The festive season is upon us. It’s a time for wonder, magic and….stress?
In an ideal world, Christmas would be a carefree time of warming by the fire, gift-giving and scoffing a family size box of chocolates. In reality, it can feel more like a military campaign requiring intricate planning and masterful damage control. Particularly when you’re hosting family and guests with everyone relying on you to create the perfect party atmosphere.
But orchestrating a successful Christmas doesn’t have to leave you quaking in your Santa hat. Express Doors have rounded up some Christmas holiday hacks and tips that will help you minimise stress, save time and perhaps even save you some pennies.
There’s something special about a tree decked out in its finest fairy lights and glittering baubles.
That said, the annual cycle of decorating, taking down and cramming it all back into boxes that have clearly shrunk since 1st December, is a slightly less appealing thought.
To help bring the magic back to your freshly decked halls, here are a few tips to help the process feel a little less neverending.
1. Pick pine needles off the carpet with tape
Starting with a simple, but classic, tree-based hack. Heady as the scent of a real pine tree is, the needles they shed all over your floor can be infuriating. If you find your carpet is getting covered, use a strip of duct tape to pick up all those needles in double-quick time.
2. Tame your vacuum with a pair of tights
If you need to get dust off of tinsel or an artificial tree with a delicate hand, try stretching a pair of tights over the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner. You still get all the suction, but with a less ferocious touch.
3. Or try a bit of dusting with a brush
If you need to dust delicate decorations and fragile ornaments, grab a small, soft paintbrush to dab them with. You’ll be able to get into every little cranny without causing any damage.
4. Hack that sap
Back to our nemesis the beautiful but tricksy real Christmas tree. Another aspect of tree-related damage guaranteed to dull the shine of this beloved decoration, is sticky tree sap dripping everywhere. If any sap gets on the carpet, harden it with sanitiser, hairspray or ice before you try to scrape it off. It will come up much easier, without bringing too many carpet fibres with it.
5. Sort Christmas light storage
Lovely as those fairy lights look, no one loves the inevitable wrestle as you try to untangle an endless knot of wires wound around themselves. Preempt this nightmare and save yourself the stress by wrapping them around a strip of cardboard when you take them off the tree. Future-you will toast your ingenuity.
6. Keep delicate decorations safe
Packing away fragile baubles and intricate decorations can be a worry. Pop glass baubles into plastic cups, or reuse the mountains or discarded wrapping paper. You won’t just be storing them safely to prolong their life, you’ll be recycling waste materials too.
7. String up your cards
Seeing your Christmas cards pile up might inspire a warm glow of being appreciated, but there is only so much surface space you can spare at this peak decoration time.
Save your surfaces by hanging your cards up instead. Clip them to string or bright festive ribbon and hang them up. We always drape ours over internal doors, a feature often neglected in festive decorating but always looks lovely with some extra dressing.
Presents and Wrapping Hacks:
Gift-giving can be very rewarding, but all that wrapping and unwrapping can create a mountain of mess. Here are some suggestions to shrink your stress to more hill-like proportions:
8. Turn tidying into a game
Draw kids away from all their new toys for ten minutes by making the post-present clean-up into a game. Give them some rules, a goal or an incentive and let them go.
Many hands will make light work, the job will be done in half the time and the novelty of their new presents will last just that little bit longer due to the distraction.
9. Quick clearing up
If you can’t bear to tear them away, here’s another hack to save you spending the rest of the day hunting down scraps of wrapping paper.
Lay a sheet down before you start and it can catch all the paper, glitter and other bits of rubbish as the family tear into their stockings. When all the mess is made, you can just pick the sheet up and remove it all in one go.
10. Keep your paper tidy
If your wrapping paper is unravelling everywhere, you can slide an empty loo roll middle over the top of the tube to hold it in place.
It reuses the roll and keeps things tidy. It will even help stop your paper from getting damaged so it is still pristine next year.
11. …And tidy your ribbon
If your curling ribbon is unspooling all over the place, then grab a paperclip. Loop the ribbon back up and secure it in the middle with the clip to keep it neat.
12. Be prepared
Take the stress out of your Christmas card list by keeping an emergency stash. Have an extra pile of cards that are already signed so you can quickly add a name for anyone you forgot. And if you’ve remembered everyone this Christmas, take a bow (and keep them for next year instead!)
Christmas Dinner Hacks:
Christmas dinner could be considered the centrepiece of a fabulous festive season. This can pile the pressure on when it’s your turn to get in the kitchen and cook something delicious.
To stop your kitchen from turning into a complete war zone, try these festive food hacks.
Before the big day, take some time to defrost and clean the freezer. It will free up all the space possible so you can store all your leftovers, and remove any worries about food waste.
14. Shine that silverware.
Bring the sparkle back to your silverware by giving it a bath in baking soda and salt.
15. Get the grime off your roasting tins
Clean up your tins, trays and roasting dishes with a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
Quick Cleaning Hacks to Prepare for Guests:
Christmas is all about friends and family, so chances are one or the other will visit during the festive period. With all the effort you’ve put into decorating, you’ll want your home to look its best but that’s not always the case during this packed couple of weeks.
If you’ve got guests and you’re short on time, here are a couple of ideas to help get your home looking lovely when time is of the essence.
16. Get your upholstery clean, double-quick
If you don’t have time to wrestle with the hoover, run a lint roller over your sofa, curtains and other upholstery.
It will grab all the dust and even stray hairs, saving you from the moment you spot one of your beloved pet’s hairs clinging to your guest’s new cashmere.
17. Swift spot cleaning
Keep a pack of multi-purpose wipes to hand for rapid spot cleaning. Small spills don’t need a whole cupboard of cleaning supplies, dab them with a wipe instead.
18. Fabulous fragrance
Line up a couple of candles with a festive fragrance and light them periodically. They will add new depth to your seasonal decorations and help mask any stale cooking smells.
19. Hassle-free toilet cleaning.
If you need to make your toilet sparkle, pour a can of coke into the bowl and leave it to rest for about an hour. When you finally flush, it will be spotless.
Hacks for After the Big Day:
It’s easy to feel a bit deflated when all the festive fun and frivolities are over. The last thing you want to do is tackle chores to tidy the house. But the quicker you get them done, the quicker you can kick back in your comfy slippers, so here are some suggestions to help the clean-up go quicker.
20. DIY Christmas snow remover
It’s all too easy to go overboard with the fake snow, and it’s not so easy to get it off. Take some of the hassle out of removing it by using a ceramic scraper or soak it in a solution of two parts water and one part vinegar to soften it up.
21. Avoid glitter picking…
Grab your trusty lint roller or duct tape to pick up any stray glitter scattered about the house. It WILL get everywhere.
22. Wax away
If your scented candles have split their wax, lay a paper towel across the drips and heat with a hairdryer. The wax will melt, absorbing into the paper towel and lifting away from the fabrics or surfaces.
23. Back to the tree…
Use a turkey baster to suck out any water in your Christmas tree base so it doesn’t spill across your carpet when you drag the tree out.
24. Wonder tape…
Another use for wonderful sticky or duct tape. Wrap it around a butter knife and gently ease into any tight crevices to catch all the crumbs or dust lurking there.
25. Freshen your air
Soak up any unpleasant odours by leaving out a bowl of hot water mixed with white vinegar overnight. It will absorb any stay smells and leave your home fabulously fresh in the morning.
Hopefully, these handy Christmas tips can help you cheat your way to a stress-free holiday season, leaving you with a little more time to enjoy yourself. Go on, have that extra glass of wine! 😉