Saturday, October 21, 2006

What's Christmas without a Candy Cane?

What's Christmas without a Candy Cane? by Christopher Pratt


There is much written these days about the candy cane; everything from urban legends to historical explanations of just how and when this traditional candy came into being.

The old urban legend says a candy maker in Indiana wanted to symbolize the birth of Christ with the use of a piece of candy, so he took a hard candy stick which was pure white then shaped it into a letter "J" for Jesus and added some red stripes to represent God's love and the trinity. This legend has been disputed, unfortunately; although one could believe what one wants regarding the Christmas delicacy.

The actual history of the candy cane goes more like this. At Cologne Cathedral back in 1670, the choirmaster was nervous that the children who were attending the pageant of living nativities would become a little too antsy and disruptive, so he gave them a white candy stick bent into the shape of a shepherd's crook. This kept the little tikes appeased and became a tradition throughout Europe.

The candy canes became popular in America by the 1800's and were used to help decorate Christmas trees. The little canes were still pure white at this time and were even depicted on Christmas cards as such.

In the early 20th century, the canes gained the beautiful red striping they bear today. Bob McCormick of Albany, GA, is the confectioner responsible for reinventing the candy cane into the model we buy today.

Now, what all can one do with a Candy Cane? Well, it is possibly one of the most recognized symbols of Christmas today. But, it is not just a yummy treat: Not at all! We have become an inventive lot at the holidays, and folks find many diverse uses for their candy. Try some of these:

Make a minty candy stirring stick for hot chocolate, tea, or any hot drink.

Make creative decorations with them: Attach brown pipe cleaners to the crook of the candy cane and make antlers for a candy cane reindeer.

Decorate frosted cakes or cupcakes with crushed candy canes.

Make a garland for the fireplace using the candy canes and evergreens boughs.

Use the tiny candy canes to make a Christmas wreath for the door. Leave in wrappers of course.

Stick a candy cane in the glasses or mugs on your holiday table with name tags attached for each guest.

Make your own holiday cards using a candy cane on the front.

Make a peppermint cream pie using the broken pieces of your candy canes.

Leave them in their cellophane wrappers and put them on the Christmas tree.

Dip the candy canes in chocolate for a new twist on an old favorite.

And if nothing else, have a seat and enjoy eating a candy cane. Regardless of their origin or what they represent, the fact is, they are a tasty treat recognized worldwide; Enjoy!

About the Author

Christopher Pratt is President of Candy Warehouse, the leading online Candy Store for bulk candy discounts and specialty candy for specific occasions. Right now see their Christmas Candy Gift ideas for the holiday season.

Has Christmas become too commercial?

Has Christmas become too commercial? by Rob Kingdom


Christmas. Has it become too commercial?

Probably the most popular time of year for many. In England there are the typical traditions synonymous with the season of good will such as the constant re-runs of classic TV episodes, the Queens speech and the mandatory list of films that are always shown Christmas day and Boxing Day.

These traditions have become the mainstay of the British Christmas for many years now and as much as we say they are tedious and annoying, we wouldn't want to have it any other way. It has turned out to be part of the Christmas ritual for many.

With the turn of the 21st century there are however new traditions that are creeping into society. Now we must suffer the odious spectacle of the hype surrounding which talent show reject will become Christmas number one in the charts as well as who has been invited to the Beckhams Christmas party.

It seems that somewhere along the way that the holiday message has been lost and replaced by the celebrity awe struck, materialistic attitudes that are of more concern than the joy surrounding the Christmas period.

Christmas has now become a massive marketing event where companies can advertise their products as a must have Christmas gift. Probably the main exponents of this are companies in the games console industry. Microsoft and Sony both market their products (the Xbox360 and the Sony Playstation 3) to coincide with the Christmas period so that the masses of children will demand it from their parents. Many children now are receiving a new games console as soon as it is released regardless of the price.

It seems as thought the interest surrounding Christmas has now shifted from what the season is meant to represent and has now become a marketing and product focused event where consumer goods are in incredibly high demand and companies will try anything to make a profit during the holiday season.

It would be good to see the old traditions return and for Christmas to be celebrated for the right reasons not as a commercial opportunity. People do still enjoy the traditional ceremonies for switching on Christmas lights on high streets across the country such as the Christmas lights in Oxford Street, London which are erected by Piggotts. Making these occasions more prominent would be a good way to enhance peoples Christmas spirit and for them to realise the importance of the holidays.

About the Author

You may reprint this article providing the content within the article is not edited in any way

Handmade Ornaments For The Christmas Tree

Handmade Ornaments For The Christmas Tree by Marianne Jackson


Get ready for Christmas, it will be here before you know it. Decorating the Christmas tree can be either an exciting, fun task or it can become expensive and can seem like more trouble then its worth. If you begin early enough you may just find that homemade ornaments are inexpensive and a lovely way to spend time with the family. The only limitation being your imagination and by doing a little bit of research, the internet has some great ideas, you can begin a new family tradition. Every holiday you can add to your new homemade ornaments collection.

