The holiday season can be a stressful time. Presents to buy, people to see, cookies to bake. And all while juggling work, family and our usual routines. That’s why we at Nevis decided to share our favourite Christmas and wintertime hacks with you! We’ve included our favourite tips and tricks for making this time of year a little bit cosier, a tad more sustainable and incredibly creative! Let us know if you have any Xmas hacks of your own.
Michael’s repurposed leftovers
It is inevitable. After every Easter season –or maybe even after last Christmas! – there is a leftover supply of chocolate bunnies, eggs and Santa Clauses. Thinking it would be a shame to toss them out, Michael decided to give them a new life. Simply melt your leftover chocolate in a water bath. You can then use it to add a delicious chocolate glaze to this year’s Christmas cookies!
Adi’s tidy twinkle lights
Once Christmas is over, it’s time to tackle the less jolly task of taking down all the decorations and packing them away for next year. Do yourself a favour and take Adi’s advice! Instead of unravelling the lights off your Christmas tree, stuffing them in a box and hoping for the best, grab a piece of sturdy cardboard and cut out a small indentation on the shorter sides and a hole along the top edge to use as a handle. Now, carefully wrap your lights around the cardboard. And next year, after you’ve spared yourself a stressful 30 minutes of untangling lights, sit back, take a sip of eggnog and thank Adi for his ingenuity! (discovered on kingofrandom.com)
Sonja’s scented fruit candle
The holiday season offers a potpourri of different enticing scents. Roasted chestnuts, pumpkin pie, cinnamon sticks and of course Christmas pine trees. Sonja especially enjoys basking in these winter aromas at home. And she does it all with some relatively basic kitchen ingredients. You’ll need an orange, some cloves and a toothpick to get started. Simply make a circular cut around the top of the orange on one end. The diameter should be big enough for a tealight to fit inside. It might even help to trace the circle using a tealight as a guide before slicing. Then, hollow out just enough space to insert the tealight. After that, use a toothpick to poke holes into the orange. Feel free to make a design of your choice here! Or you can simply make a series of concentric lines from top to bottom. Once you have perforated the orange, carefully press the cloves into all the holes. Now you’re ready for the final step. Place your tealight inside, light it and wait for the yummy Xmas smells of orange and cloves to fill your home.
Simon’s Christmas tree installation
If you’re living in a small space, or perhaps just want a slightly simpler or more sustainable alternative to a real evergreen tree in your living room, Simon’s got the perfect Christmas hack for you! Take a string – or two, or three – of lights and hang them on your wall in a zigzag formation. Starting from the very top of your “tree”, stretch the lights from right to left, going out a bit further in each direction until you’ve reached the bottom of your wall. Be sure to hang your lights with the appropriate adhesives. If you decide to use tacks or nails, be extra careful not to pierce the wire. Once your lights are completely strung up, add some ornaments or garland to give your installation an extra festive touch. And once the holiday season is over, don’t forget to refer back to Adi’s Xmas hack so you can quickly and easily pack away your Christmas tree installation for next year.
Branka’s last-minute gift fix
There’s nothing more thoughtful than a homemade gift. Especially if it also includes your favourite recipe. Branka’s last-minute gift hack is also particularly helpful for those friends and family members who’d prefer to skip all the kitchen work but still enjoy all the benefits. Start by choosing one of your best-loved recipes. Then, collect all the dry ingredients – like sugar, salt, flour, baking soda, nuts, chocolate chips – and carefully measure them out. Finally, carefully pour the ingredients into a glass jar or other see-through container. Feel free to make a design! Once the jar is sealed shut, tie your recipe around the rim. Maybe add some pine twigs or holly for a little extra Christmas spirit!
Alina’s white hot chocolate pops
There’s nothing better than a nice mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Except of course a sweet cup of homemade white hot chocolate as you sit on your sofa, admiring your Christmas tree light installation and relishing the fresh scent emanating from your orange and clove candle! Here’s how to turn this cosy Christmas image into your holiday reality.
What you’ll need to get started:
- Some small empty yoghurt cups or a silicone form
- Wooden sticks
- 600 grams of white couverture chocolate
- 50 ml of cream
- 1 tablespoon of Christmas spice mix (or make it yourself using cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, gingerbread seasoning and ground cloves).
- Melt the couverture in a hot water bath.
- Mix the cream and spice mix in a separate pot and let simmer.
- Finally, mix the cream and chocolate.
- Once it has a doughy consistency, spoon it into the yoghurt cups or silicon baking form.
- Before the mixture completely hardens, be sure to insert a wooden stick.
After a few hours, you can remove the pops from the cups. Just stir one into some warm milk and you’ll be ready to enjoy a steaming mug of white hot chocolate. (thegoldenkitz.de) These also make great holiday gifts.
Sebastian’s cookie crisp container
Baking cookies during the holiday season is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit! And sharing them is the perfect way to spread joy. That’s why Sebastian recommends this clever and environmentally-friendly trick for repurposing your Pringles crisp packaging. Take your empty Pringles containers, clean them out thoroughly and then wrap them in some festive paper. Add some ribbons, holly berries or mistletoe to make your container a bit more special. Voilà! You’ve now got festive and unique packaging that will ensure your cookies stay intact and delicious! (frugalcouponliving.com)
Adrian’s tricks for toasty toes
In many parts of the world, the holiday season also means freezing temperatures and snow. That means cold, wet feet and salted, slippery streets. But there’s no need to get a professional shoe shine to get rid of salt streaks or head to the shoemaker to waterproof your shoes. Here’s how Adrian makes sure his shoes are winter-ready!
- Lemon and lukewarm water cleaning solution: Take a half a lemon and rub it along the edge of your shoes, making sure to cover any salt residue or spotting from snow. After letting it seep in for two to three minutes, rinse your shoes with lukewarm water. Finally, stuff them with newspaper and set them aside to dry. Avoid fireplaces and heaters and simply leave your shoes in a warm room.
- Waterproofing with wax: Remove any dirt and dust from your shoes. Then, rub a light-coloured candle across them. Be sure not to miss any spots. Finally, use a standard hair dryer on the highest setting to “dry” your shoes. Once you can no longer see any candle residue, your shoes are waterproof.
- Sandpaper safety: Remove any dirt and dust from the soles of your shoes. Then, rub fine-grain sandpaper along the rubber or leather sole. This will give your soles extra grip.
Team tip for a peaceful holiday season
Make your home a tech-free zone. You have plenty of time before and after the holidays to answer emails. And even better than enjoying someone else’s festivities on social media is fully immersing yourself in your own. Use this time to be fully present with your friends and loved ones. Instead of posting about your presents, give an extra-long thank-you hug. Instead of taking a video of that yule fire, let it warm your hands and hearts.
We look forward to hearing about your favourite Holiday Season hacks! And let us know if we’ve inspired you with our tips and tricks for making this time of the year a bit merrier and more joyful.