Christmas Decorating Shortcuts

Flip through our favorite Christmas decorations, party favors, centerpieces and craft projects.
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Flip through our favorite Christmas decorations, party favors, centerpieces and craft projects.

STUCK UP

Tie small ornaments with ribbon and hang them from magnetic clips to hold holiday photos, cards or shopping lists on your fridge.

magnets with ornaments

See more ideas for Decorating with Ornaments

SHORT + SWEET

Save the fake snow for your tree: Rach’s design buddy Evette Rios takes wreaths from tired to inspired with only two supplies: lollipops (in different sizes) and a knife. Starting at the top, poke the largest suckers into the needles stick-first. Switch to medium and then tiny lollipops as you work your way down the wreath. Trim the sticks with a knife.

wreaths

See 2 more easy holiday wreath ideas

ONE-NIGHT STANDS

Poinsettias are holiday staples, but a bit Captain Obvious. For a fresher take, trim those leafy stems and cast away that flimsy foil container, says floral designer and author Jane Packer. Jane's Idea: Stack two or three cake stands, cover the tiers with red votives and snipped poinsettia leaves, and top with a red pillar candle. We love the goth look of black stands, but you can lighten it up by using white or cream-colored ones.

centerpiece dec 8

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FREEZE FRAME

Make your gift more personal by threading a velvet ribbon through a mini photo frame to make an ornament.

Wrapping-Presents and photo frame

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Host a Gift-Wrapping Party

FESTIVETINI

You have to love a man who can make a toilet brush look chic. Architect Michael Graves -- designer of the iconic Alessi "Whistling Bird" teakettle and some equally stylish kitchen and bathroom wares for Target -- answered our call for a simple holiday centerpiece with this bright idea. Graves uses nothing more than a few martini glasses, silver taper candles, Hershey's Kisses and some greens plucked from the tree. You don't need a fancy fabric runner. Just use wrapping paper.

centerpiece dec

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BOUQUET OF BULBS

Stick multicolored ornaments onto trimmed wooden skewers and arrange them like a bouquet in an opaque vase. Use tree or wreath clippings to fill in any gaps.

TIP: Before skewering, stuff the ornaments with floral foam (available at garden shops and florists) to keep them from wobbling.

ornaments in glass

See more ideas for Decorating with Ornaments

THAT'S A WRAP

Place cookies you're going to give as gifts in green pint containers (from cherry tomatoes or other produce) and tie a handle onto each basket with holiday ribbon.

christmas cookies

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COOK'S TOUR

Get creative with your gift wrapping: Tie a box with cooking twine and attach measuring spoons and a sea-salt sachet.

wrapping presents cooking paper

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Host a Gift-Wrapping Party

PICK THE RIGHT RIBBON

Velvet
Pair with solid-colored gift wraps so its texture really stands out.

Satin
This light, glossy ribbon has just enough stiffness to tie easily, making it the gold standard for bows.

Wire-Edged
Wire-lined ribbon is moldable and holds its shape. Use it to make big bows for large packages or kids' presents.

gift wrapping 2

See more gift-wrapping tips and throw a Gift-Wrapping Party

GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Make a gingerbread house out of cereal with Rice Krispie treats, marshmallows, icing and candy.

gingerbread house

Throw a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

GLASS ACT

Add festive lights to your party table: Tape twinkle lights under a glass table and cover with sheer fabric to diffuse the light.

table twinkle lights

See more ideas for decorating with Christmas lights

SEASONINGS GREETINGS

Tie on some seasonal ingredients: String cinnamon sticks, fresh herbs or cranberries on kitchen twine or ribbon and wrap them around napkins.

seasons greetings

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PACK IT UP

Cookies make a great gift: Fill a tumbler or clean jelly jar with bonbons. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and tie a ribbon around the top.

xmas cookies 1

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HOLIDAY POTLUCK

For invitations to a holiday potluck, send each guest a card with a different fresh herb attached: Punch small holes in the top of plain note cards and thread a sprig of fresh rosemary, thyme or tarragon through the holes. Ask guests to bring a dish made with whichever herb is on their invitation.

potluck invitation

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FLIP SIDE

We know someone sent you a holly plant this year—put it to new and creative use with this twist on our original centerpiece from Annie Selke, owner of the home furnishings company Pine Cone Hill. Just snip a few branches and place them under overturned stemware. Top with festive red votives for a seasonal showstopper.

flipside

Annie Selke original centerpiece

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PICK THE RIGHT PAPER

Use the lines on geometric gift wrap to accurately "measure" the amount of paper you'll need. The edges of the wrap should only overlap by about 2 inches. Place the present upside down on the paper -- especially on printed ones -- so the seam ends up on the bottom of the box. Solid-colored papers are perfect blank slates for bold and graphic ribbons.

gift wrapping

See more gift-wrapping tips and throw a Gift-Wrapping Party