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Archive for the ‘Christmas Trees’ Category

Many families decorate their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve or right before Christmas – if you are a young family and don’t have that many ornaments, why not make it a snowflake tree?

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It’s December! And only 20 days until Christmas! I just got back from Mexico and my fiancé and I plan to pick out our tree this week. I was thinking my Christmas ornaments needed a face lift or perhaps a few new ones to spice up the holiday tree – I found this great craft that is fun for the whole family and fuzzy too! Make one dove or a flock to decorate your tree! These ornaments are super easy, quick and great fun to make. The skills involved are very simple (tracing, cutting and gluing) which means the kit is appropriate for just about everyone! Each ornaments takes around 20 minutes to make from start to finish. I think they’re the perfect excuse to get your friends and family together for an afternoon of holiday crafting!

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There are holiday gifts and holiday cards but have you ever heard of the holiday allergy? 

Yes, it’s kind of a ‘grinchly’ thing to say but when the Christmas tree is set up in the home a segment of the population seems to experience a rise in allergic symptoms like itchy watery eyes, coughing, and the sniffles.

It’s hard to tell exactly what the source of the problem is but when it comes to both real and artificial trees the two most probable culprits are mold and dust.

For real trees mold is simply a part of nature and it’s very unlikely that during the time they are cut, stored and purchased that mold will just go away. Even if the mold level is low on the day a tree enters a home it could grow dramatically throughout the following few weeks.

Combine mold growth with the fact the tree is sitting in the center of an enclosed home and you have what could be a nightmare for people with allergic sensitivities.

When an artificial tree is being used allergies could be from mold but the deciding factor is usually dust related and directly connected to where the tree came from and how it was stored.

As we all know dust allergies are extremely common and no matter how well a home is kept once a tree that’s been sitting in the basement or attic for the last eleven months gets brought upstairs its prime material for an allergy attack.

Le Top "Santa's Helper" Collection Dress

That said, the best way to try and preempt issues from mold and dust on both real and artificial trees is before bringing them into the house hose them down well outside and let them dry in the sun. It may not remove mold permanently but will significantly reduce spores and wash away dust.

Le Top "Elves" Collection

That way when the family and friends are gathered for pictures and the kids are dressed up in Le Top’s elves or Santa’s little helper outfits playing around the tree everyone will breathe easier enjoying the time together.  

Finally, if you are worried about pollen check with the seller as to the variety of trees available since most blossom other times of the year and shouldn’t cause concern. Aside from pollen additional rare allergies that arise around Christmas from the tree are connected to sap and to pine itself.

Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com. He covers various home improvement topics including house remodeling and custom woodworking.

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Use our ideas for family holiday traditions inspiration! Whether you are a new parent or have 5 kids – there is always room for fun new traditions that get you excited each year for the holiday festivities. Read below these ideas! Share your holiday traditions with us too!

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I went over to my best friend’s house last night because she and her boyfriend had bought a beautiful Christmas tree here in New York City (actually at Whole Foods surprisingly!). She is a teacher here in New York and I asked her if she knew the meaning behind why we have a tree? A Christmas tree, or a Yule tree, is probably the most popular tradition associated with celebrating Christmas and Yuletide. She and I both grew up with a Christmas tree – we would find one with the family, decorate it with ornaments, put on lights, etc…but neither of us were sure what the actual tree represented. I thought I would look into it and give you a little background on the meaning in case you want to share with your kids, along with some really fun facts…did you know that according to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year?!?

Believe it or not the Christmas tree comes to us from Germany. Martin Luther is credited with being inspired by the starry heavens one night, and expressing his feelings to his family by bringing a fir tree into his home, and attaching lighted candles to its branches. Fir meant fire, and fire is an ancient symbol for spirit. The tree also pointed toward the heavens.

Evergreen trees were thought to represent the ever-burning fire of life. The color green signified the life force through the year. Eventually decorative balls represented the planets, while the star that radiates from the top reminds us of Bethlehem. The entire tree and decorations teach us that the universe is witness to the Incarnation.

Red at Christmas reminds us of the fire of the Spirit. Green affirms nature, and the ongoing life. And in the Incarnation, Spirit unites with nature.

