Readers share creative holiday tips and tricks
I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers are sending my way to be shared with you. Over and again I find myself saying, "Wow! Why didn't I think of that?"
Once Christmas is over for another year, I scrapbook all the photos and handmade cards we receive. It's great to look back at all of our friends and relatives over the years as they grow. So much creativity goes into some of these cards. The scrapbook is with all of my other photo albums, so I don't have to wait until the Christmas decorations come out of storage to see them. — Vicky
I use the large Christmas popcorn tins (cleaned and dried) to store my Christmas bows. I use one for red, another for green and the other two for gold and mixed colors. I can stack them in storage, and my bows stay new-looking all year. I reuse these bows for several years. — Gwen
I purchased a round Christmas tablecloth at the local thrift store for 25 cents. I laundered it and have been using it for the past three years as a tree skirt. It is large enough that I just fold it in half and wrap it around the tree holder, meeting in the back. It is reusable, beautiful and easy to clean. — Darlene
Filed Under Halloween
Like many people, I buy my Christmas cards after the holidays when they are on sale. Instead of storing them with my Christmas decorations, I put them with my Halloween decorations. When I open the bin in mid-October, I have at least eight weeks to write a well-considered greeting to each recipient and still get them mailed on time. — Rosemary
Green Bag Filler
It was Christmas Eve, and I was frantic to finish wrapping gifts. I used a lot of gift bags but had run out of tissue. Then I remembered all the Kohl's and JCPenney ads that had run in the newspapers. They were all the right colors: red, green and white. I ran them through my paper shredder and I had free filler for my gift bags. My recipients were very impressed with my "green" wrapping. — Jo
I have lots of small, breakable ornaments that I've collected over the years. They easily get lost in tissue and the commercial ornament boxes are too large and bulky. A friend gave me a great idea: egg cartons. I save my egg cartons and put the ornaments in each cup of the carton. They stack nicely in my Christmas storage boxes with my other decorations. — Betty
My sister-in-law is creating a cookbook for Christmas this year. She's asked everyone in the family to submit five dessert recipes. Next year, it will be a different category. She is compiling the cookbook this year and will only need to print out the new recipes each year in the future. — Tracy
We have an artificial Christmas tree, which requires bending out the branches after it is set up to make the tree look bushy. I keep a pair of inexpensive cotton gardening gloves in the tree box so opening up the branches is more comfortable for my hands. I also use the gloves to squeeze the branches closed before putting it away. — Margie
Gift of Laughter
A few years ago, we decided to be creative with Christmas gifts for our two adult sons. We went through boxes of things they'd left behind, gathering some of their old childhood "treasures" such as "Animaniacs" figures, an old neckerchief, a metronome, a college mug and prom mementos. We wrapped them up as Christmas presents. One of our sons conveniently left behind a birthday gift in August. He got it again for Christmas. Another year, I found papers from their very early years of school. I put them in three-ring binders and gift-wrapped them. The boys loved reading their work from second and third grade. We've had more laughs and fun with these "free" gifts than the gifts we've purchased. — Leslie
Mary Hunt is the founder ofEverydayCheapskate.com and author of "Debt-Proof Living." Questions, comments and tips can be sent on her website.