New Uses for Christmas Things
Tinsel as Wreath Garland
Ropes of tinsel, wrapped around a foam circle, make a fun, modern wreath that you can use year after year.
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
Bobby Pin as Gift-Card Clip
More than just a hair accessory: Attach a note to a ribbon with a colorful or bedazzled bobby pin.
Wrapping Paper as Confetti
You could toss old giftwrap in the garbage or… in the air. Use a hold punch to turn gently used paper (or last year’s stock) into confetti.
Gift Tags as File Label
Use leftover, adhesive gift tags to label file folders. Holly leaves = medical records, Santa = bills (obviously—you owe him for the bike, the LEGOS, the dollhouse…).
Playing Card as Gift Tag
A playing card is a winning stand-in for a gift tag. Numbers 2 to 10 are fun for kids' birthdays; the king and queen of hearts are perfectly suited as valentines. (Use a permanent marker to write your message.)
Toilet Paper Tube as Wrapping Paper Holder
Slide empty toilet paper tubes over wrapping paper to keep it from unraveling.
Holiday Lights as Night Light
Fill a large Mason jar with a strand or two of battery-powered lights to add whimsy to a walkway or a nightstand.
Ribbon as Place Card Embellishment
Punch four holes around a piece of cardstock, then tie two pieces of ribbon along the top and bottom to make a striped place card.
Wristband as Wine Protector
Toting more than one bottle to a party? Slip a wristband over one to prevent banging or breaking.
Wrapping Paper as Placemat
Turn rectangles of giftwrap into placemats you don’t mind getting dirty. You can even write guests’ names on the edges to designate seats.
Party Hat as Candy Dish
Use extra paper party hats to corral candy on a display table—or fill them with popcorn to hand out to kids.
Use a Wineglass as a Candleholder
Give some height to a candle display by perching a pillar on an upside-down wineglass.
Ribbon as Photo Matte
Glue ribbon around an existing matte to turn a basic frame into one-of-a-kind art.
Shoelace as Ribbon
Happy birthday, sport! Use a (clean) shoelace for a simple, reusable gift tie.
Sticker Dots as Party Cups
Turn plain white cups into custom-designed party wear with simple dot stickers, available at any office supply store.
Tinsel as Ornament Filler
If you have extra tinsel but aren’t feeling a fuzzy tree this year, stuff a handful into clear glass ornament balls. You’ll get tinsel in small, sparkly doses.
Wrapping Paper as Tray Liner
Turn an old tray into a special serving piece with a single scrap of pretty paper. Use double-sided tape to keep it secure.
Tree Bow Ornament as Napkin Ring
Use tree bows (with built-in loops on the back) to hold napkins for Christmas dinner—or turn any ornament into a decorative tie by threading a ribbon through the wire loop on top.
Cupcake Liner as Mason Jar Lining
Secure a cupcake liner over the top of a jar with a rubber band. It can be a temporary fix if you’ve lost the lid, a pretty solution to keep flies out of the lemonade, or a cute topper for a gift-in-a-jar.
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
Buttons as Appetizer Stand
Here's a fanciful and fun way to serve cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes, and more: Place large buttons on a tray, spear the hors d'oeuvres with toothpicks, then anchor the toothpick ends in the buttons' holes.
Hanger as Ribbon Organizer
Turn a tangle of ribbons into a neat presentation. Hang coordinating colors over the prongs of a tie hanger.
Kid Art as Holiday Wrap
Oh, that’s grandma dressed as an alligator? Perfect for wrapping her birthday gift. (And the fridge door is full anyway.)
Gift Box as Sugar Holder
More lovely to look at than the branded box from the store, but it still slides easily into the pantry for storage.
Cupcake Liners as Garland
Using a large sewing needle, thread a string through the alternating colorful cupcake liners to make a ruffled garland.
Binder Clip as Ribbon Organizer
Clip one end of the spool to keep the ribbon from unfurling in your giftwrap drawer.
Candy Canes as Place Card Holder
What nice curves… for holding a place card. Tie together three canes with a ribbon to make a sturdy stand.
Candy Wrapper as DIY Gift Wrap
Sworn off candy? Use the leftover wrappers to sugarcoat small-scale presents: Cut a wrapper into a flat sheet, then fold and tape as usual.
