The one Christmas tradition we're stealing from Joanna Gaines

When it comes to the holiday season, everyone brings their own traditions to the table. And when it comes to holiday decor, we’re always ready for a new idea…especially if it’s from Joanna Gaines. The former Fixer Upper designer just shared a family Christmas tradition on her blog that’s easy enough for anyone to copy at home.

Each year, she gives Chip and their kids a new ornament for their tree. And according to Joanna, she actually got the idea from her mother-in-law. (Can you believe?) She wrote, “Chip’s mom started a fun tradition when we first got married, where she would give all of us an ornament at Thanksgiving. I loved it so much that I started something similar. Every holiday season, I get Chip and the kids an ornament that goes along with a memory from that year. I write their name and the date on the bottom, so as they get older, each one of them has a little collection that’s all their own.”

Cute, right? And it makes the somewhat daunting task of hanging up those ornaments *that* much more special.

And here you thought it was going to be shiplap.

Try out more tips from Joanna below!

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10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines
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10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines

Stock up on crescent rolls

To get that homemade feel you don’t always have to make everything 100% from scratch. In Magnolia Table, Joanna relies on refrigerated crescent roll dough for a few tasty recipes, like her quick orange-walnut sweet rolls and her classic chicken potpie. This cuts the prep time down significantly, and the results can taste just as good as something made all by hand.

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Save time with rotisserie chicken

While everyone loves a perfectly roasted chicken for dinner—and then the leftovers used in tasty dinners all week—it can be hard to find the time to roast one on a busy evening. That’s why Joanna grabs a grocery store rotisserie chicken to use in a handful of recipes, like her cozy chicken potpie.

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Turn tricky dishes into casseroles

Have a favorite dish that you always order at a restaurant but is just too tricky to make at home? Joanna says turn those into a casserole! She explains in her book that Chip loves eggs Benedict, but making individual servings at home can be a real hassle. So to get that same flavor with less work, Joanna turned it into an easy-to-make, easy-to-serve casserole. Genius! 

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Use store-bought crust

Pie crust serves as the foundation for so many of our favorite dishes—pie (obviously!), quiches and tarts—but making your own crust from scratch is sometimes too time-consuming. According to Joanna, don’t worry about it! She writes in Magnolia table that she subs store-bought crust for homemade all the time, especially when she’s whipping up a tasty quiche.

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Refrigerated biscuits are your friend

We all know that Joanna is a true Southern gal with an authentic recipe for buttermilk biscuits (you can check out how to make them right here), but we also know she’s a busy woman! That’s why when it comes to chicken and dumplings, Joanna says that you can easily substitute packaged biscuits for her biscuit and dumpling recipe.

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Focus on the main dish and take shortcuts on the sides

In Magnolia Table, Joanna explains how enchiladas are a family favorite in her house. The cheese-filled chicken enchiladas are the star of the show and the side dishes—beans and rice—are just supporting players. So when time is tight, focus on the main, and used packaged rice as a quick substitute. Joanna prefers Knorr brand Mexican rice mix.

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Transform your condiments 

We love our sandwiches layered with flavored aiolis, but we never think to make those fancy types of mayonnaise at home. After all, mayonnaise from scratch can be a real chore. But to get that same effect, Joanna takes her favorite mayonnaise (she says she prefers Hellman’s) and stirs in a handful of herbs and spices. For her version, add chopped chives, garlic, dill, parsley, paprika and a bit of lemon juice. Feel free to add your favorite flavors to dress up your sandwiches.

Have a boxed pancake mix on hand

While Magnolia Table has an exceptional recipe for fluffy pancakes, Joanna writes, “I always have a boxed mix in the pantry for when I just don’t have the time.” It’s always smart to have these backup plans, plus boxed mixes serve as a great foundation for all sorts of recipes like these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and even this five-star breaded catfish.

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Use basics as a base

Even the most unassuming ingredients can turn into a craveable snack. In Magnolia Table, Joanna describes how her friend makes the tastiest seasoned crackers, perfect for parties. Try our version with these seasoned crackers—only four ingredients!

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There's always pizza

No matter how carefully you plan or how carefully you read a recipe, sometimes dishes can just go wrong. If something goes wrong and your dinner flops, take this advice from Chip and Joanna from Magnolia Table, “there’s always pizza.”

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