Hack your holidays: Deck the halls

Christmas ornaments on white background

Sure you could pick up Christmas decorations at any retailer during your back-to-school shopping last August, but WBAY.com's "Hack Your Holidays" feature has some simple and creative ideas for giving your decor a more personal touch.

And if some of these projects are time-consuming, consider making it family time.

Deck the halls

Tie ornaments to string of different lengths and hang them just above your heads.

Run white bar soap over a cheese grater to add snow flakes to your decor. Make sure you like the smell of the bar soap.

Surprise your kids this winter with icicles hanging from the ceiling. Get a couple boxes of icicle lights and hang them using one or two packs of small 3M Command hooks or decorating clips. Whether you get warm or cool lights or the kind that twinkle is up to you.

Garden of trees

Do you have wire cages for your tomato plants? Your garden doesn't need them right now, so turn them upside down, tie the pointy, poky wires at the top together, and wrap it with Christmas lights to make a tiny forest in your garden or yard.

We have more tips with video demonstrations below. Mobile users, you may need to click a "More on the web" link.

3D paper Christmas tree

We saw more ornate -- and complicated -- designs, but we preferred this as a simple project to do with kids and grandkids.

No-sew sock snowman

Recycle socks with holes or partners that got lost in the dryer. Again, our focus is on simple.

Do-it-yourself wreath

We had many to choose from. The candle sold us on this one.

Plastic bag wreath

The concept is similar to the wreath above, and recycles plastic bags, but it will take a lot more time to tie on enough plastic strips.

Light-up plastic wreath

Why does this make me think "dorm room"?

Plastic cup snowman

If you have a lot of plastic cups left over from the last project and about 900 staples...

Plastic up Santa Claus

Even more attention-grabbing than a plastic cup snowman if you can find cups with the right colors

Elf legs

For $2.98, you can get laughs with an elf who's lost its way

After Christmas

Use an extension cord holder for your Christmas lights to keep them from getting tangled. Don't have one handy? Wrap the lights around a plastic clothes hanger.

Use egg cartons and plastic cups for protecting your Christmas ornaments -- if you have any plastic cups left from making the snowmen, that is. Bonus tip: Use felt or similarly soft fabric instead of newspaper to cushion your ornaments from jostling.