You can cut costs amazingly by using last years Christmas wrap. Everyone always has some of last years rolls hidden away and you did buy them in the first place because you thought that they were very attractive. Make simple patterns on your rolls of paper and fold them into different shapes, such as stars, moons or fan shape. Next, glue on an attractive ribbon so that your ornaments can be attached to the Christmas tree. With a little bit of research, you may even want to try your hand at a bit of origami; it really isn't as hard as you may think. Also think about your old Christmas cards your family and friends sent, nice aren't they? You may want to consider cutting them into different shapes and use a hole punch to add some pretty ribbon to attach them to your tree, you can even use them to make frames. If you use your imagination you will be able to come up with all sorts of ideas.

Of course the edible kinds of decorations and ornaments are always a lot of fun for big and little children alike. There is the traditional popcorn stringing or you might want to consider using cranberries or nuts. Gingerbread cookies cut into different shapes are a fun idea as well. There are many recipes out there mixing flour, water, cinnamon and cornstarch that you can find to use with cookie cutters that make some very nice ornaments. Another kind of ornament can be made from tin. You can find supplies at a craft or hardware stores. You will need tin snips, and a hole punch for metal to make the holes, and then you just need the tin sheets or rolls. Some caution should be used with this craft due to the sharp edges of the tin. You can find clear plastic or glass ornaments at a craft store that you can paint with any design that you wish on the outside. Some of them you may want to pour some paint inside of the ornament and swirl it around for a beautiful unique design. You can also fill them up with different objects using the old imagination, such as bright snippets of ribbon, or little tiny glittered pine cones.

Beads and bead kits can be used to make some spectacular decorations or you can simply string them. You can also find many different ideas and kits at the craft store, spend an hour or so walking around and you will come up with some very great , original ideas. Whatever kind of homemade decorations you and your family can come up with will bring you together to make some lasting memories and quality, family time. And an awesome looking Christmas tree too.

About the Author

Marianne Jackson is a staff writer at Christmas Gazette and is an occasional contributor to several other websites, including Family Review.

The Beauty of Christmas Caroling

The Beauty of Christmas Caroling by Kael Geary


Several years ago I was able to go on a trip with a group of youths who were doing a progressional dinner a weekend before Christmas. However, before the dinner, we took a trip to a local senior home as well as visited an elderly woman all of 98 years old. This woman's name was Edna and what I saw in her eyes that evening was something that made that Christmas all the more precious.

We take for granted everyday that with our young ages, we feel like we're going to be around forever and that in some small way we're invincible. With age comes reason, and with old age comes - loneliness. In a day and age where electronic gifts, gadgets, and the newest cars and toys litter the holiday landscape, we forget about the meaning of coming together and reacquainting or making each other smile, just for the sake of doing so. Even though she was cold, while listening to us sing, and that she had a racking cough that was louder at times than our singing, she smiled. She smiled for the reasons of our singing and that someone actually wanted to come visit her and make her smile.

The kids in the group were singing with gusto, and lets be honest here. The guys in the group were hungry and wanted to move on so that they could get to dinner, and the girls in the group were at times disinterested but were the most enthusiastic. After 4 or 5 songs it was time to move on, but at the end Edna grabbed my arm and smiled with her eyes at me and said "thank you so much" with her voice.

I'm not really sure what I got for Christmas that year, but I do remember this story. Isn't that pretty powerful in itself? I'm hoping that the kids who sang that night grow up and remember the story as I do myself. In a tiny apartment, on a late holiday night, a group of people, mostly kids, sang from Christmas sheet music to deliver a message of togetherness and warmth.

The next time you fret over how much something costs, or that you can't afford something that your child really wants, pause for a moment and remember this story. There's no need to worry during the Christmas season when you take the meaning of Christmas to heart!

About the Author

This article was produced for this christmas sheet music website

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's Your Christmas Plan?

What's Your Christmas Plan? by George Stark


Have you developed your Christmas plan yet? If you have not then now is the time to get started. Christmas will be here before you know it and it will pay to get ahead of the rush.

Most people wait until the last minute to get ready for Christmas and then they wonder why their Christmas is so emotionally draining and nerve wracking. Christmas is the most chaotic and stressful time of the year so it makes sense to plan it out to cut down on your stress and strain. Only through planning and preparation can you have a well coordinated and pleasurable Christmas. Those who wait until the last minute to prepare oftentimes experience a disappointing and dysfunctional Christmas which creates a lot of anguish and bad feelings all around.

With a little bit of planning you can avoid having a bad Christmas. You can escape the last minute hysteria and pandemonium because you will have a plan that will smoothly get you through the entire holiday period.

