5 HOLIDAY HACKS…
Oh the holidays! It’s mind numbing just thinking about it some times. Over the last few years (my oldest is 6) I have definitely perfected certain aspects of the holidays to make my life WAY easier while still looking like I have spent DAYS slaving!
1. MIRACLE GIFT BAGS:
About 2 years ago, my QVC OBSESSED Mimi had a treasure of a package arrive at my front door. It wasn’t until I dove into the box & really inspected that I realized how MIRACULOUS this gift truly was.
GIFTBAGS. NOT just your average gift bags. THESE:
>>>>>MIRACLE GIFT BAGS<<<<<
I mean! You can literally “wrap” up all of your Christmas in these suckers & it takes SECONDS! ESPECIALLY for the stocking stuffers that I used to spend endless hours individually wrapping bottles of Listerine & toothbrushes in wrapping paper-just toss them in their own little bags! For under $20 (well, w/o shipping) you get this SIXTY BAGS! The sizes are AMAZING, the designs are adorable & quite versatile (they have plain, birthday, etc. also included) and the little tags come with them that you pull the ribbon through the little hole & tie a bow & POOF! You have just saved yourself DAYS of agony.
AND THEY ARE REUSABLE!!!!!!!!!
2. THE ELF ON THE SHELF CHEATER:
Love the concept & popularity of the Elf on the Shelf but I LOATHE trying to think of another clever spot for him to rest or activity for him to do to keep my kids interested. Not to mention-I FORGET nearly EVERY NIGHT OR I WAKE UP IN A PANIC & RACE OUT TO MOVE THE DAMN THING BEFORE MY KIDS OPEN THEIR EYES.
Now, I can’t even take credit for this concept because my son actually just thought of the basis yesterday after asking me why ‘Ernie’ doesn’t move sometimes because he hasn’t been a bad boy so he doesn’t think it’s because of that…hmm…QUICK, KATIE!! THINK!! So, I told him that I think Ernie is looking for a more comfortable spot in our house because he’s exhausted from flying back to the North Pole & that when he finds one, he simply returns to that one until he thinks of a better one.
“Let’s make him a bed, Mom!!” BRILLIANT!! Guess what we did? Grabbed a shoebox, decorated that sucker & Ernie now has a bed that sits on our shelf. If Ernie isn’t in his bed the next morning, that’s when we know that he is staying to let Santa know someone was naughty but he’ll return a few hours later to continue watching for the day. PHEW.
If your kids are anything like my curious & investigative little boy-hiding Santa’s gifts can be quite a challenge. It’s not even necessarily that my son deliberately looks for them but more that there’s just no “off limits” area for my kids. They play hide & seek & so clearly every single closet of any sort is a NO. The attic is a pain in the butt AND it’s only accessible from my daughter’s room. The other storage areas are in my son’s room (also hide & seek spots) & our garage looks like an episode of hoarders.
Now, I do have this nifty little spot off their playroom that houses storage bins & SUITCASES! It hit me! HIDE PRESENTS IN YOUR LUGGAGE! Another incredible aspect about the Miracle Gift Bags is that unlike boxes, you can sort of mold them & even smoosh them to hide them! AND on Christmas Eve, we just carry the suitcase to the tree & wallah!
We all have this glorious vision of a stunningly elegant Holiday dinner with our best china lining each place setting of our dining table that’s decorated with yummy greenery, candles & cranberries in our beautiful dining room that’s utilized for the final 3rd time for the year BUT I found a way to achieve that look BUT not have to be a prisoner to the clean up department.
PAPER PLATES ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE.
For Thanksgiving this year I was to be the Hostess with the Mostess! I am an interior designer so OBVIOUSLY the overall ambiance & decor is a major aspect of my hosting. I have this gorgeous “Thanksgiving” set of china that my mom gave to me with pheasants & feathers, etc. Fully planned on using those until I walked into HOBBY LOBBY & spotted THESE:
***I would have taken a full table shot but I had to make shift this one for this pic because I had already undecorated from Thanksgiving (obviously!)***
I mean, they’re AWESOME! They are nice & thick & came in packs of 20. And quite frankly, I thought they looked awesome with my fine china & you have no idea just how much time you save by not having to clear & clean dishes! Mix & match! Don’t lose your mind over things that aren’t worth the headaches. Stop scrubbing dishes & sit down & chat with your family & friends.
My kids are 6 & 2. I LOVE watching them get so excited over the Christmas tree & how magical their little faces look but it always goes a lot more smoothly in my own mind vs actual reality. Every year I am racing through the ornaments trying to essentially deter my kids from going near the breakable ones (WHY ARE THEY LIKE MAGNETS TO THEM?) & quickly handing them a “kid proof” ornament to hang. I am never fast enough, I get anxiety because I watch them “hang” something from literal pine NEEDLE vs a branch & I know exactly what’s in my VERY near future: LOTS & LOTS OF GLASS. LOTS. Why do I want to torture myself & then ultimately completely take away from the “fun” because I am whipping out the vacuum, having my kids outside of the “hazard” region because glass loves to spread itself in a VAST radius & all along my kids are impatiently waiting to be able to start the same exhausting process all over again.
Do yourself a HUGE favor. This year when you are doing the dreaded deed of taking down your tree-get 2 separate storage bins or whatever you choose to store your ornaments. As you remove your ornaments, put the plastic or “kid proof” ornaments (the ones you would fully allow your children to handle without hesitation) in a labeled “KID PROOF ORNAMENTS” bin. Do the same for the breakable & cherished ornaments in a labeled bin. Next year, when you bring home the tree, you only get that “Kid Proof” bin of ornaments out & let them HAVE AT IT! The bottom 1/2 of my tree is all plastic, paper, and felt & a lot of them are literally on top of each other on the same branch BUT I have accomplished my ultimate goal: