With the holidays closing in fast we could all use an ‘easy button’ when it comes to preparing for the onslaught of family and friends! Every year I promise myself that this year I’ll be better prepared, more organized, and be jollier. But, no matter my best intentions it always ends up with me wrapping gifts Christmas eve (or even sometimes Christmas morning…). So here are a few of my favorite holiday hacks to make life a little less stressful this season!
- Stockings – To hang multiple stockings use a curtain rod! It saves space on the mantle or gives us fireplace-less Floridians a place to hang ours!
- Wrapping paper – Looking for a way to save space (or in my case just organize) when putting away your holiday wrapping paper? Use a clear garment bag and line the rolls of paper up vertically next to one another. Not only can you 1) see what you have but 2) let’s you hang them out of the way!
- Ornaments – Have trouble making sense of all of your ornaments when the season is over? Use egg cartons to keep them separate, organized, and safe! You can also store similar color/shaped ornaments in zip-lock bags!
- Vase Filler – You probably know by now putting small ornaments in a glass vase is a great way to make any room more festive. But to make your ornaments go farther, use a filler. What’s a filler? Something like a toilet paper or paper towel roll, anything that can take up some of that ‘space’ and be easily hidden. Also for a little extra pazazz try adding battery powered LED lights on a wire through out your glass container!
- Silver – I’m guilty of never using the good ‘family’ silver that’s been passed down to me. It’s always a chore polishing it before I can even CLEAN it so then I can set the table. Well if you want an easy way to polish your silver without one ounce of elbow grease check out this article from HGTV!
- Toilets – Have a clogged toilet with the in laws are en route? Besides being an all around wonder product, Dawn dish soap can help clean out your toilets too! Pour a cup into the offending receptacle, let sit for 15 minutes. After poor a gallon of hot water into it. Clog cleared!
- Hotel-ify – Have hard to please relatives coming to stay for the holidays? Provide them with a concierge gift basket! Provide travel size toiletries (tissues, tooth brushes, shampoo, etc) , a bottle or two of nice bottled water, and some of their favorite chocolates in a cute basket. Make it even better by putting your wifi information in a pretty picture frame next to the bed.
- Potatoes in the dishwasher – Who else hates the repetitiveness of the prep work? One way to clean a massive amount of spuds is by running them through a cycle in the dishwasher. Of course, this implies that your dishwasher is actually empty at some point during the holidays! While you’re at it, check out Huffington Post’s list of 5 Foods You Can Cook in the Dishwasher.
- Cold water skinning potatoes – There is a reason that you see potato peeling being portrayed as punishment in the media. Easy solution? Boil the spuds with the skins still on. While they’re still hot dunk them in a bowl of cold/ice water. The skins will literally pop off!
- Crockpot the potatoes – Every year my mom sits down and schedules everything down to the minute. Planning on that scale just isn’t my thing. If you pre-make your mashed potatoes, keep them fluffy and warm in a crock pot. One less thing to worry about right before dinner.
- Gravy in a thermos – In the same theme as the crockpot potatoes, if you make your gravy ahead of time put it in a thermos. This will keep it piping hot until you start serving!
- Salad bar the prep – Hate cleaning & cutting all the veggies? Find a grocery store with a salad bar and load up on all the celery, onion, and all the other veggies you need for the big day! Or spend the afternoon chopping…a day or two before the party. Store them in baggies or old soup containers!
- Cabinets as a recipe stand – free up counter space and tape your recipes onto your cabinet doors. Not only do you not have to worry about spilling something on it, but keeping it at eye height will make it easier to read.
- Cooler for extra storage – The holidays make the fridge the most valuable real estate in your home. If you are stocking up on drinks or condiments for your guests, try moving these items to a cooler. Not only will it keep you from trying to cram everything in, but if the beer is elsewhere they’ll be fewer people traipsing thru the kitchen. Looking for a great cooler investment? Check out Yeti Coolers!
- Muffin stuffing – Stuffing is a controversial topic in my family. You either love it or hate it. We’ve gotten into the habit of cooking the stuffing in muffin tins. It makes perfect single servings but helps it last longer.
Now that you’ve read our Holiday Hacks, comment below with yours – we’d love to share!