The holiday struggle is real—but it doesn’t have to be. Try these clever tricks to simplify everything from decorating to shopping.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated October 26, 2018
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Life hacks are amazing—find a person who disagrees, and we’ll find a life hack to help convince him or her otherwise. These clever tips and tricks work especially well during the holidays, when life can be more stressful than ever. Now, thanks to the new book Holiday Hacks: Easy Solutions to Simplify the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ($11; amazon.com), you could keep a condensed, convenient list of effective hacks on-hand all season long.

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This new book from Keith Bradford, the life hack–genius behind 1000LifeHacks.com, includes a whopping 670 holiday hacks that apply to everything from easing holiday stress to coping post-holidays. Read on for our favorite hacks from Bradford’s new collection, and check out the book for all 670 tips:

Use a hot glue gun to fasten holiday lights to bricks. The glue won’t damage the brick, and you can rip the lights off in seconds at the end of the season.

No need to put a nail in your door to hang a wreath. Place an upside-down Command hook on the inside of your door, tie a ribbon around the top of your wreath, run the ribbon over the top of your door, and then loop the ribbon over the hook and close the door.

Too lazy to decorate? Just throw a Santa hat on your leftover Halloween pumpkin.

What says the holidays better than a cup of steaming hot chocolate? And the best (and easiest) way to make hot chocolate is to put a scoop of Nutella in warm milk and stir.

Carving knives dull and no aluminum foil left? Flip a ceramic mug over and scrape the blade against the rough edge. The knife will cut almost like it’s brand-new!

Don’t know what to get people for Christmas? Have them make three guesses of what you bought them. You now have three ideas for what to get them!

Can’t find someone to help you in an electronics store? Stand by the biggest, most expensive TV and look at the price tag. Someone will be right over.

Catch up on your social media fix, texts, or emails while you’re standing in the checkout line. Most stores have jewelry, cheap socks, and other impulse buys that you don’t need. Do anything you can to distract yourself from these sections.

Little one all dressed up but missing something? Women’s knee-high socks are the perfect size to turn into toddler leggings.

Take your kids’ gifts out of those impossible to open plastic packages before you wrap them. It may make the gift harder to wrap neatly, but your kids will get to play with their new toys right away and it’ll make for less aggravation for you on Christmas day.

Want to be a hero at the airport during the holiday travel rush? Bring a power strip. You’ll instantly make a bunch of new friends.

Before going on your holiday vacation, place a coin on a mug of ice in your freezer. On your return, if the coin is in the ice, it means your freezer stopped working at one point and your food has likely gone bad.

Got a stomachache from eating too many holiday goodies? Hop in the shower and let the water hit your body for fifteen to twenty minutes. Your aching will go away and won’t come back!

Smiling for sixty seconds, even when you’re in a bad mood, will immediately improve your mood. Using these muscles is enough to trigger the happy chemicals in your brain.

Holding your drink at belly button level at holiday parties will make you look more confident.

When sending guests directions to your house, don’t just send them the address; send them a picture of your house too. This will make it way easier for them to find it instead of searching up and down the street for house numbers.

Scared you’ll forget about gift cards you received as gifts? On your iPhone, go to the Reminders app, then hit “Remind me at location” of wherever your gift card works.

Katrina Machado

Holiday Hacks: Easy Solutions to Simplify the Most Wonderful Time of the Year($15; barnesandnoble.com) by Keith Bradford is available for purchase now.

Excerpted from Holiday Hacks by Keith Bradford. Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Interior design by Katrina Machado.