New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Helpers Edition
Olive Oil as Tree Sap Cleaner
If dragging and decking out the fresh spruce leaves you with sticky digits, pour a tablespoon of oil onto a cloth, then rub until clean. Bonus: The oil is a great moisturizer for dry winter skin.
Gift Box as Cupcake Carrier
If the forecast calls for iced roadways, stabilize your sweet cargo by cutting X’s into the tops of gift boxes and inserting the cupcakes. (A shirt box will hold about eight.)
Scarf as Christmas Tree Skirt
If each member of your family has, oh, four or five scarves, put some of them to work as a tree skirt. Arrange in a pinwheel fashion around the base of the tree and secure with safety pins.
Newspaper as Wrapping Paper
Save the comics section for a child's birthday surprise or use the wedding announcements for an engagement.
White Vinegar as Tag Remover
Paint stubborn price tags with several coats of vinegar, let the liquid soak in for five minutes, then wipe away the residue.
Dish Towel as Wine Bag
Place the bottle along one side of the fabric so that the bottle’s top meets the top of the fabric. Fold the excess material at the bottom over the bottle, forming a pocket of sorts. Then roll the dish towel evenly and secure at the neck with ribbon.
Paint Chips as Gift Tags
Paint-sample strips make great gift tags. Besides all those hues, they’re printed with fantasy-inspiring names, like Flamingo Dream. Slide one under a ribbon, or punch a hole and thread ribbon through as a tie.
Jump Rope as Ribbon Replacement
Jump-start a trend with this fun, colorful decoration that doubles as a bonus gift.
Garden Hose Holder as Holiday Light Organizer
Coil strings of holiday lights round and round for knot-free hall decking. Your reward: You won’t blow a fuse trying to hang next year’s light show.
Photo Corners as Gift Tag Securers
Neater and more attractive than Scotch tape (but just as easy to apply), self-adhesive photo corners make even the simplest wrap job look impressive.
Pant Hanger as Gift Wrap Organizer
Keep individual sheets of wrapping paper crease-free by hanging them from the clips. Do the same with gift bags, or drape their handles over the hook of the hanger. (You can also use a shoe organizer: Stash scissors, tape, gift tags, and other decorating supplies inside the compartments.)
Farfalle as a Gift Bow
All out of premade bows? Tie up wrapped gift boxes with cooking twine and farfalle pasta.
Shoe Box as Ribbon Organizer
Using a regular hole puncher or a box cutter, make an opening in the shoe box for each ribbon to slide through. Behind the spools, there’s room for scissors, tape, and gift tags.
Key Chain as Gift Tag
Add a fun touch to a gift box by using a bright key chain as a tag, attached with big rubber bands in place of ribbon. The recipient will love it, even if it doesn’t go with a bow-wrapped Lexus in the driveway.
Apple Container as Ornament Storage
Store delicate tree decor where the fruit once went to protect items from bumps and bruises. (You can also use wine boxes or egg cartons.)