10 Quick Solutions for Last-Minute Holiday Problems

People who’ve mastered the craft of leisurely enjoying the holidays don’t read any further. This is really for the rest of us : those people who have nothing under the tree (when there’s a tree at all), that don’t have anything to wrap those future gifts with, who don’t have any food in the cabinets and no menu to help guide them. Those people in the “flying by the seat of our pants” camp, that get a sick pleasure out of pulling it all off from the face of poor planning!

I’m not out to present a treatise about the best way to manage time, organize and become a better human being. We are like old dogs, but it doesn’t mean we can’t utilize a few slick tricks to get us with grace.

Le Papier Studio

Holiday Cheer Fabric – $8.50

Problem: You’re terrible at wrap presents.
Solution: Yards of affordable holiday cloth.

Fabric makes such an simple, reusable and appealing material to wrap your gifts in, I’m wondering why I did not think of it earlier — not that thinking about things ancient is my forte.


Kitchen Papers Perfect Setting Paper Placemat Pad – $24

Problem: You don’t have any idea how to set the table.
Solution: Playful (and educational) placemats.

Do not hide behind entertaining incompetence; showcase it! Clever placemats like these can be found at dozens of retailers today, which proves that I’m not alone in not understanding what happens and why.


Mason Jar Snow Globe – $30

Problem: You always seem to forget a gift for your host.
Solution: Easy DIY mason jar snowglobes.

Just because we are part of this last-minute crew doesn’t mean we can forget our host. Easy and creative DIY gifts like these mason jar snow globes do double duty as whimsical centerpieces and enchanting keepsakes.

Restoration Hardware

Luxe Faux Fur Stocking – $29

Problem: You do not know where to start with decor.
Solution: Play with neutrals.

When in doubt, select one color to accent and energize your house for a party. This time, the palest colors and subtle metallics work so effortlessly with a neutral inside that your guests will think you have been in it for months.

Contemporary Candleholders – $4.95

Problem: What exactly does “mood lighting” even mean?
Solution: Lots and a Great Deal of tea lights.

Turn the lights down and fire up as many tea lights in tasteful holders as you can round up for immediate elegance. Candles are the simplest way to transport a space from living to entertaining.


Cinnamon and Quince Stick Wreath – $79.95

Problem: Your party has forgotten one of the five senses.
Solution: Fill your house with holiday scents.

The dining table is set, gifts are wrapped, so the food is prepared, candles are lit … do not forget to decorate with aroma too. Cinnamon simmering on the stove or in a toaster generates immediate coziness.

Jennifer Grey Interiors Design & Color Specialist

Problem: You do not want everyone crowding to the kitchen for drinks.
Solution: A makeshift bar.

Here’s one area I do not have a lot of trouble being ready for: the pub. Find a coating — you can repurpose a toilet cart, a classic hutch or even a dresser. (Moving a piece of furniture comes with the bonus of creating your house feel refreshed and ready for entertaining.) Add an enjoyable chalkboard with beverage recipes, like the one displayed, to finish your custom made speakeasy.

Beach Vintage

Problem: You’re hosting a large, last-minute dinner and you do not have sufficient dishes.
Solution: Thrift store dishes.

Let’s play worst-case scenario: You’re suddenly responsible for feeding a dozen people, and you have only eight place settings. Do not go the paper or plastic route — head to your beloved secondhand store instead and gather an eclectic mix of dishes to give your tablescape a beautifully manicured aesthetic.

The Marion House Novel

Problem: Your dining area feels less than comfy.
Solution: Sheepskins.

Your dining seats will acquire immediate holiday cheer if you throw some sheepskins on ’em. Sheepskins evoke a wintery wonderland, even when you’re from the tropics. Pick up a couple of affordable ones from Ikea — you will use them after the holidays are over.

Vuong Interior Design

Problem: Your solo loveseat just won’t cut it for your holiday shindig.
Solution: Temporary chairs.

Locating a spot where everyone can sit is always a challenge. Repurpose tree stumps (include a sheepskin for comfort) or heap a stack of books and tie them with ribbon (greatest for your children).

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