Okay, here's what you need to do right away. Take out several sheets of paper or 3x5 cards. Write down the following headings at the top of each sheet of paper or card: Cards, Gifts, Decorations, Food, Tree, Lights, Toys, Parties and Miscellaneous (Catchall). These are the nine major categories in which all your Christmas planning and preparations will revolve around.

Now that you have these nine categories identified (some will overlap) you need to start brainstorming ideas and listing individual "to do" items under each category. For instance, under "Cards", you will list and provide answers to questions like what type of cards do we want to send this year, where will we purchase the cards, who do we send the cards to, when should we mail the cards out to ensure they arrive prior to Christmas day, etc. Under "Tree" you might want to ask what type of tree should we put up, where is the best place to buy a tree, what type of tree accessories do we need, etc.

By making such a brainstorm list you are now able to develop a bigger picture of how you want your Christmas to go. You can now refine your Christmas tasks, arrange and schedule them into a logical sequence, delegate them to others and track the progress of each individual task until it is accomplished. It gives you the organization and control you need to ensure that your Christmas turns out the way you want it to.

Using this type of planning system or something similar, you can take all the drama out of Christmas and enjoy a great holiday season.


About the Author

George Stark is the webmaster for ChristmasClearingHouse.com, your one-stop shop for every Christmas-related.

Stained Glass Effect Christmas Paper Lantern

Stained Glass Effect Christmas Paper Lantern by S. Roberts


Make a beautiful stained glass effect Christmas Lantern, a beautiful Christmas decoration for any room. Made from a paper lampshade which will fit and ceiling light. When the light is switched on you see the full effect of the stained glass effect.

To make the stained glass effect paper lantern you will need... A ball shaped paper lamp shade/lantern in any size you wish. Felt tip pens, black paint. You need to create a design for the lantern. Draw the design on a sheet of paper. You could draw the nativity scene, a Christmas tree, Santa Claus or maybe 'Merry Christmas'. The design needs to be simple and bold.

Once you are happy with the design you can start work on the lantern itself. First you will need to erect the paper lantern. It should have assembly instructions with it. Unfold the lantern and insert a wire expander inside the lantern, this slots into place and keeps the lantern erect and taught.

Take a black felt tip pen or a marker and draw the design on to the paper lantern. Be careful when you are doing this because the lantern is made of paper and the wet ink makes the paper fragile. If your pen does accidentally 'go through' stick a small piece of paper on the hole to patch it up and leave it to dry.

Once your design is complete, paint the background of the lantern black. This is so that the lantern blocks out some of the light. Again you need to take care not to puncture the paper. Use two brushes to paint the lantern, a thin brush for small and detailed areas, and a thick brush for large areas.

Top Tip - Paint from the top of the lantern to half way down, and leave to dry. Then turn upside down and paint the other half. Use a dish to stand the lantern on, it stops it from moving and raises it up from the work surface.

For best results, give the lantern two coats of black paint.

Once the paintwork is dry, you're ready to apply the stained glass effect. With coloured felt tip pens, colour in the white areas of your design on the paper lantern. Again take care.

Now hang the lantern up from a ceiling light in your home. Every time the light is turned on your delightful design will glow like a stained glass window in a church on a sunny day. The lantern is a fun and unusual Christmas decoration.

Do not use a higher wattage bulb in the lantern than indicated with the lantern instructions and packaging.


About the Author

S. Roberts is one of Santa's Helpers and writes for http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk a Christmas educational & activity website. For more home-made Christmas trimming ideas visit http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk/homemade-christmas-trimmings.html SantasPostbag is in association with www.bigboystoyz.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Christmas - Traditional Christmas Pudding

Christmas - Traditional Christmas Pudding - Once Made with Beer and Only on 'Stir-Up Sunday'! by Bernadette Dimitrov, The HoHoHo Expert!


Traditional Christmas pudding has a long and fascinating history. It is a much loved favorite Christmas sweet for many countries, in particular England and Ireland.

The once traditional time to make your Christmas pudding was on the Sunday five weeks prior to Christmas day. It was known as "Stir-Up Sunday". This Sunday pudding making day was looked forward to by all the members of the family and especially the children. Everyone took it in turns to stir the pudding as they made a wish.

Christmas pudding is also known as 'Plum Pudding' and is traditionally eaten in Britain and Ireland as a dessert on Christmas day. Recipes vary from family to family and often are guarded as they handed down their prized recipes through the generations.

Christmas pudding generally has a dark appearance and is often black, thick in texture and full of nuts, raisins and suet and moistened with brandy while some recipes call for dark beers such as stout! Today it is common practice to make Christmas pudding boiled in a cloth. At the beginning of the 12th century puddings were prepared in basins to produce the traditional round shape on top that we know today. Once prepared, holly was placed around the pudding, it was drenched in more brandy or other alcohol and set alit as it was delivered to the Christmas table after the main meal. The entrance of the pudding was a most exciting event. Everyone would applaud or sing as it was delivered to the table. Later people added caster sugar sprinkled on top to resemble snow which is often associated with a winter Christmas. Astoundingly, is believed that left-over pudding can keep for up to a year!

Once upon a time a silver coin was placed in the mixture while stirring and it was commonly a sixpence. Once cooked and served, whoever found the coin was believed to have good fortune the following year especially in relation to wealth and money! The practice of placing coins in the pudding ceased once the production of 'silver' coins ceased. No-one wanted to risk ruining the pudding with the new alloy coins. Later various types of trinkets were added for fun such as a wishbone for good luck! Due to concerns of health and safety it is not a practice that is commonly taken up today and for most families this practice of placing coins has now ceased.


About the Author

Bernadette Dimitrov, The HoHoHo Expert is the author of the world's best Christmas ebooks and audio books. Creating fun and cherished memories for families! Visit http://www.HoHoHoChristmas.com & sign up for our FREE Newsletter full of fun, tips, tools & resources & you'll love and get our popular bonus f*r*e*e 10 day e-course - Amazing ideas to enrich your Christmas experience.

Christmas - How To Create A Fun & Cherished Christmas!

Christmas - How To Create A Fun & Cherished Christmas! by Bernadette Dimitrov, The HoHoHo Expert!


A great way to ensure your Christmas will be remembered with warm and cherished memories is to incorporate some rituals. Adding rituals to the festivities will create fun and magic moments that will not only live in your families memories forever but will be excitedly looked forward to each year. Rituals will bring your family closer together creating joy and happiness for all!

Here is a fun ritual you could incorporate into this coming Christmas. Add some Christmas bells to the dinner table and ring them just before the festive meal is ready, calling all to attend the dinner table. Long before Christmas in the old days, bells were once rung with the assumption that the noise would chase away evil spirits. Santa Claus has jingling bells that he uses accompanying his sleigh ride around the world each year. His bells are symbols; they are jingled to remind us of the birth of new beginnings and the death of ignorance (once referred to as the devil).

Ringing bells before the meal is eaten is a wonderful reminder to push away judgments, speak no ills, and come together with a sense of joy, positivity and acceptance for one another. Make the festive meal a time where you all come together and share a positively good time. A time where only supportive words are spoken, encouragement and acknowledgement of each other is heard. Ringing the bells will remind all to keep positive, bright and joyous!

So have some fun, get yourself some jingling Christmas bells and chase away any menacing spirits or thoughts before the festive meal. You can be creative with your jingling and get your children to enjoy a brisk stroll through the house or around the dinner table as they jingle the bells joyously to ensure no menacing mischief makers will be heard on the day! The children will love this fun activity and all will enjoy the friendly reminder of the bells if anyone starts to slip up on their good attitude throughout the day!

Another ritual you could incorporate is the 'Mistletoe Game'. This is a very old Christmas game where it was once common place to have suspended Mistletoe hung in the main room. For this game everyone would assemble in a circle around the Mistletoe. The first player (a male) has to slide a slipper and aim so it will land under the Mistletoe. If he fails another takes their turn. If he succeeds, even more fun begins as there is a scramble in the direction of the lady towards which the slipper points. She must seize the slipper and get away before being caught!

Rituals offer the opportunity for family and friends to interact in a joyous and fun manner. So why not add a few rituals to your festive day to add some fun and create great memories of a truly joyous and happy day.


About the Author

Bernadette Dimitrov, The HoHoHo Expert is the author of the world's best inspirational Christmas ebooks and audio books. Creating fun and cherished memories for families! Visit http://www.HoHoHoChristmas.com & sign up for our FREE Newsletter full of fun, tips, tools & resources & you'll love and receive our bonus f*r*e*e 10 day e-course - amazing ideas to enrich your Christmas experience!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Planning Christmas Gift for Your Man and Children

Planning Christmas Gift for Your Man and Children by George Wood


Men are often found saying it is very hard to choose a gift for a woman because there are so many things to choose from. What they dont know is that its equally difficult to find a gift for a man, even more so. You keep thinking if I bought him a book, chances are it will never be taken out from the cupboard, let alone finish it. If I bought him a sweater, he might argue over the colors or the print, being either too childish or too girlish. Indeed it is very hard to satisfy a man! Lets find out some ways you can surprise him this Christmas. We all know men love sports. You can buy some DVDs of his favorite game or a sports show. You can even get him a signed photograph of his most favorite player and have it framed. You can invite his friends over for dinner and tune some sports channel afterwards to let the guys have some quality time together.

