Now that the holidays are here, we're all pulling out the special faves & extra metal keepsakes to making our homes as cozy as ever. We're lighting more candles and also lighting holiday lights and more lamps. From collecting pinecones for your garland to thrifting for brass or silver serveware & candlesticks for entertaining or quickly layering the light in your holiday home, here are a few tips to save you time and money this holiday season...

Thrifting for silver for the holidays? 
Polish it with this simple home remedy: Toothpaste.

1. How to Polish Silver
If all those trips to the dentist have caused a pile-up of tiny tubes of toothpaste, here's a way  to put them to use: Smear some (white) toothpaste on a soft cloth (or even a paper towel)  to polish your silver vases, pitchers and bowls that have tarnished over the past year (or years if you've just thrifted them!) Rinse with warm water and dry with another clean soft cloth (or paper towel). The patina look is pretty throughout the year, but at holiday, it's nice to see the sparkle & shine of metal, especially in the flickering candles. Bowls can be filled with natural wood-chips mixed with mercury glass balls. Fill vases with clusters of baby breath, mixed fresh greens, or a mix of roses. Read more at: Flower Arranging & a Polished Home Remedy


2. How To Polish Brass
Sometimes you want the patina, and sometimes you just want the shine - If you're collecting brass pieces from thrift or flea markets, this trick can help to clean them (and save money too). I didn't have any brass cleaner or Brasso, and I was trying to avoid a trip out to the store, so I found a few home remedies to try. Boiling onions... took too long. I tried ketchup but didn't like the result. What worked best? A simple vinegar & salt soak plus a little elbow grease is all you need to bring in a little shine. I've used this to collected brass candlesticks and even brass scones.

3. How to Make New Ornaments Look Vintage
There is a certain charm that comes with collecting vintage pieces to layer in your home, especially at the holidays. But we can't all just run out and buy all new - old stuff. Here's a helpful trick from Laura of Finding Home which can  make some of your newer holiday ornaments have a my vintage feel - Read: How To Make New Ornaments Look Vintage.

Lovely vintage-like finish!

4. How To Bake or Bleach Pinecones 
Bringing in the outdoors is one of the best ways to decorate - for free. But do take some precautions to ward off  any unwanted holiday guests. For found branches you're keeping natural, rinse with a hose, spray with Raid, and allow them a day to dry-out in the sun before bringing them in the house. As for pinecones, Debbie from Refresh Restyle has a clever trick: Bake Them before you decorate to kill any bugs that may lurk inside. I love this idea especially since living here in Arizona - I wouldn't want a scorpion or spider surprise for Christmas! Read more about how to bake your pinecones at: How To Bake Pinecones

Perfect to leave natural or paint tips white!

...and another option to baking, actually changing the colors of the cone without paint....  Read How To Bleach Pinecones from Serendipity Refined...

Gorgeous pale finish!

5. How To Light Candles & Help Them Last Longer
With all the candle burning happening at holiday time, your lighter may run out of fluid. If your lighter goes out on you while lighting candles - don't fret! Go old school and light pasta - just be careful to catch the charred pieces. Help your candles last longer by allowing them to burn all the way to the edge (especially the first time with new candles). Doing this will help the wax burn evenly vs that deep core pit that happens, and then the candle is pitched. If you have a Garden Ridge store near you, they are a great source for simple white candles. Large pillars are 3 for $9.99 - medium are 3 for $7.99...

Lighter out of fluid?

6. Last tip, and great to use all year round: 
Light up the holidays by stocking up on holiday remotes. Best gadget ever! We first started to use this gadget for our tree inside, and holiday lights outside - but now we use everyday, especially during the dark days of winter. Stock up now at any decor shop in a Home Depot, Lowes, or even Garden Ridge Center. Great for outdoor lights too!

What are some of your own home remedies you use to help make your holiday decorating a little easier? Do you have any tips on renewing glassware shine filled with hard water spots?? I'd LOVE to hear about it! Hope these remedies and tips help you this holiday season!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sharing post at the 



  1. Thanks for all of the great tips. I also live in AZ and am so glad I found your blog -- it's always beautifully done and informative!

  2. I never thought of outdoor remotes for my lights outside. I am buying a couple of those wonderful gadgets today!! when the temps drop that is the worst to run outside to unplug all!! I can't wait for a no hassle holiday lights off. I don't have any great tips but I do have a question that maybe you have come across...i bought some leopard glasses at Pier 1 over 2 years ago but every three months the glasses get this foggy film/layer on the outside of the glass. I cannot figure what is causing it. The glasses are in a cabinet so not exposed! No worries if no suggestions.

  3. The toothpaste on silver is a new one on me. I also get that annoying film on some of my glassware that is not used frequently. Usually just washing it in dish liquid with a splash of Clorox added to the water takes care of it. This only seems to happen on pieces that don't go into the DW.



Related Posts with Thumbnails