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Talk to More Th>n about reusing everyday items to make Christmas a little easier - £240 voucher to be won! NOW CLOSED

(104 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Dec-13 16:22:39

More Th>n want to talk to Mumsnetters about Christmas and the their top tips on using everyday items in an imaginative way for making it a little easier.

Here's what More Th>n have to say, "Life can be full of little frustrations. At MORE TH>N we want to help, and that's why we love collecting and sharing all sorts of tips and tricks that make life that little bit easier. We like to think of them as 'helping hands', those clever ideas you never knew you needed to know. We're always on the look-out for more great hints to share, so if you've got a top tip, let us know and Merry Christmas!"

For inspiration, watch the video clip below and then share your own tips on this thread.

So, what do you think of the tips given in the video? Have you used any of these ideas this year in the run up to Christmas? Have you got any more to add? Perhaps you keep your presents in a locked suitcase to make sure prying eyes don't spoil any surprises? Or maybe you keep small Christmas ornaments in old biscuit tins to keep them safe and together in one place? Whatever it is we'd love to hear about it.

Everyone who adds their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £240 Amazon voucher.

Thanks and good luck,


Maiyakat Tue 17-Dec-13 13:08:41

DD (18 months) decided to make her own stocking by taking her sock off and hanging it on the tree!

I reuse gift bags and cut pictures from odds and ends of wrapping paper for gift tags.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Tue 17-Dec-13 13:15:52

I am the loon that picks up pinecones from the road to make table ornaments and wreaths

also good tip - wrap sticks of cinnamon round a candle, smells lovely

Patilla Tue 17-Dec-13 13:35:42

I do the toilet roll/wrapping paper thing already but love the egg boxes. Been reusing the cardboard boxes they came in but they are all random sizes.

I know it's a bit old hat but I love reusing Christmas cards or tags or decorations on presents. It always seems such a shame to bin them each year.

I hide Christmas sweet treats in old (boring) cereal boxes that won't be touched by anyone -including me - memory like a sieve but fantastic breakfast if I do forget!--

Arianasmummy Tue 17-Dec-13 13:58:20

I remove all the plastic ties from childrens toy packaging when i wrap the presents.

Arianasmummy Tue 17-Dec-13 14:24:19

The Amazon packaging that they use to send DVDs and CDs is perfect for safely sending photos in the post.

iwantavuvezela Tue 17-Dec-13 14:32:42

This year I bought one of those old fashioned cello tape holders. It has made my life so much easier! Instead of getting irritated as I repeatedly can't find the beginning of the roll, in now neatly tear pieces off, always knowing where it starts! I love it and wish I had done it years ago!

I bought some of those tiny pegs to hang up cards so they don't lie around various tables, but are pegged on a piece of string.

Bought a plain wreath, which we redecorate every year.

Kipsy Wed 18-Dec-13 09:51:08

On the video: The egg carton as storage might be useful for delicate or expensive baubles that fit. For the rest it seems a bit like overkill as egg cartons take up a lot of space. I am yet to discover a loo roll that fits snugly over my wrapping paper rolls - I seem to have a lot of "thin" rolls. I just use 2 rubber bands on either end of the roll, that does the trick.

My tips:
- Make tree decorations out of their favourite small toys - add an earring finding and put them on the tree
- If you have a real fir tree, use that as your Christmas tree! That's what we have done this year, saves the space inside. Now if only I can figure out a way to keep the gifts dry and warm on Christmas morning, we'll be set!
- If you like your tree indoors, and don't have the space, make a 2D one on the wall using tinsel and blutack.
- Use last year's christmas cards from school to make a collage advent calendar. Write your own wishes/jokes etc on the inside. Works for older children who won't cry at being deprived of their chocolate fix.
- Keep the boxes from amazon to package difficult-shaped presents. Fold flat to save space.

CMOTDibbler Wed 18-Dec-13 10:33:37

If I've got a few small things to give to someone, I make it look nicer by pushing the flaps in to a small box so it looks like a tray, cover in paper and put the things in wrapped or unwrapped and then wrap the whole thing. Easy to do and seems more special.

The small christmas cards that the children at school exchange make great gift tags, especially if you use a star shaped cookie cutter to centre on the picture

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 18-Dec-13 10:45:39

Cut small appropriate bits of last years Christmas cards to use as labels.

mercibucket Wed 18-Dec-13 15:05:55

re use last year's unwanted gifts as presents grin

Bubbles85 Wed 18-Dec-13 15:35:16

I always reuse Christmas cards for next year's tags.

I also keep any bits of string and brown paper I get through the year to use wrapping up presents in a traditional way. They look great!

asuwere Wed 18-Dec-13 16:22:37

tip I got from MN - use tinfoil to wrap awkward things, no need for tape, just scrunch around and done! smile
same as others - old cards are great for tags or DC cutting out and making collages.
the little ribbons from tops are good for tying decorations DC have made to the tree.

teenagetantrums Wed 18-Dec-13 23:35:53

We use foil to wrap present, no tape and it looks shiny(teenage DD saw it on gavin and Stacey.) No tree in this house but we use the same lights every year and stick them on our giant rubber plant. i never send cards saves loads of money, i do a virtual one, if people want to send them to me fine, but they know they wont get one back fro me(we one exception my great aunt who loves cards and does not use email).