A dinner for two is always the best gift anyone can ever get. If the man is your boss, you can buy him a couple of theatre passes or some other sports event that might be taking place nearby. A personalized Christmas card is a sweet gift for anyone. If he likes to read, you can buy him his favorite sports magazine. If hes not that much into sports, you can buy him his all-time favorite movies and watch a couple of them together on a romantic surprise dinner planned by you. Another idea is to have his room renovated the way he always wanted. Have it white-washed or bring in some new stuff for him to enjoy.

Christmas is happy time for all people, but for children it is the happiest time of the year. They get to receive gifts from everyone and they are jubilant. But before Christmas arrives, you often find yourself wondering what you should be buying this year for your children. There can be many ideas. The traditional toy-gifts are also an option, but children are so imaginative that they want to have something different each year. Why not surprise them with something new this Christmas? You can take them out for a surprise dinner, go for a Christmas play somewhere, or take them ice skating. Plan a Christmas party, include games they have never played before and give them some hand-made beautiful items as winning gifts. You can also take out some old baby toys from the attic and renovate them to turn into decoration pieces for your childs room. They will be thrilled to have received such an item with which their childhood memories are associated.

Children like to dress up differently and perform an act they like the most. Buy them some cool outfit in which they can show their talents off to their friends. Watch some good movies together, and play some quiet family games in which small presents are awarded at each step to the winner. You can wrap them up in funky glittery wrapping papers. Include some learning games as well, for example trivia or some other computer game. The children are going to love them. Invite their friends over and give them some time to party around they way they like. This winter give your children the best time they have ever had so that they will never forget it!

See, it is not that hard to plan Christmas gifts for men and children. Just use your creative skills and buy them wonderful gifts this year!

About the Author

George Wood is a successful webmaster of many popular sites including rug and life insurance site. If you want to read more about Christmas, click over to George Christmas site.

Christmas Shopping - Tips and Advice

Christmas Shopping - Tips and Advice by S. Roberts


Its that time of year again when everyone hits the high street to do their Christmas shopping. There are a few Christmas shopping strategies.  Start in June This saves you panicking in a number of ways You don't get into debt because you are spreading the cost of Christmas over 7 months. You get to buy presents at bargain prices and take advantage of all the summer sales. There are not Christmas queues and the weather is dry fine and warm, making your Christmas shopping a more enjoyable experience.

 Leave it until Christmas Eve! The shops are desperate by this time and slash they prices incredibly. It is a bit of mad dash but all the Christmas stress is confined to a single 24 hours.

 Buy online. Quick and convenient, no queuing, no trying to find car parking, no terrible weather. Plus many retailers offer discounts for online orders, which means you save money too!

Many people are worried about security and credit card fraud when buying online. Of course this is a worry, nobody wants to be the victim of credit card fraud. However, there are some steps you can take to keep your online shopping experience as safer transaction as possible.

When buying online, only use reputable retailers. This maybe a high street retailer who have an online shopping facilities or a large online store. Maybe a friend has recommended a particular website that they have purchased goods from in the past. Some online shops state how long they have been trading. If a store has been trading online for a number of years, and is well established, this is a good indicator of a reputable store.

When shopping online you inevitably end up at the 'check out'. This is the point where the store will ask you for your name, postal address and credit or debit card details. This is the time when credit card fraud is a danger.

To protect yourself look for a padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom of the window on the actual 'check out' page, where the website is asking you to submit your details. This padlock mean that this page of the website has a secure connection, so any information that you submit on this page will not be decipherable to anyone else, it will be encrypted. If there is not a padlock, it is not a secure connection despite what the actual web page content may say.

You can still submit your details, However, you do significantly increase the risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

Our advice would be to contact the website and ask them to provide you with a secure payment page, or shop elsewhere.

However you do your Christmas shopping this year, Enjoy your experience and keep your card details safe.


About the Author

S. Roberts writes for http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk a website offering Christmas information, education and tips and advice to help your Christmas be the greatest ever. Plus correspond with Santa for FREE http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk/your-letter-from-santa.php In association with http://www.bigboystoyz.com

The Benefits of Upside Down Christmas Tree Decorating

The Benefits of Upside Down Christmas Tree Decorating by Enid Edginton


When it comes to christmas tree decorating the latest fad is the upside-down christmas tree. Is there any good reason besides the fact that it is a really hot xmas trend that you should actually buy one of these? First of all it may help a bit to look a bit at the history of the upside down xmas tree. That might help you decide if this type of christmas tree is for you.

The upside-down christmas tree comes from the pagan tradition of spreading evergreen boughs across the floors, windows and hearth in order to keep evil spirits from invading the home. This tradition was celebrated by cultures as diverse as the Celts, the Romans and the Vikings long before the time of Christ.

