13 Ways to Make the Holidays Easier

Avoid seasonal bummers with clever holiday helpers from HGTV Magazine .
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Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: J. Muckle/Studio D

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Less Stress, Less Mess

Needles. Everywhere. But there’s a solution! Prevent ornaments from breaking by choosing plastic instead of glass. All your Christmases can be bright—with a light repair kit.

Elegant-Looking Disposable Flatware

“Christmas and New Year’s are when I throw my biggest parties. I love to entertain but absolutely hate to do dishes. These one-and-done forks, spoons, and knives are sturdy, posh—and gold!”—David Bromstad, My Lottery Dream Home. Shiny Gold plastic flatware, $4.50 for a set of 25 forks, spoons, or knives, fine-essentials.com 

A Solution for Storing Wreaths

Keep your artificial wreaths in top form during the off-season with these puncture- and tear-resistant storage bags. The interior buckle strap holds a wreath snugly in place, a transparent vinyl window helps you ID the contents, and a D-ring lets you hang the bag in a closet or the garage. 48"-diameter wreath storage bag, $60, the-cover-store.com

Holiday Cards That Literally Mail Themselves

With this all-inclusive service, sending a card via snail mail is now fully automated. You start by emailing friends a link to the site so they can enter their home address—or just enter their addresses yourself. Then choose a card from 200-plus styles, and type in your personal greeting. Customize each card with a personal message—in a font that looks handwritten! Sip eggnog while the site handles everything else, from affixing the stamp to physically mailing the card. Holiday cards, from $2.50 each plus postage, postable.com 

A Rustproof Snow Shovel That’s Nearly Silent

Quietly clear your driveway and sidewalk with this commercial-grade, fiberglass-handle shovel. The sleek molded polyethylene blade glides across surfaces, making quick work of pushing even the heaviest piles of snow. Plus, it’s strong enough to chop up thick patches of ice. SnowPlow 30"-wide snow pusher, $50, jmenterprises.com

A Perpetual Popcorn Garland

Yes, it’s real popcorn, and it’ll hang around for years. The secret to the strand’s longevity: The kernels are coated with a special preservative (the company is mum about the exact formula) to keep them fresh-looking. String it up for old-timey charm, but keep it away from kids and pets—it’s for display only, not snacking. The Original Popcorn on a String 9'-wide garland, $15, popcorngarland.com 

Shatterproof Plastic Ornaments You’d Swear Are Glass

“If you have a toddler racing around like I do, breakable ornaments go to the top of the tree. But these don’t have to! They look delicate, but they’re kid-practical—they won’t shatter if they hit the floor.”—Meg Caswell, HGTV designer. Christmas ball ornaments in emerald, lime, and red, from $15 for a set of 12 ornaments in one color, santasquarters.com

A Neat Way to Dispose of a Tree

Dragging a dried-out Christmas tree to the curb doesn’t have to mean dropped needles all through the house. This supersize bag—it can accommodate a tree up to 7 feet tall—hides under the tree skirt, then can be lifted up over the dead branches and trunk post-holiday, making for a tidy disposal. Giant Christmas tree removal bag, $3.50, bronners.com

Battery-Operated Candles With No Dripping Wax or Flame

“I love the way the soft flickering glow mimics real candlelight and that these are solid paraffin wax. How fun is it that you can turn them on and off with a remote?”—Tiffany Brooks, HGTV Smart Home 2016. Remote control wax flameless pillar candles, from $19 each, and flameless candle remote control, $7, all restorationhardware.com 

A High-Tech Fix for Non-Twinkling Lights

Twinkling incandescent lights are a once-a-year joy—that is, until a single rogue bulb blinks out. To the rescue: this do-it-all troubleshooting and fix-it device, which can repair a strand that isn’t lighting up and test its tiny fuses and bulbs. LightKeeper Pro light set repair tool, $20, walmart.com

A Pre-Lit Fake Tree That Would Fool Even Mother Nature

At 7 1/2 feet tall, this faux fir with forest-worthy foliage could pass for the real deal. Assembly is no-fuss—the branches are hinged—and the 1,671 LED lights can alternate between clear and multicolored to coordinate with your palette. 7 1/2'-tall Classic Fraser Fir Christmas tree, $460, treeclassics.com

A Tape Dispenser You Wear on Your Wrist

“Hands down, this is a life changer! All the tape is precut to the same length. It speeds up the wrapping process like you wouldn’t believe. There is no way I’d wrap presents for all the kids and our extended family without it.”—Joanna Gaines, Fixer Upper. Scotch Pop-up Tape Handband Dispenser in blue with 1 tape pad, $2.50, officedepot.com

A Portable, Fits-in-Your-Suitcase Scale

“Going over an airline’s luggage weight limit is easy—and expensive because you’ll pay a penalty fee. Not if you have this digital scale. Clip it to your suitcase handle, then lift the whole thing, and the device displays the weight. Genius! And it’s especially helpful when I’m flying out of Canada, lugging a suitcase full of gifts from my parents. I’m not saying I’m the favorite, but Jonathan never has this problem.”—Drew Scott, Property Brothers. EatSmart Precision Voyager digital luggage scale, $30, amazon.com

Silver Polish If You Hate Polishing Silver

“These wipes are the next best thing to having a Downton Abbey scullery maid. Just rub the tarnish a little and—poof!—it vanishes. We use them every year to polish candlesticks that were passed down from my mom.”—Vern Yip, HGTV designer. Weiman silver wipes, $7.50 for 20 wipes, amazon.com