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22 Smart Holiday Tricks That Are Actually Practical

Whoa, smart.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. Stash your mini ornaments away in egg cartons.

2. Turn that extra pair of red-and-green fuzzy socks into cheery, reusable coffee cozies for your preshopping Starbucks runs.

Just cut off the foot portion, then cut the ankle portion so it's the length of a coffee cup. You can also stitch a little hem, but that's optional. From Diana Rambles.

3. To find a parking spot in the mall's crowded lot in just six minutes, find an aisle close to the mall's entrance with at least 20 total spots (even if they're all filled) and wait.


Apparently, according to Inside Edition, people spend 120 minutes in the mall on average, and if you ~do the math~, 120 minutes divided by 20 spaces equals six minutes.

4. Up your wrapping game by actually learning how to do this six-step Japanese gift wrap technique.

You can watch the original video here, but get a clear step-by-step breakdown (including how to cut your paper to size) in this video.

5. Or stick to bags and fluffy tissue paper, because it's easy and looks just as festive as a beautifully wrapped box.

Simply pinch in the center of a piece of tissue paper, pull it up, bunch a few inches of the middle in your hand, and gently set that bunched end in the bag. From Instructables.

6. Store your wrapping paper in a plastic garment bag with a hanger, so you can easily slip it inside any closet.

Then when it's time to get to wrapping, you can see all of your options! From The Chic Site.

7. Or corral all your wrapping rolls in a corner of your closet by hanging two basic tension rods.

TBH you might be able to get away with a single rod, in the middle. From Making Cooley Stuff.

8. And prevent your wrapping paper from rolling across the table when you're not using it by cutting open empty toilet paper rolls.

Joy Astle /

Maybe your home's floor is sloped, or maybe the wrapping paper's just determined. This solves your problem, either way! From Apartment Therapy.

9. Store your gift bags inside a big shopping bag so they don't get beat up, and you can quickly look through your selection.

You can even take this a step further if you're collection's big enough: have three bigger but appropriately sized bags, one for largish gift bags, one for medium gift bags, and one for small gift bags. From The DIY Playbook.

10. Stack your ribbons on a paper towel holder — you'll be able to see all your options, and unspool each ribbon when you want to use it.

11. Repurpose holiday-themed paper shopping bags into spirited gift wrap that costs basically nothing.

12. Cut shapes out of paint chips to make nice, free(!) tags for all your gifts.

13. Save a Costco apple container for storing your round ornaments later.

14. In the weeks leading up to your big holiday meal, start collecting all the ingredients you need in one place.

It'll keep anyone from eating any of your key ingredients ahead of time, and will be easy to bring out all at once to cook. From Organized 31.

15. On your big shopping trip, clip a carabiner to your reusable shopping bags, so they're easy to keep together in your car and don't take up valuable space in your grocery cart.

16. Wrap a large cardboard box to use as a trash can on Christmas morning to avoid a black trash bag (or just lots of trash) in all your photos.

17. Wrap Pringles cans to use as practically free gift boxes for your cookie exchange party.

Or just to give cookies as gifts! From A Baker's House.

18. Or paint old foil or wax paper boxes and tie them off with twine.

19. Fill squeeze bottles with icing to make cookie decorating with kids a little less messy and a little more fun.

Kids and piping bags never mix, but they can still draw designs this way. From Bake at 350.

20. Use foil and two slow-cooker liners to make and serve two dips in a single slow cooker — without doing any dishes.

From Reynolds. Get eight liners for $8.70 on Amazon.

21. Enlist a bench scraper anytime you have to cook a big meal, so you can effortlessly grab a bunch of stuff from a cutting board all at once.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Helpful for both getting lots of veggies in a pot all at once and tossing a bunch of scraps in one go. Get more genius chef cooking tricks here.

22. Keep a garbage bowl handy so you don't make a dozen trips from your cutting board to the trash can.

When *that's* full, then you can take one trip over to dump everything out. From The Kitchn.