“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” ~Dr. Seuss

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the holiday hassles? Could you use a break from the usual crazy holiday scene? Good news! This year, your holidays can be brighter (without spending any extra money). Better yet, you don’t have to work hard (or break the bank) in order to spread Christmas cheer.

Oh yeah, it’s time for today’s Shine Buzz! I present to you…

24 Budget-Friendly Christmas Hacks to Make the Holidays Easier

Here are a few holiday hacks you can use to make Christmas quick and easy.

Tree-Related Holiday Hacks

  1. If you typically put your tree in the corner, you don’t have to wrap your lights all the way around the tree. Simply criss-cross the string across the portion of the tree that’s visible.
  2. Store your ornaments in an egg carton. For larger ornaments, use plastic cups or coffee cans.
  3. Use things like popcorn and cranberries along with some string or twine to make natural (and inexpensive) garland.
  4. Take the bulbs off of your strings of lights and spray paint them gold or silver to make them stand out.
  5. Use green tinsel to wrap around the inner branches of your tree to make it look fuller.
  6. Make your tree taller by placing a milk crate or paint cans under the base, then hide them with a tree skirt.

Decoration-Related Holiday Hacks

  1.  Wrap your lights around a paper towel tube or part of a wrapping paper tube to store them once the season is over.
  2.  If you run out of hooks while you’re hanging up ornaments, try using twine or zip ties.
  3.  Wrap a bit of green garland around a tomato cage to create a quick and easy outdoor decoration.
  4.  Wrap a couple of pool noodles with brown paper and paint them to look like a bundle of Christmas firewood.
  5.  Hang ornaments from a ceiling fan or light fixture to form a festive holiday chandelier.
  6.  You can run string through gingerbread cookies to make another decoration that looks good enough to eat.

Gift-Related Holiday Hacks

  1. Use double-sided tape while wrapping presents to add a professional touch to your gift wrapping.
  2. You can make a simple snow globe using a Mason jar, some glitter, and a few small holiday-themed trinkets. These could work as a decoration as well as a personalized gift.
  3. Save gift cards that were given to you (that you won’t use) and regift them to someone who will.
  4. (Next year) Ask family members to make a wish list at or before Thanksgiving. This way, you’ll know exactly what they want (and you can still buy it on BlackFriday).
  5. (Next year) Start buying gifts throughout the year so that you won’t break the bank when it’s time to shop for the holidays.
  6. Make “cookies in a jar” by combining all the dry ingredients in a favorite kind of cookie in a Mason jar. Attach a recipe card with a festive ribbon and you’ve got inexpensive gifts that everyone loves.
  7. If you host the holiday celebration, do a White Elephant kind of gift exchange. Not only will everyone save money, but it’s a lot of fun. See the official White Elephant rules here.

Food-Related Holiday Hacks

  1. Fill squeezable ketchup or mustard bottles with icing to make cake or cookie decorating a snap.
  2. If your slow cooker isn’t being used to make food for your Christmas feast, you can use it to make a big batch of Christmas morning hot cocoa.
  3. If you have a Keurig, stock up on an assortment of cocoa, coffee, and tea for the big family celebration. People will love it and it’ll be a relatively inexpensive way you can make your extended family feel pampered on the big day.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and clove into a pot of boiling water to fill your home with a festive holiday scent.
  5. Spread out some whipped cream on a baking sheet, put it in the freezer, and use a cookie cutter to make festive hot chocolate “marshmallows.”

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helpful Christmas hacks. Always be on the lookout for time-saving tips on the internet. You can also look in magazines around the holiday season for inspiration. You never know when and where you might come across a great holiday hack-related idea.