New Uses for Holiday Things
Red Ornaments as Hungry Bird Banishers
Hang unbreakable ornaments on tomato plants early in the season. When pesky sparrows or blue jays come to peck, they’ll find the hard bulbs (instead of juicy treats) and abandon their attacks by the time the real fruits ripen.
Cookie Cutters as Ornaments
When you just can’t bake another batch of holiday cookies, turn the tin cutters―angels, bells, stars―into sun catchers or tree ornaments. Mix shapes and sizes, string them with various lengths and colors of ribbon, and tack the ribbons to the window casing.
Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.
Candy Canes as Cupcake Decorations
Remove the cellophane wrapping from the canes and form hearts by placing them hook to hook and tail to tail on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the canes’ size) or until they stick together when you pinch the ends lightly. Cool thoroughly and remove with a spatula. If you want to make flat hearts with psychedelic stripes, bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Muffin Tin as Centerpiece
A centerpiece of mini muffin tins filled with tea candles turns a simple dinner into a special occasion. Mix in a few Christmas balls that have lost their caps to add splashes of shiny color.
Ribbon as Cuff Link
When you’re wearing a French-cuffed shirt, substitute a snip of ribbon for cuff links to keep your sleeves closed. Just slide a piece of ribbon through and tie a knot on each end. They’ll stop your arms from getting a chill and add a little color to a wardrobe staple.
Cupcake Liners as Light Embellishments
For a string of minilights that takes the (cup)cake, poke the pointy bulbs through foil cupcake liners. Use them for the tree or around your little girl’s bedroom mirror to make her feel like a holiday star.
Tinsel as Napkin Ring
Transform over-the-top tinsel garland into a tasteful trimming with a few quick snips. Cut four-inch strands from the garland, then feed them through the opening of a clear glass ornament until full. Attach a ribbon to the ornament’s loop to create a napkin holder or a gift topper.
Ribbon as Shower Curtain Ring
For an easy and inexpensive way to hold up your shower curtain and give your bathroom a jolt of color, lace a ribbon through each hole and tie it in a knot, as shown. Snip off the ends at an angle.
Nutcracker as Cap Remover
Clamp the nutcracker around the top of a glue, nail-polish, or beverage bottle to give you extra gripping power. Your reward: Tight caps no longer drive you nuts.
Greeting Cards as Table Runner
Rescue last year’s heartfelt wishes by turning them into a festive table runner of winter wonderlands. Place the cards facedown on a color copy machine (they should cover most of the glass). Next, put a piece of colored fabric or paper on top of the cards to serve as a border. Print out multiple copies (enough to cover the length of your table) on 11-by-17-inch paper. With double-stick tape, join the copies along the top and the bottom.
Ribbons as Dresser Pulls
Don’t let all those scraps you've been saving from the holidays go to waste. Transform a child’s bedroom by tying colorful ribbons around the knobs on a chest of drawers―or the stem of a lamp or the legs of a table.
Holiday Lights as Wreath
Ring in the season with a brilliant mantelpiece. Start with a wire wreath frame (this one is 18 inches in diameter, but you can use any size). Then wrap a string of lights around the frame, making sure to leave enough slack to reach the plug; otherwise use an extension cord.
Cookie Cutter as Candle Stencil
Repurpose mini alphabet cookie cutters as monogramming tools for pillar candles. Hold the candle steady, position the letter, and tap it lightly with a hammer. Do just an initial or go wild and spell out JOYEUX NOEL or HAPPY HANUKKAH.
Ribbon as Umbrella Tie
A rainy day equals wanting to stay in bed, under the covers. That’s rarely possible, but there is a silver lining. You can brighten up a decidedly utilitarian umbrella by tying a pretty bow on it.
Artificial Holly as Centerpiece
Plastic greenery tends to look, well, plastic. But place boughs of holly, evergreens, or mistletoe in clear glass jars or vases and they make for a glossy yet understated table decoration. Group various sizes and shapes together for a stronger statement.
Ornaments as Chandelier
For this whimsical piece, you’ll need 16 ornaments. First mount eye-hook hardware to the ceiling (or use a preexisting plant hook). Tie two three-foot-long ribbons to it, knotting a glass ball at each end. Then cut four more ribbons two inches shorter than the first; tie them to the eye-hook so they surround the center balls. Attach ornaments to the ends. Build the next tier (again, two inches shorter than the last) with four more ribbons to create an upside-down pyramid. Last, use Blu-Tack (a reusable adhesive) to secure each ball to the one next to it. After the holidays, store the arrangement in a large box stuffed with tissue paper.
Wrapping Paper as Table Runner
Cut wrapping paper with pinking shears to craft a runner. (Use double-stick tape to secure the runner to the tablecloth.) You can also use cupcake foils as tea-light votives that require no wax cleanup; simply toss the foils when the wick is snuffed.
Ornaments as Window Hanging
Maintain a cheerful outlook with the help of a “curtain” fashioned from retro bell-shaped ornaments. Cut a length of ribbon one foot longer than the length of the window. Securely tie the ribbon to a tension rod fitted in the frame. String the bells through the ribbon, knotting them in place about five inches apart. Repeat this across the width of the window, staggering the ornaments.
Greeting Cards as Gift Tags
Create a gift tag by cutting a greeting card down to size, then punch a hole in the corner and slide a ribbon through it.
Ribbon as Gift Bag Handle
Give a white gift bag a makeover with a simple ribbon transplant. String the ends of the ribbon through the holes to the inside of the bag and tie knots to hold them in place.