Holiday Hacks

Lola MagazineLola Shreveport

Each year the excitement of the holidays creeps in and planning begins. In our holiday dreams the season is filled with tons of merriment and not a bit of holiday stress, but then reality sets in and it can become overwhelming. Whether you’ve got holiday parties to attend, a gift list to check off, menus to plan, or trees to decorate – it can snowball before you even had your first cup of Christmas coco. This year let us help you stay on top of your holiday game with these holiday hacks helping you save time, money, and your sanity!

Decorating Hacks

Hang Christmas decor with Command Hooks to avoid unsightly nail holes. For a quick and amazing holiday feel, try using ribbon to hang small wreaths on your kitchen cabinets. 

Use evergreen pipe cleaners to hang garland or heavy ornaments on your tree. They can also be purposed as inexpensive napkin holders and as festive details for gift wrapping. The possibilities are endless!

Add some Christmas morning magic with Santa’s boot print.

By simply mixing baking soda and glitter, you have an instant recipe for Santa boot prints. Lightly mist a boot with water, stamp the boot in to coat the bottom with baking soda and stamp the boot prints coming from the fireplace. Voila, more Christmas morning magic for the little ones. 

Save on expensive fragrances by simmering a bag of your favorite smelling tea, spices, fruits, and extracts. One of our favorites is a delightful little William & Sonoma secret. Simmer water, lemons, rosemary, and a dash of vanilla to make your entire house smell of an inviting and fresh warmth. 

Don’t forget to add more water as needed! Don’t let your water get below a cup on the stove. You don’t want to burn your pot. Keep on low simmer and double your ingredients if you want a stronger scent.

1 Lemon

1 Handful Rosemary

tsp Vanilla extract

2 cups Water

Christmas Tree Decorating Hacks

Fluffing up the branches makes a huge difference in how your finished tree looks, but it is the least exciting step and can scratch up your hands up. Make the tree fluffing a little less excruciating by wearing cotton gloves or even dishwashing gloves to protect your hands. 

Use picks to add color, variety, and texture to your Christmas tree. There are endless options available, from berries and branches to Santa hats and elf stockings. 

Hang ball ornaments deep inside the branches of your tree to fill gaps and hide bare spots. Hang ornaments throughout your tree, not just at the edges. As you are adding the Christmas balls to the tree, don’t just hang them on the very tips of the branches. Hanging ornaments further inside the branches really helps add fullness and dimension to your tree. 

Wrap shiny green tinsel deep inside of the branches to make your Christmas tree look fuller.

For every foot of Christmas tree height, you will need…

-100 Lights

-9 Feet of Garland

-20 Ornaments 

Storage Hacks

Keep Christmas lights wrapped around a clothes hanger to prevent them from tangling.

Store rolls of wrapping paper in a dollar-store shoe hanger. Cut the bottoms off hanging shoe organizer pockets to store rolls and use other pockets for tape, ribbon, and tissue paper. Game changer!

Store small, fragile ornaments in an egg carton to prevent them from breaking.

Keep your Christmas cards on book rings or ribbon to revisit each year as mini photo albums of friends and family. 

Holiday Cooking and Hosting Hacks

Use a Cookie Cutter to Control your Sprinkle Placement!

Simply place the cookie cutter over your cookies before baking to filter the sprinkles to land on the cookie and not everywhere else! This keeps the sprinkle mess to a minimum and makes for beautifully decorated cookies. 

-Spatchcock (or butterfly) your turkey so it cooks faster.

Spatchcocking is a culinary term that means splitting open and grilling (aka butterflying). Consider it instead of occupying your oven for a 20-pound turkey. The average turkey can take four to six hours to cook versus 90 minutes cooking using this simple hack.

-Skip baking homemade bread and make compound butter to boost flavor instead.

Homemade bread is hard to beat, but if you want to bring the flavors without the hassle of making bread, wow your guest with store baked bread and compound butter. Prep it a few days ahead by chopping your herbs or dried fruit. Mix whatever ingredients you want along with softened butter in a food processor and refrigerate in plastic wrap formed into logs. Simply let soften at room temperature before serving with warm bread. Use your imagination or try some of our favorite combinations. 

Cranberry cinnamon butter

Orange honey butter

Garlic herb butter

Jalapeno lime butter

Make your holiday drinks festive with cranberry and mint ice cubes!

These are easy to put together and they look great in a glass. Drop a few cranberries and a sprig of mint into filled ice tray and freeze. The best part is that you can make them ahead of time so there’s no last-minute prep work when guests arrive. 

-Host a candy making and cookie baking event. 

Everyone loves to get a little creative around the holidays, so instead of taking it all on yourself, invite some friends to help and send home some goodies with your guests.

-Make your holiday gathering a BYOT.