You have to remember that Christianity did not really take off in central Europe until twelve centuries past the birth of Christ. As it was noted that the evergreen contained the three points of the Holy Trinity, it was brought indoors and hung upside down. This was a way of playing it safe for most central Europeans who liked to mix their pagan rituals with their Christian rituals. Not only did the upside down xmas tree offer protection from evil spirits, but it also acknowledged the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. All of this was put to an end when religious zealots in the 16th century Germany proclaimed that the upside down xmas tree was sacrilegious. Religious officials ordered that the tips of christmas trees stop pointing to hell and instead be turned right side up so they pointed to heaven.

Since the 16th century we hadn't heard a heck of a lot about upside-down christmas tree decorating until they were marketed as store display units to retailers a couple of years ago. The reason for their revival had to do with common sense. The upside-down christmas tree that is bolted to the ceiling simply left more space for retail displays and more room to display christmas tree decorations. It also offered less of a chance of a liability lawsuit should a stumbling shopper trip over it. It wasn't long before the general public started demanding the upside-down christmas tree as a novelty item.

This past christmas the prestigious Hammacher Schlemmer holiday supply company (which has been in business over 150 years) could not keep their seven-foot tall pre-lit upside-down christmas tree in stock. It costs $600 U.S. with a lifetime guarantee. This should give you an idea of how popular this latest trend in christmas tree decorating has become.

This might be because there are definitely some benefits to using and upside down tree when it comes to christmas tree decorating. For one thing it keeps your precious glass ornaments away from the prying fingers of children. It also keeps pets and toddlers from accidentally tipping the tree over. Another benefit is that it also allows you to pile more presents under the tree (of course keeping in mind that "under the tree" is now "under" the top of the tip of the tree and its decorative topper.)

Another benefit is that the upside-down christmas tree is quite practical. They are bolted to the ceiling, which means they take up no floor space, so it's great for smaller apartments and smaller rooms. It can be positioned in tight corners and other places that do not accommodate a tree with traditional Christmas decorations.

The upside-down christmas tree can also be hung in places where you could not consider having a tree before. In fact many people simply hang the tree over their dining room table the same way you would a chandelier. Also it is much easier to see the christmas tree decorations and ornaments on an upside-down Christmas tree because they dangle down from the branches and do not visually disappear into the tree foliage. Many of them come prelit, which gets rid of the necessity of wrapping the tree in lights.

So just how are these upside-down christmas trees attached to the ceiling? They are bolted to a base that is screwed into the ceiling. If you are just into this for the novelty of it and the idea of a whole christmas tree and dangling christmas tree decorations dangling over your head makes you nervous then you can also buy models that have a base on the floor that supports an upside down artificial tree.

As upside down christmas trees are a very new thing, there is some debate as to which types of christmas tree decorations look best on it. For instance some people like the look of clumps of tinsel hanging like clumps of hair downwards from the ceiling whereas others find the effect to be too cluttered or messy looking. In you are of the latter opinion then you might want to stick with trailing cotton batten which is more like spider webs and does not fall as easily off the tree.

As you don't want any ornaments falling down and smashing on the floor or God forbid, on somebody's head you need to take extra care about fastening your christmas tree decorations securely to the tree. This is also true of christmas garlands, lights and the christmas tree topper. Remember to also fasten everything securely to the tree with some kind of wire as well as the usual fishline!

A drawback to buying an upside-down christmas tree is that after you remove it, you might have a bit of a plastering job to attend to thanks to the nuts and bolts that hold the base secure. This is why many people opt to hang it where a light fixture is usually hung. Then after the holiday season is over, they simply replace the light fixture to hide any marks left from the bolting of the tree to the ceiling.

Another consideration is that it is difficult to predecorate these upside-down christmas trees. Many of them need to be hung quite high to avoid them from scraping the tops of people's heads. This means getting up on a ladder or a table to attach christmas tree decorations to the tree so this is definitely not the kind of tree that is best for an elderly individual or someone who is afraid of heights.

About the Author

For more information on Christmas trees, visit O Christmas Tree a year-round resource for all your christmas tree and decoration needs.

Make an Impact This Xmas Season with Outdoor Christmas Decorations

Make an Impact This Xmas Season with Outdoor Christmas Decorations by Chucky Anderson


The purpose of outdoor Christmas decoration is to spread the joy of the season to every aspect of your home and garden as well as to share it with others who may be driving by. Be sure however, before spreading too much Christmas cheer with neighbors, friends, and family that you are going to be able to handle the bump in electricity costs for the year. To maximize the impact of your outdoor decorating you may need literally thousands of lights. The lights that are affixed to pre formed stands often have a great impact, you can find these in the shapes of angels, Santa, and reindeers quite abundantly; as do nativity scenes and toy trains.