Cupcake Liner as Decorative Snowflakes
Create a winter wonderland in the entryway. Flatten white paper liners (foil ones will work, too), fold into halves or quarters, then snip out shapes along the folds. When you open them back up, voilà: snowflakes you can string from the ceiling.
Cocktail Shaker as Egg Scrambler
Whip up fluffy omelets by adding eggs, milk, and seasonings together in a cocktail mixer. Give it a few shakes and it's ready for the skillet. Submitted by: suziegirl
Confetti as Packing Material
Don't ditch excess confetti or shredded paper. Use it to cushion breakable items so they arrive in one piece.
Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123
Toothbrush Holder as Vase
Don’t have a vase small enough to display those pretty buds you picked? A seldom used toothbrush holder fits a small arrangement perfectly.
Cake Stand as Soap Dish
Glam up a bathroom or vanity. Stock soaps and washcloths on top, or showcase your prettiest perfume bottles.
Paper Clips as Wrapping Paper Holder
Use paper clips to keep wrapping paper from unraveling.
Pipe Cleaners as Drink Labels
Skip the fancy wine charms and use an array of brightly colored pipe cleaners to identify guests' drinks at your next get-together. Submitted by: LassieBV
Tissue Paper as Wrinkle Preventer
Avoid ironing while on the road. Pack clothes between layers of tissue paper and they’ll arrive wrinkle-free.
Luggage Tag as Gift Label
Slip a gift label inside a tag.
Tissue Paper as Purse Shaper
Help a purse or boots to keep its shape with tissue stuffed inside.
Paper Doily as Cupcake Holder
These cute patterns on cupcake liners are there one minute, gone the next—they virtually disappear in the oven. For a pretty touch, trim off the patterned edge of a large (12-inch) doily and wrap it around the cupcake liner. Seal with clear tape.
Dental Floss as DIY Popcorn Garland
String a popcorn garland for the holidays (after a pit-stop in the medicine cabinet).
Pastry Tip as Place Card
Set a sweet table and use scalloped pastry tips in fun colors as place-card holders.
Votive Candle Holders as Place Cards
Arrange a luminous table setting. Write guests’ names on strips of parchment paper and wrap them around votive holders, securing the ends with tape. As an alternative, remove the candles, cut snapshots of guests to match the height of a holder, and then curl around the inside wall.
Paper Doily as Candy Cone
Form a cone with a small (5-inch) doily, secure with tape, and fill with candy and treats. The lacy server is a sweet upgrade for the next time you gather the ladies (think bridal shower) or girls (birthday party, sleepover, extra-special playdate).
Branch as Gift Wrap
Spruce up a wrapped gift. Tuck pretty sprigs into the ribbon in place of a bow.
Beans as Candle Anchor
Pretty and functional. Fill a hurricane vase with beans before adding a pillar candle to help keep the candle steady and minimize mess (the beans will catch the wax).
CD Case as Photo Place Card
Assign seating at a holiday dinner. Slide festive photos of various family members into a case and prop it in front of a place setting.
Book as Misleading Gift Box
To foil present-guessers, hide the real gift in a hollowed-out book. Using a box cutter carve a space just large enough to hold the small item.
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.
Jump Rope as Ribbon Replacement
Jump-start a trend with this fun, colorful decoration that doubles as a bonus gift.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Last Year's Holiday Cards as This Year's 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.
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.
Clothespin as Holiday Card Display
Adhere a wide grosgrain ribbon to the wall with double-sided mounting tape, then attach holiday cards up and down it for a jolly–and changeable—seasonal exhibit. Both regular-size and mini clothespins will work.
Oranges as Mini Snowman
Build snowmen without bundling up. For a holiday party, give each child three oranges, some toothpicks, a sturdy plate, and store-bought frosting. Stick the large orange to the center of the plate with a dollop of frosting. Poke a few toothpicks halfway into the top of the fruit and spear a smaller orange on top. Repeat with the third orange, and layer on frosting, a vanilla wafer, and peppermints to make a hat. Use candy-cane pieces for arms and a nose, cloves for the eyes, and red licorice for a scarf.
Shoe Box as Holiday Light Storage
Trim off the edges of a shoe box lid and wrap string lights around the flat cardboard. Then slide the whole thing inside the box. This will keep lights untangled and tidy during the off-season.
Sugar Bowl as Homemade Candle Holder
Fill mismatched sugar bowls and tea cups with melted wax and a wick for beautiful handmade gifts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.