Welcome to our Mom Hacks series where we provide moms and dads around West Michigan with our favorite tricks for surviving this gig called Parenting. Many thanks to Family Fare Fast Lane for partnering with us on this family-helping project.

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Let’s Make the Christmas Season Joyful Again

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… which means it’s also one of the most chaotic times of the year. It seems like once November starts the calendar quickly fills up, to-do lists grow exponentially, and oftentimes we’re left feeling stressed out and worn thin.

So maybe not so much wonderful afterall.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received about navigating the holiday season that should be a time of joyful celebration is if something is not bringing joy, give yourself permission to remove it from your to-do list. (I realize this is always easier said, than done!)

Aside from determining what it is you truly want to celebrate this season, we are happy to share these tips to help make the day to day a little more merry and bright.

14 Holiday Hacks That Will Give You More Time for the Important Stuff

1 – Reusable Cloth Gift Bags Save Hours of Wrapping – And They’re Cute

Michigan holiday hacks

Adorable gift sacks from 6thandstyle.com

Reclaim the hours of wrapping for the twelve seconds of ripping and the garbage bags filled with wrapping paper by switching over to reusable gift wrappings made from fabric. Either purchase reusable gift sacks or get creative by utilizing fabric and linens you probably already have.

Pillowcases are super easy to dress up with a bow. Old sheets can be cut down into smaller pieces, and old swaddling and receiving blankets also work great. The best part of course is that you can reuse these for years to come.

2 – Have a Decoy Christmas Tree for Kids to Play With

holiday hacks

If you have littles in the toddler and preschool range, you might want to consider having a small tree that you can redirect them to so they won’t pull apart your regular tree.

Whether it’s a smaller typical Christmas tree or even a construction paper tree taped up to the wall or fridge, your littles can safely get in the festive atmosphere.

3 – Use Free Weights to Stabilize your Tree and Avoids Tips

Put a hand held weight on your tree stand and tuck out of sight with a tree skirt or swath of fabric. This extra stabilizer is great for families with spunky pets or young kids.  

4 – Paper Snowflakes Stick to a Window With a Spritz of Water

Want to dress up a window for a party or gathering? Use the old favorite of paper snowflakes. You can easily stick them to windows (or any glass surface) by spritzing them with water. The best part is that clean up is a cinch: as the water evaporates, the snow flakes will easily peel off and you won’t have tacky bits of scotch tape to contend with.

5 – Water the Tree Easily With a DIY Funnel and Tube

The best way to keep your evergreen green is by making sure it has plenty of water to drink up. But crawling under decorated pine boughs can be prickly and messy.

Instead while you are setting up a tree run a bit of tubing or hosing down to the base and affix a funnel to it (you can either use an automotive funnel or construct one with supplies easily obtained from any hardware store). Tuck the funnel part out of sight but within arm’s reach and you will have easy access to adding more water as your tree needs.

6 – Have Your Holiday Food Delivered Directly From Family Fare

Skip a trip to the grocery store by having Fast Lane deliver all your food directly to your car. Added bonus, they will also deliver their premade favorites from the deli and bakery sections as well saving you even more time in the kitchen.

7 – Egg Cartons and Cupcake Liners Make for Upcycled Ornament Storage

Egg cartons work great for protecting smaller, delicate ornaments. If you have larger ones you can use cupcake liners to keep them from bumping into one another and then layer with pieces of cardboard or cardstock.

8 – Make a Popcorn Garland

A classic holiday craft is stringing popcorn and cranberries into garlands that look great indoors or out. The easiest and cheapest thread to use is something waxed, like dental floss. Stale popcorn is also easier to poke with a needle so make your popcorn a day or two ahead of time and let sit out (this will also deter from eating all of it while you work!)

9 – Use Warmed Honey to Rim Mugs With Treats

Elevate your cocoa game by serving up hot chocolate in these fancy mugs. Just warm up a teaspoon or two of honey till it’s  very smooth, dunk your rim in, and then dip again into crushed candy canes or peppermints. More of an apple cider crowd? Use a cinnamon sugar rim instead!

10 – Colorful Cupcake Liners Step up the Party Factor

Paper cups can be used to house snacks or even create layers with cupcake liners for combinations of treats (cupcakes liners also make for great lids too).

11 – Use Sharpies to Temporarily Mark Guest’s Mugs and Glasses

This works on glazed ceramics or glassware to tell them apart. Sharpie ink will wipe away easily at the end of the night with a small dab from a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.

12 – Use a CD envelope to display a decorated sugar cookie.

You can even add festive ribbon or bows if you wish!

13 – Put Store Bought Treats in Your Own Serving Dishes

Presentation is King.

No time to cook or bake? Dress up something store bought and no one has to know you didn’t slave hours away at the oven. Simply transferring baked goods, side dishes, or dips to your own serving ware will do. You can also add garnishes and finishing touches like a sprinkle of spice or sugar to complete the look.

14 – Use a Griddle to Keep Party Food Warm

I have yet to master my cooking skills so that I can get all my dishes to finish at the same time (then again nor do I have the oven space either!). So the next best thing is finding ways to keep those dishes warm till it’s time to put them on the table. Casseroles can be kept warm by setting them on an electric griddle and tented with tinfoil.

Crockpots are obvious, as you can either put large sides in like mashed potatoes, but you can also set one or two serving bowls inside a crockpot as well to keep them warm. A thermos is the perfect thing to keep gravy hot. If your dishwasher has a plate warmer setting, you can also make use of that as well to keep dishes from cooling off.

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Byron Center, MI 49315

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