We’d like to believe that Christmas is a time for lounging by roaring fires, laughing with friends and family, and caroling in the glistening snow. But life isn’t a Hallmark movie, so odds are that’s probably not how your holiday ends up. More than likely, you’re struggling to untangle lights, throw together last-minute presents, and keep the kids entertained, on top of a million other things. This year, take control of your hectic holiday with these hacks! These 17 tips will help you keep everything together during the entire crazy season…you’ll be wondering what you ever did without them.

  1. Keep Lights Untangled

    Light OrganizationSharon's Scrapbook

    How heartbreaking is it to dig up your holiday decorations every winter…just to find them in the same tangled heap you left them in this time last year? As a favor to your future self, wrap your festive lights around a coat hanger like so at the end of this holiday season to keep them mess-free.

  2. Make Elf Donuts

    Elf DonutsThe Unconfidential Cook

    Want to keep the Christmas spirit alive for the kids? Then don’t exclude the elves out of your holiday cheer! Make some elf-sized donuts, using Cherrios and various sweet toppings.

  3. Candy Cane Card Holders

    Candy Card HoldersIndustrious Justice

    Hosting the holiday dinner can be stressful. Keep everything organized AND festive by making these simple candy cane card holders! Simply glue together two candy canes (we know you’re swimming in them right about now) and you have a piece of table decor fit for the North Pole.

  4. Frosting Cookies Made Easy

    Icing BottlesBake at 350

    Love frosting cookies with the kids but hate that messy cleanup after the fact? Use empty ketchup bottles (buy them for cheap at the Dollar Store or thoroughly clean out empty ones you have at home) and fill them with icing! This will make for easy and precise cookie frosting.

  5. Hang Your Wreath

    Hanging WreathsTimmons Family Lemonade

    So you want to hang your festive wreath…but you would also like to close your door. Stop the blockage by hanging your wreath using THIS simple yet brilliant technique.

  6. Simple Table Decor

    Christmas Table DecorOaxaca Born

    This simple table decor is free and looks effortlessly chic; simple put a stray branch from your Christmas tree in a clear vase for an extra little touch of holiday cheer on your table.

  7. Pumpkin Snowmen

    Pumpkin SnowmenNOLA Girl at Heart

    If you live in an area without snow, there’s really no such thing as snowmen. Which is sad, really. If you want this classic wintertime yard decor, but you don’t have the actual materials to make them (a.k.a. snow), get creative! Try making a few snowmen out of stacked, white pumpkins – they’re much less likely to melt, we’ll say that much.

  8. Finger Puppet Kit

    Finger Puppet KitAlanna George

    Rowdy kids + the promise of presents + an excess on sugar = a massive headache for you. Calm kids down with a fun puppet show, made by the kids themselves! This DIY finger puppet kit is going to be your actual hero this holiday season.

  9. Hot Glued Lights

    Holiday HacksWhatsUpMoms

    If you want a #flawless mantle, ditch the Command hooks. Use small dollops of hot glue to hang your sparkly lights for an “invisible” hold.

  10. Nail the Perfect Bow

    wrapping bow finishedWhatsUpMoms

    My wrapping skills are definitely not up to par. If you feel my pain, you have to try this easy tutorial to get the PERFECT wrapping bow. Your friends will think you became an expert wrapper overnight, we guarantee it.

  11. Clean Up Your Wrap

    Double Sided TapeOffice Depot

    Another tip to make your wrapping job look professional? Use double sided tape! Nothing will show, making all your lines appear crisp and effortless.

  12. Whipped Cream Heart

    Frozen whipped cream shapes.The Sweetest Occasion

    Take your hot chocolate to the next level with some whipped cream shapes! Obviously, trying to make cold whipped cream shapes in warm hot chocolate is practically impossible, but with this hack you can freeze these shapes ahead of time to help them stay in your toasty drink. (At least long enough for you to take a picture, that is.)

  13.  Perfectly Packed Cookies

    How to package cookies.Aunt Peaches

    Giving cookies as gifts this holiday season? This is the perfect way to wrap your homemade treats! Empty out an aluminum foil box, paint it, line it with parchment paper, and then stack your cookies inside.

  14. Fill Out Your Christmas Tree

    Green Christmas tinsel to fill out a tree.BuzzFeed

    If your Christmas tree doesn’t quite have the “oophm” you wish it did, there’s an easy fix. Get some green Christmas tinsel and wrap it around your tree to fill in the hollow spots.

  15.  DIY Ornament Wreath

    Wreath made out of hanger and ornaments.DaveHax

    Need some holiday decor in a snap? All  you need to make a festive wreath is a wire hanger and some basic ornaments. Untwist the hanger and loop on the ornaments one by one. When you’re done, you’ll have a gorgeous wreath that you made for next to nothing.

  16. Holiday Travel Clutch

    Clutch with travel essentials inside.HouseholdHacker

    Not hosting for the holidays might bring you some relief, but you know what that means…you’re traveling for the holidays instead. Pretty much just as stressful. To keep everything organized and your travel essentials together, pack a “Must-Have Clutch,” which is filled with all the things you need for your various travels.

  17. Keep Ornaments Organized

    Neat ornament storage.Mom's Party Cafe

    Almost as infamous as tangled lights are the messy buckets of ornaments. It’s not Christmas if I don’t have a bucket of partially broken ornaments from shoddy packing last year. This year, when I’m taking down my tree, I’m going to put my ornaments in red Solo cups to keep them all separated, safe, and organized.

Do you have any holiday hacks that keep you sane during this time of the year? Share them in the comments section below.