Other popular outdoor Christmas decorations include plastic or fiberglass figurines that are lit either from within or behind. These figurines come in many shapes and sizes and depict characters that are both Biblically and secularly related to Christmas. Some common characters and figures you will find in this style are Santa, candy canes, elves, reindeer, nativity scenes, angels, shepherds, and three wise men.

The nativity scene, that for many signifies the complete and total meaning of Christmas, is by far the most often seen lawn ornament of the holiday season. The nativity scene is a visual representation of the birth of Christ. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are the three mainstays of the nativity scene, but there are often the three wise men, an angel, a couple of shepherds, and various animals to represent the farm animals.

From simple wooden carved nativity scenes to those highlighted with brightly colored blinking lights, there is something to suit almost every decorative taste as far as nativity scenes go. If money is an object, and around the holidays it is for most of us, you can try the cardboard cut out nativity scenes that are lit from a single light in the front. If you really want to be creative you can try for one of the snowfall light boxes that uses a rotary wheel that plays on the light in order to create a 'snow fall' effect on your nativity scene.

Relatively new to the outdoor Christmas decoration scene and a huge hit with the kiddos are the giant inflatable decorations. I have seen these represent snowmen, Santa, even Snoopy and the kids all point, stare, and have these really big, silly grins when they see them. While this particularly outdoor Christmas decoration is definitely a show stopper, by far, the best feature about this one is that it folds down really small when it comes time to pack and store it away until next Christmas.

About the Author

Chucky Anderson invites you to GetChristmasShopping. Looking for more information on xmas light displays, then find more info at our section on Xmas Lights at GetChristmasShopping.

The Three Biggest Advantages Of Plastic Christmas Trees

The Three Biggest Advantages Of Plastic Christmas Trees by Mads Petterson


A wonderful kind of artificial trees are the plastic or artificial Christmas trees. Since around 1950 it has been possible to choose between trees from the nature and the far more convenient plastic trees. Today most plastic trees look perfectly natural, but in the beginning the looked very strange. The first plastic Christmas trees were made using the same machinery as people used to make toilet brushes, so it's easy to see why the first plastic trees looked very strange.

The best thing about plastic trees is probably that they do not drop their needles, so there will be no need to clean constantly during the holidays. In addition, most plastic Christmas trees can easily be taken apart and packed away. Thereby it is possible to use the same plastic trees year after year and it is not unheard of the some high quality trees can last twenty years or more.

Safety is another advantage with plastic Christmas trees. We have all heard about tragic disasters where a natural tree catches fire and makes homes burn down on Christmas eve. Plastic trees might be covered with a fire retardant, so they don't catch fire as easily as natural trees and are thereby far more safe.

Finally, there are many different types of plastic Christmas trees available. You can get them in almost any size you want and they can be either natural green, white or wonderfully frosted and flocked.

Personally I prefer the frosted and flocked trees, but most of them look great if you take care and don't by the cheapest trees you can find. As with many other things, the quality of plastic trees follow the price. Don't expect a cheap plastic tree to last forever (and don't expect it to look as good as a more expensive tree - it's not only the quality that follows the price).

About the Author

Mads Petterson prefers plastic Christmas trees in favor of natural trees. He runs the website Artificial Tree Info with lots of information about plastic trees.

Plan Now To Save Money And Time This Christmas

Plan Now To Save Money And Time This Christmas by Sue Barnard


It is still only September, but now is the perfect time to make some preparations for Christmas and save your time and money.

Firstly I'll give you some tips on how to save money in a variety of ways and generate some extra spending power for your Christmas treats.

Next I'll give you some time-saving tips to make all that extra spending as convenient as possible and by the end of October you'll be ready and prepared and looking forward to a relaxing Christmas time with your family and friends.

So first to money and how you can boost your budget for Christmas preparations and presents. The best way to save money is to cut back on your spending and the easiest way to do that is to focus on the money you spend on things that you wish you didn't! Things like credit cards bills, insurance, loans, household bills, car expenses etc. All those things that are seen as essentials, but they drain your cash at an alarming rate. What if you were able to cut those expenses by just 10%? I don't doubt that just that small saving will provide a significant increase to your Christmas budget.

Let's look at interest payments - a big drain on your resources if you have some debts. Mortgages and loans are a common feature of many household budgets. When was the last time you looked at your mortgage arrangements? If it was more than two years ago, then now could be an ideal time to review your mortgage deal and look around for a new one if appropriate. You could have a new arrangement in place by the end of October if you start now - and you could be saving a few hundred pounds every month if you on a particularly poor deal at the moment - just think, that could add almost a thousand pounds to your Christmas budget over the next 3 months.

Next, credit cards - if you have any debt at all on your credit cards and are being charged interest, then look around now for an interest-free balance transfer deal. As long as you don't spend any new money on that card, you will cut those interest payments to zero for the next few months - even more cash in your pocket. There is another important side effect of this strategy too - if you need to use your credit card for some Christmas essential spending, then if you have found a deal that offers a zero or low rate on new spending too, you'll be saving even more money.