Actually, the tree is also a reinterpretation of pagan rites, along with the use of other greens and decorations to honor in ancient times a celebration of the feast of Saturnalia – the birth of the Sun in the sky at the Winter Solstice. Along with the giving of gifts, the feast was later Christianized with the date of December 25th to announce the birth of the Son of God (Jesus) to the world.

Past celebrations of the Christmas tree began in the 16th century, and were later brought to America by German immigrants.

Fun Christmas Trivia and Fun Facts

  • The season surrounding Christmas is called Christmastide, running from sundown on December 24th to January 5 (also known as the Twelve Days of Christmas). In some places, people believe it is bad luck to keep decorations up after Christmastide.
  • Christmas actually comes from Middle and Old English words meaning “Christ’s Mass.” In Greek, the first letter of Christ is “X”, which is where the abbreviation Xmas (or X-mas) comes from.
  • According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year; 25 percent of them are from the nation’s 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.
  • The first Christmas hymns we know of were sung in 4th century Rome.
  • The first national Christmas tree was lit in 1923 during Calvin Coolidge’s presidency and is maintained outside of the White House. Although national Christmas trees used to be donated from around the nation, in 1973 living trees replaced donated cut trees, responding to environmental concerns. The same tree has been used as the national Christmas tree since 1977.
  • The White House Christmas tree was first lit with solar energy in 1995, and LED lights were used for the first time in 2002
  • There are at least four nationally designated Christmas trees. These include the Christmas tree outside the White House, inside the White House (and, since 1966, donated by the National Christmas Tree Association), a tree in the West Front Lawn of the Capitol and the “Nation’s Christmas Tree,” a 270 foot giant sequoia designated by Congress as a national Christmas tree in 1926.
  • There are around 350 million Christmas trees currently growing on American farms alone.
  • One to three seedlings are planted the following spring for every one Christmas tree harvested.
  • The top Christmas tree producing states in order are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington. Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec are the highest producing provinces in Canada.
  • The first “jingle” or singing commercial was played on Christmas Eve in 1926 in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The commercial was aired by General Mills for Wheaties and was called “Have You Tried Wheaties?” The group eventually became known as the Wheaties Quartet and continued singing together for years.
  • St. Nicholas lived in the south of modern-day Turkey as the bishop of Myra, a town in the region Lycia. He was known to give secret gifts, like leaving coins in shoes left outside. Nearly a thousand years after the saint’s bones had been removed from his gravesite, the government of Turkey formally requested the return of his bones from the Italian government.
  • English-speakers get the modern Santa Claus from the Dutch for St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas.

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It’s about that time (if you haven’t already) to decorate the beloved Christmas tree this holiday season. Here are some fun tips on how to make decorating the tree not only fun, but also educational. Here are the symbolic meanings of various ornaments: 

  • The Star: A heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long, long ago- the shining hope of mankind.
  • The Color Red: The first color of Christmas, symbolizing that Savior’s sacrifice for all.
  • Red and Green Colors Together: Red stands for fire of the spirit, while green stands for nature and one’s life on earth. Red along with green symbolizes the Holy Spirit’s union with nature on Earth and saving the world.
  • The Fir Tree: Evergreen- the second color of Christmas shows everlasting light and life. The needles point up to heaven.
  • The Bell: Rings out to guide lost sheep back to the fold, signifying that all are precious in His eyes.
  • The Candle: A mirror of starlight, reflecting our thanks for the star of Bethlehem.
  • The Gift Bow: Tied as we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill forever.
  • The Candy Cane: Represents the shape of the shepherd’s crook, used to bring lost lambs back to the fold.
  • The Wreath: A symbol of the never-ending eternal value of love… having no end.

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How do you handle a child who is afraid of Santa Claus…or namely sitting on ‘ole Saint Nick’s lap?

It’s a wonderment when I see some parents forcing their child to sit in Santa’s lap…there is something in the holiday commercialism air that changes a parent’s tune of what a child ‘shouldn’t’ be scared of. It’s almost like a right of passage for a child – ha, ha. However, in all reality, it is a big deal for many parents to get the perfect holiday photo with Santa – even if their child is kicking and screaming. So how do you deal with this problem of fearing the jolly red man? Here are some tips if a child refuses:

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