If you have hosted a holiday meal for family and friends, you know how there are always a ton of leftovers. When hosting a large holiday feast, ask guests to bring their own Tupperware so you can share the goods and not be left with zero space in your own refrigerator.

Holiday Fashion Hacks

Before you rush out and buy a new dress for that holiday party, think about these simple holiday fashion hacks. Here are a few fast and inexpensive ways to instantly update your wardrobe and still get the party vibe going.

-Transform your LBD. 

Since this is the dress that many of us turn to for just about every occasion, it can get predictable, but there are ways to change up the iconic classic. Accessories are the obvious choice: a faux-fur shrug, a statement necklace or pendant, a chunky cuff bracelet, a fabulous pair of heels or a distinctive jeweled clutch. Make those the focus of your festive fashion and your beloved LBD will keep making a statement time after time. 

-Get a leg up with leggings. 

Everyone loves leggings, but if you feel like just keeping those yoga pants on and sprinting over to the neighbor’s holiday party, check yourself. Invest in a more sophisticated option of leggings in a faux leather or velvet that can party with the best of them and still keep you comfy.

– Dress up your favorite basics. 

We all have those staples in our wardrobe we just keep going back too. Don’t give up on your most loved pieces. They can easily be given some festive flair with a little thought. Team up your favorite black pants you wear to the office with a velvet blazer, and you are ready to go from work to a holiday happy hour. Make a statement with little effort by pairing your favorite jean jacket with a comfy t-shirt and sparkly sequin skirt. Satiny pajama pants? Yes, you can! Just add an off-the-shoulder cashmere sweater top and you are ready to celebrate the season in style. 

-Wrap up and roll out with a statement scarf.

This is an easy way to go from blah to bam for any event. There are limitless options of gorgeous scarves available this season. Wrap up in colorful cashmere, bold checks, or shiny metallic to add instant glamour to your holiday style. 

-Dare to go bare by ditching your blouse. 

Now, we are clearly not suggesting going topless, but depending on the cut of a jacket, you can show a little skin and fill in your neckline with a trendy collar necklace. You could also opt for a sheer or lace blouse that covers up all the appropriate places. 

-Borrow from his closet.

The tuxedo jacket is a hot new trend that is both festive and classic. If your guy’s isn’t the right fit, scope out vintage shops for a one-of-a-kind dinner jacket or tux that you can adapt to your own eveningwear wardrobe. Pair it with a feminine chiffon skirt and you just nailed the hottest holiday look of the season. 

-Layer, Layer, Layer. 

If you haven’t tried the “short over long” look yet, this holiday season is the time to experiment. A vest is a perfect place to start. Wear a short furry vest over a long tunic and leggings, or the opposite with a long vest over a turtleneck and short skirt. 

-Mix and don’t match with different prints. 

This look may be the most fun but is also one of the hardest to put together. Different prints is a big trend in fashion, so look at the clothes in your closet with new eyes. Pull out that printed floral top you love and see what else you can wear with it. Chances are you have prints that are in the same color family. You might be surprised at what pieces will work together for a fresh new unexpected outfit.

Gift Wrapping Hacks

Just as you are ready to kick back with a glass of eggnog and toast to being done with holiday shopping, you realize, you still have dozens of gifts to wrap. While gift-wrapping can be a fun way to indulge your creative side, let’s be real, it often winds up feeling like just another task to check off your list. This holiday season, dial down last-minute wrapping stress with these stylish wrapping hacks. 

– Color coordinate your holiday.

Instead of using multiple papers, and tags, for each gift recipient, simplify the process by picking one paper for each person. If  you want to stay with the uniformed wrapping paper look, choose a different color ribbon and skip the gift tags.

-Swap labels for chalk.

Another way to avoid gift confusion without adding the extra step of writing out labels, is to use chalkboard gift wrap. Matte black chalkboard wrapping paper is very on-trend now.  You can write the recipient’s name directly onto the paper with a white chalk pen and jazz up your package with bright festive ribbon. 

-Think outside the bag.

While bags are convenient for hard-to-wrap items, they are not nearly as fun to open as wrapped presents. For large or awkwardly shaped gifts that don’t wrap well with traditional paper, get creative. You may find it easier to use flexible wrapping such cellophane, plastic tablecloths, or even fabric. These materials mold around the gift much easier than paper and will still look fantastic.

-Save the bells and whistles for special presents.

No one can deny that gifts look more enticing with bows and ribbon, but when pressed for time, focus those special touches on special presents. When it comes to late night speed wrapping sessions, it is okay to forgo the bows and ribbons, especially for kids who are just going to tear through them. Putting a lovely bow or ornament on extra-special gifts is great, but when down to the wire, skip ribbons for the socks and have a glass of eggnog instead.