Insurance next. I've noticed that household insurance has been creeping up in price over the last few years. It was always seen as a low cost item and renewed without much thought, but I'm spending over £700 per year on this expense and I've only ever claimed once in the last 20 years - surely there must be a cheaper way? You'll be pleased to know that there is! The home insurance marketplace is extremely competitive, with all companies trying very hard to attract new customers. Get on the internet and fill out a few quote requests - you may get a pleasant surprise and save yourself another couple of hundred pounds.

Next let's look at time. We've often left our Christmas preparations too late and ended up rushing around the shops at the last minute, struggling through the crowds and finding that all the best items have sold out. Wouldn't it be nice if you had all your plans in place and could spend those final few days enjoying the Christmas atmosphere without the stresses of last-minute shopping spoiling the fun? Well with a little planning now, that could be you. I've just come back from a shopping trip to London and throuroughly enjoyed my day out Christmas shopping in September! I've just taken a half day off work during the week and visited all the big department stores in comfort and peace. Harrods, Hamleys, Harvey Nichols - all in relaxed surroundings and no crowds. I had a reasonable list of people and ideas and went looking for items and more ideas, plis I was intent on enjoying myself. The stores were almost empty, the staff very helpful and the cafés had plenty of space for my frequent breaks. I came back with a bunch of great presents and a heap of further ideas for other presents. I now intend to purchase the remainder of my Christmas list using the internet from the comfort of my own home. I'll save some more money and if I do that now, I won't have to worry about Christmas delivery schedules.

Plan ahead, plan well and plan to have a peaceful and relaxing time this Christmas.

About the Author

Sue Barnard authors consumer information for a variety of money saving and personal finance websites. More of her work can be seen on this personal loans website and this cheap loans website.

Christmas Decorations Tips

Christmas Decorations Tips by Sean Carter


People are going crazy in collecting metals and all forms of glass items. The aim is to decorate the Christmas trees and other items. Who would like to put up a plain green colored Christmas tree?

One can go for glass, metal, wood, or ceramic items for the decoration. The shops are ready with all sorts of decorative items but people also love to try out their hands in making them at homes. It is around this time the family gets the chance to meet their closed ones and they start enjoying the Christmas spirit as they get involved with the decorations.

"Fairy" or "Twinkle" lights are the most popular ones for Christmas decorations. They are strands of electric lights meant for the decoration of homes. Christmas trees can be decorated with unique configuration of colors. We had different shaped bulbs in the past. The trend was to paint those bulbs in order to get various shades of lights. Glass ornaments were also designed in the similar manner. Metal reflectors were also in use for the next few years. Miniature lights had always been a very popular item for decorations. They can be either plastic or pure glass. Previously, Christmas trees were illuminated by candles. Modern lights are attractive but one must be sure about the rules of using them. Any minor mistake can lead to a disaster. Common men must be given a basic knowledge of fuse and line voltage so that they can handle them safely.

You must be tearing your hairs and could not think of any better idea than you had last year on how to decorate your home. This time you can go for home made mistletoes and Christmas candles. Christmas is all about sharing and caring and so just sit with your family and try to make attractive decorative items. Innovative ideas can drive you mad and this is the high time when one can make cute teddies for the occasion. The aim is to make your home colorful and the best way to do this is to change your dull curtains. Hanging Christmas stockings from the wall or shelves is another innovative idea.

Those who love flowers, can go for Christmas roses and daisies for the ornamentation. Christmas flowers are the most popularly used decorative item as it is believed that they bring good spirit and happiness in the household for the coming year. Glass paints are widely used to decorate the dinning table. Colorful ribbons go very well with the stems of wine glasses. The modern trend of ornamentation is on its way to decorate wash rooms with bright colored soap or gel.

Christmas tree is in high demand during this holiday season. Lights and garlands are traditionally used for the ornamentation. Some opt for nautical decorations and that can be best done with shells. They also love to go for palms and oranges for the ornamentations on the branches. People can do whatever their imagination demand but they really do not want to ignore the tradition. There is no hard and fast rule for the ornamentation yet angels are generally put on the top and stars and bells hang from the branches.

Christmas decoration is all about bright colors, lights, bells and stars. One can opt the path of frenzied innovations this time. Get ready to change your curtains or even wash rooms. Christmas markets are ready with all kinds of miniature ornaments and if you don't like them, then you can use your latent creative talent to bring a change in your decorative style.

About the Author

Sean Carter writes on holidays, Christmas and world events. He also writes on family, relationships, Thanksgiving, religion, love and friendship. He is a writer with special interest in ecard industry and writes for 123greetings.com. He is also an active blogger at Christmas