What to Do If You’re Out of Wrapping Paper and Other Helpful Last-Minute Holiday Tips

The holidays are coming up, and we can all use several ways to simplify the madness. A few tricks you’ve probably never thought of before – from gift wrapping and jewelry storage to lighting the roaring fire and fizzing New Year’s drinks – made from readily available household items? I’m glad you asked.

Remove price tags with vinegar

Honestly, is there anything that vinegar can’t do? If you don’t have Goo Gone, try a loofah soaked in vinegar to loosen sticky labels and remove sticky residues. Or, dampen a damp paper towel with nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or use a hair dryer to melt the glue , but it will take a long time and is hot. A pencil eraser will help get rid of the last sticky streaks.

Use tissue for gift wrapping

If you run out of wrapping paper or want to cut back on the roughly 4.6 million pounds of waste it generates each year, try the traditional Japanese art of furoska or cloth wrapping. Gather large squares of cotton, silk, or synthetic fabric (such as scarves, napkins, or tablecloths) throughout your home and start folding for unique and beautiful packaging with minimal waste. Many online guides can guide you on the best way to receive gifts of various shapes.

Store jewelry like a DIY craftsman

Have you ever considered storing small Christmas decorations in cardboard egg boxes? What about the drink holders that Starbucks and the fast food drive-thrus offer if you have more than two drinks to take with you? Or a piece of resistance – wait – plastic apple containers ? Why am I throwing it all away? They are all better solutions than my current “trick” of putting them in a large shirt box and hoping for the best.

Next, we need to talk about the usefulness of wine crate dividers. I’ve already followed my own advice to use them to neatly separate the socks and shin guards on my daughter’s football shelf – fantastic. They can also be used inside plastic storage boxes to form graceful compartments for jewelry. Or place one at the bottom of a tall plastic waste bin and your gift roll will never be twisted again.

Start a funky fire with cotton balls

Not just cotton balls (these will ignite but turn to ash in less than a minute). The hacker here is to unwrap cotton balls and lather them with petroleum jelly, which is non-flammable. While the cotton pad is burning, the petroleum jelly melts, slowly turning into a gas that keeps the flame alive. (The oil acts as a firelighter and as a flame retardant, preventing the cotton ball from burning too quickly.)

Side note: Another great DIY firelighter? Orange peels! According to Apartment Therapy , “the oil in your skin fuels the fire, and in the process they release less creosote than traditional paper,” so your chimney will be cleaner and your home smells like kissed Shangri La citrus.

Use raisins to spice up flat champagne

If you started parties early and your favorite sparkling wine (champagne, prosecco, cava) has lost its effervescence by then, toss one raisins in the bottle before bottling to restore its shine. The longer the bubble bottle is opened, the more carbon dioxide (which gives it its signature effervescent look) it will lose. According to The Kitchn , the remaining carbon dioxide clings to the protrusions of the raisins before being released back into the bottle in the form of bubbles. And we’ll need all the holiday spark we can collect to properly set 2021 aside.

Turn the ceiling fan to keep warm

Help the warm air sitting against your ceilings brighten the rest of the room with its presence. If you have a lot of people in your home, you may not need additional heating. But between meetings, save a few dollars on heating bills by rotating the fan clockwise at minimum speed. This, Home Depot says , “pulls cold air up to the ceiling, which in turn displaces warm air that rises and collects under the ceiling.”

Apply cooking spray to a snow shovel

Hopefully the weather gods save you the hassle of shoveling during the holidays. But if necessary, apply a generous dose of cooking spray to the shovel so that the snow slides off immediately. Depending on the amount of snow accumulated, a blower or broom is even better .

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