IThinkThat Thu 19-Dec-13 01:40:19

My tips,

Keep a year round ongoing list of potential presents.

Wrap presents early but keep another list of what you have brought

Use a proper tape dispenser

I also book the latest supermarket delivery slots. I choose early morning on the 23rd. I put reminders in my diary to do it a few weeks beforehand

I colour code the wrapping paper.

I save the waste and go through it carefully for things that have been accidentally thrown away.

MrsRedWhite214 Thu 19-Dec-13 10:18:41

We reuse gift bags over and over in our family. I find that tags always fall off presents so have started using plain white labels. Nobody is that fussed about what the label looks like as long as the rest is wrapped nicely and they like the present inside.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 19-Dec-13 10:24:25

I save previous years Xmas cards and cut out pictures for gift tags.

If I get anything tied with ribbon in the year such as pyjama sets I save the ribbon for presents.

Lastly but most importantly I save the sloe gin that I made last year to drink this year. Always make it a year in advance as its much better. That helps me through Xmas.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 19-Dec-13 10:48:46

Buy things as and when you see them in sales. I bought all my wrapping paper in January, and loads of stuff in the sales then too.

RemoteControlGeekToyOfTheYear Thu 19-Dec-13 11:17:35

If you're out of gift tags, cut a smallish rectangle of wrapping paper, fold in half to make a mini card and write on the inside then sellotape to the gift.

Store all the jiffy bags you get through the year for reuse at Christmas (or birthdays etc)

Put a box in the bottom of your wardrobe (or wherever only you tend to go) and buy presents throughout the year, as and when you see them cheaply. Store them in the box ready for when needed.

Christmas cards and wrapping paper are so much cheaper in January - buy and store for the year ahead.

Foil wrapping paper can be reused several times without showing wear and tear, particularly if it starts off being used for a large present then subsequently smaller ones.

If you put sellotape in the wrong place on a gift, or it goes on in a way you don't like, you can often get it off without damaging the paper by peeling it back flat on itself rather than trying to lift it off.

Knit or crochet reusable crackers and put your own gifts inside each year.

butterflymum Thu 19-Dec-13 15:56:52

If you're going to use 'spray on snow' with stencils to decorate mirrors/windows etc, keep a large, old curtain to use as a furniture protector for when the 'snow' hits the mirror and bounces back over everything nearby. Saves ruining things, especially if you aren't quite an expert with the spray and need lots of practice to get the stencil effect just right.


sharond101 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:33:57

I have bought a few vouchers from sites like groupon and 5pm this year but rather than just put them in with the recipients Christmas card I have used old boxes of different sizes and put the voucher inside the smallest box, wrap that up then put that in another box and wrap up then another box. I keep my Xmas cards each year and use them to make my own cards the following year and also tags too.

Theimpossiblegirl Thu 19-Dec-13 21:53:01

I reuse gift bags and nice wrapping paper. The children have lots of fun reusing cards and ribbon to make gift tags every year too.

I also save any silica gel packs through the year and put them in with the tree/decorations to stop them going damp in the loft. No idea if it makes a difference though.

mjmooseface Fri 20-Dec-13 11:30:51

I liked the helpful 'use loo rolls to keep wrapping paper from unwinding' hint! I use hair bands to keep my pesky wrapping paper in check! Also use bright post-it notes to label presents instead of wasting money on gift tags!

AnnaConda I love your idea of sticking all the presents in one box! I might try that next year.

Like AnnBryce I reserve my food shopping slot online weeks in advance and come back to amend it closer to the time. Also re-use cling film and foil to cover plates and dishes for the week-long buffet. Re-use plastic tubs for the food, too. I bulk buy food and drink in the deals and offers to save money.

Throughout the year, if I can re-use wrapping paper, I will!!! And I made use of the giant wall in our living room near the christmas tree to blu tak christmas cards and paper snowflakes etc to add a little christmassy touch! That is what got me in the mood for Christmas as I'd not been feeling it up to that point!

SpicedTeaAndXmasCakeOrDeath Fri 20-Dec-13 11:48:23

I buy candy canes from the poundshop and glue them together to make placecard holders at xmas dinner like this

Gladvent Fri 20-Dec-13 12:26:20

Sign up to Film4 watchlist, put all the films on that you like, and you get a reminder about them when they are shown. So you can have a great rainy day film collection without spending £3-£10 on each film and having to store a ton of DVDs. Totally free as long as you have a recorder.

I keep all the Christmas tree spare hooks & bulbs in a gift box under the tree, so it is disguised as a present but easier to find than if it was shoved in garage/a drawer/the box the tree was in that's now back up in the loft.

And not Christmassy but if you get into the habit of leaving TV remote controls upside down they don't get dusty and are less likely to break. Apparently. Though I don't think I have ever had a TV remote that broke...

sweetsomethings Fri 20-Dec-13 13:19:18

i like to keep old christmas cards to cut up to make gift tags for next year

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