. Stir up your hot cocoa. While plain hot chocolate is great, you can add an additional flair to the drink by creating stir sticks or spoons. One way is to put marshmallows on the end of candy canes. Dipping plastic spoons in melted chocolate is another way to put a twist on this classic drink. Spooning out individual portions of whipped cream and then freezing them will cool down too-hot drinks and make each glass of cocoa easier to prepare.

6. Make Christmas-themed pancakes. Did you know you can use cookie cutters to shape your pancakes? Put the cookie cutters in the pan when you are ready to pour your first pancakes, and then fill them about half way. By the time they are ready to flip (when the bubbles pop and don’t refill themselves) the pancake will be solid enough you can remove the cookie cutter.

7. Build a graham cracker house. If you’re not a fan of gingerbread, or just don’t want to spend all day making it, build your houses out of graham crackers instead. They’re more readily available and make smaller houses. Top them off with candy accents.

8. Use a glass to print shortbread cookies. If you don’t have any shortbread stamps but still want to share this holiday classic with your friends, use the bottom of a fancy glass to stamp each cookie. Find one with a star shape for a true Christmas-y effect.

9. Making a popcorn garland? Use dental floss! Instead of using embroidery floss (which is expensive) or yarn, use dental floss. Popcorn will be less resistant and less prone to breaking if you use the waxed variety, and if you don’t intend on ever eating the popcorn, you can use a mint-flavored brand, to give you tree a unique minty scent.

10. Use a waffle iron to make cinnamon rolls. Making cinnamon rolls or waffles for Christmas can take a long time. If you combine the technology of a waffle iron with the easy of canned cinnamon rolls, you get easy, delicious cinnamon roll waffles that are as easy as putting the rolls into the iron, clamping down, and eating when they are golden brown!

11. Turn powdered sugar donuts into snowmen. A little bit of orange and black frosting will transform powdered donuts into an army of snowmen. Use the black for the eyes and mouth and the orange to make a carrot nose. These are great to make on Christmas Eve and then break out on Christmas morning.

12. Make elf donuts. If your kids (or you) still enjoy leaving cookies out for Santa, why not leave something for his hardworking elves, too? Making elf donuts is as easy as getting a box of cheerios and decorating them with chocolate, sprinkles, and powdered sugar.

13. Egg cartons make great ornament storage. If you have a bunch of people at your house, you’ve probably already stocked up on eggs. Who doesn’t like a hardboiled, scrambled, or fried egg in the morning? But what to do with all those empty cartons? Once the festivities are done, use them to store your ornaments!

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. A few preparations beforehand and the holiday will be a breeze! Hack your Christmas menu and decorations with a few of these easy tips and you will be rocking around the Christmas tree in no time. The holidays should be fun, and they can be again!

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