Holiday Hacks: Helpful or Hopeless?

We’re all familiar with Pinterest. Thousands of moms, teens, and life hack enthusiasts log on every day. You’ve probably seen the storm of holiday hacks that say they’ll save your life. But will they really? One woman (me) decided to put 4 of these hacks to the test. This is her story.


Stovetop Potpourri

The Hack: put holiday spices and a small amount of water in a pot and simmer all day. Works for parties or just to spruce up your home with the scent of holiday spirit.

The Test: I put 2 cinnamon sticks, an orange peel, cloves, and nutmeg in a pot with 1 inch of water. I tried simmering it first but it didn’t release the smelly goodness, so I turned it up to boil and then brought it down to simmer. This was very effective. My dad ran upstairs and yelled “Camille! I can smell it all the way up here!” 10/10 jingle bells.

44544eff090f58358b87a40ddce73369fb2b42bce93bcc4fcf5107435b6b58e7_largeSoften the Stale

The Hack: if your holiday cookies get stale, put them in a ziploc bag with a few slices of bread and seal it up good.

The Test: I baked some awesome shortbread cookies and left them out for three days. They got stale as planned so I stuck them in a bag with some hawaiian rolls and left them to hang out and soften up for a couple days. When I opened the bag and ate the two test cookies, the first thing I noticed is that they were soft. The second thing I noticed is that the cookies tasted more like hawaiian rolls and the rolls tasted more like shortbread cookies. Overall successful. 8/10 reindeer.

frozen-whipped-cream-cut-outs-recipeWhipped Cream Cutouts

The Hack: freeze whipped cream and use a cookie cutter to cut it into festive shapes to float in your hot chocolate.

The Test: I put whipped cream on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the freezer for 3 hours. I didn’t have fancy cookie cutters so I just cut little circles. I was afraid that the whipped cream would melt as soon as it touched the hot cocoa. My fear turned out to be valid. As soon as I plopped that circle of goodness into the mug, it melted and was no longer a recognizable shape. Just a layer of cream on top. However, frozen whipped cream is delicious. With tweaking and temperature regulation, someone who isn’t me might be able to make it work. 3/10 elves.

TitlePotato Chip Presents

The Hack: Out of wrapping paper? Take an empty potato chip bag, rinse it, turn it inside out, and put a present in it. You’ll have a shiny little gift to give to your loved ones.

The Test: I followed instructions and rinsed a potato chip bag and turned it inside out. It still smelled like potato chips. Guess I wasn’t thorough. Anyway, when you open the present you just see the big logo and everyone knows you’re lazy. Hacks are supposed to make you look better, not worse. 0/10 gingerbread men.

By Camille Jones

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