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Best of the Web: Relax This Holiday Season with Time-Saving Tips

Holiday cheer is everywhere, and home design bloggers are following suit with Christmas-themed posts. This week’s round-up focuses on finding clutter-free gifts, adding last-minute decorative touches and creating a welcoming atmosphere in the home for guests. With ingenious decorating tips and design advice to transform your home in time to welcome holiday visitors, you can finish everything on your Christmas to-do list and enjoy a relaxing holiday.

Christmas Wreaths

Twinkling lights create magic at night, but how is your home’s Christmas curb appeal during the day? If your home is on the market, festive decorations should be visible when potential buyers visit, and that means putting on a daytime holiday display. At Sweet Haute, discover how to make beautiful exterior wreaths for every window and door in your home. Wreaths are a wonderfully welcoming design element, and they fit any architectural era from traditional Victorian homes adorned with gingerbread details to ranch houses with sleek mid-century modern lines. This do-it-yourself guide takes you through the process of making your own decorative wreaths step by step. Don’t feel constrained to traditional red ribbon; creamy white or sparkling metallic ribbon can be lovely as well.

Glitter Paper Cone Tree

During the holidays, every room deserves a beautiful bauble or two to make it sparkle. If you’re having a party, guests will see more than just your den or living room, so adding holiday accents to forgotten corners is a wonderful way to get your whole house ready for the occasion. Handmade decorations lend charm to end tables and vanities anywhere in the home, and no decoration is simpler than a conical tree. Kim blogs about her stylized glitter tree creations at Seven Thirty Three. This simple craft can enliven a plain mantel, become a part of a holiday centerpiece or add sparkle to a real tree. The illustrated post describes how to create this easy craft as a project with kids, a decorative accent in the family home or an eye-catching accessory for home staging.

Drawer Organization

With a blog named From Overwhelmed to Organized, it’s no surprise that Hilda has some excellent tips for reducing clutter before the holidays. In this post, she offers suggestions for organizing one of the biggest sources of clutter in many homes: clothing. She restores order to her family’s clothes by using a system for deciding what goes and what stays. Purging items that are duplicates or are no longer the right size for growing kids is the first step, but the rest of her road map to cleaner closets also includes details on how to sort and organize to prevent clutter from creeping up in the future. If you plan to have guests for the holidays and need all the space you can find, it’s an excellent guide to discovering more room in crowded closets.

Color for Home Staging

Red poinsettias and evergreen boughs bring instant holiday cheer to a space, proving the transformative power of color. Debra Gould, the Staging Diva, completes her two-part series on choosing paint palettes by describing how to set dramatic moods with color. With quick-drying latex paints, you can give a room a new look in hours, but before you apply the first coat, consider how the hue you choose will affect the ambiance of the space. Debra describes how to use dynamic color combinations, enliven neutral schemes with contemplative hues and keep a romantic color scheme from becoming cloying.

Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar

Wendy Hyde at The Shabby Nest has created a holiday hot chocolate bar that’s perfect for entertaining guests or for cozy nights at home with the family. This chocolate bar isn’t the kind you unwrap; it’s a hot chocolate buffet that lets cocoa lovers choose from a delicious assortment of flavorings and toppings. Peppermint sticks, cinnamon and marshmallows in multiple flavors can go on the bar before guests arrive. When it’s time to serve, bring out the whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel and sprinkles to make every cup a festive treat. It’s a considerate and memorable way to welcome potential buyers for an open house too.

USB Cell Batteries

Having heaps of presents under the tree makes it look festive, but after the gifts are unwrapped and the stockings unpinned from the mantel, those new items have to go somewhere. At Jeri’s Organizing and Decluttering News, she has suggestions for gifts that won’t take up space after the holidays. Online gift subscriptions, services and fun classes are some of her thoughtful suggestions. Because many of them are also ideal last-minute presents, these gifts are perfect for anyone who has recently moved and hasn’t had time or energy to shop.

25 Gift Ideas

At Organizing Made Fun, Becky has more wonderful suggestions for clutter-free last-minute gifts. She recommends looking for gifts that focus on an experience rather than on items. Even the tangible gift ideas she suggests do more than sit on a shelf looking pretty. Monthly club memberships, for example, create anticipation with each delivery. With clubs of the month for almost every imaginable hobby and taste, it’s easy to find one and register online, saving you a trip to the mall during the busy season.

Lovely Christmas Decorations

Dana, better known to her fans as Nony, has come to terms with how far she’s willing to go for holiday fun. In her A Slob Comes Clean blog, she takes on the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon in her own whimsical way. Her version, a miniature Presley statuette she calls Elfis, doesn’t get moved every night for the month before Christmas like some elves, but that’s all right with her and her kids. Her tone is humorous, but she gets at the heart of a very real issue for Christmas. Holiday customs are supposed to be fun and stress-free, so it’s important to incorporate traditions in ways that don’t become a burden during an already busy time of the year.

Christmas House Ornament

Handmade Christmas ornaments hold tremendous sentimental value, and Beth at Unskinny Boppy has a fantastic suggestion for making ornaments that will be cherished for years to come. She uses a detailed photo, polymer clay and paint to create a replica of her home to hang on the tree. Her clear instructions and pictures make this project an easy one to try even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. It’s a wonderful present for young families spending their first Christmas in a new city, for house-proud friends or for globe-trotters who move frequently yet cherish mementos of home.

Whether you’ve already finished your shopping and decorating or still have plenty to do, take time to enjoy the holiday with those closest to you. These time-saving tips and decorating suggestions will free you to spend more time doing the things you love and less energy rushing to beat a deadline.

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The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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