The Christmas Pickle

The Christmas Pickle

It is a quaint tradition that nobody wants to claim. And its story would not be the first tradition of Christmas born of a total fabrication. It is the little-known tradition of the Christmas pickle. The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all. It is a pickle-shaped ornament that is the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to find the Christmas pickle gets an extra gift from Saint Nicholas. Or so the so-called legend goes. There are two other versions of the origins of the Christmas pickle. One is a family story of a Bavarian-born ancestor who fought in the American Civil War. A prisoner in poor health and starving, he beggedRead more

Tips for Keeping Your Cut Tree Fresh

Tips for Keeping Your Cut Tree Fresh

By Fran Holmes Buy your tree early in the season. Why? Christmas trees that are bought from a tree lot are all cut at the same time. The longer your tree sits in the lot, the longer it goes without water and the drier it gets. Try to select a tree from a lot that has lots of shade and shelter from the wind. Cut trees standing in sun and wind, lose a lot of moisture. When you select your tree, look for a tree that is a healthy green. Avoid trees that have lots of brown needles or whose needles fall off at the slightest touch. Shake the tree and see if it loses a large amount of greenRead more

Ten Tips for the First-Time Christmas Lights Hanger

Ten Tips for the First-Time Christmas Lights Hanger

By Brad Knight My first experience in hanging Christmas lights taught me a lot of lessons. Newly married and mostly broke, we did not even have the money to get a tree. So I decided to surprise my bride by outlining our basement apartment window with a string of Christmas lights. I bought them at a local drug store for 88 cents. It was a near disaster. The lights were intended for indoor use only and I put them on the outside of the window. Everything was fine until a stormy gust of wind blew the connected extension cord (which was also rated for indoor use only) into a small puddle of water in the dirt. We were watching someRead more

Decorating with Wreaths

Decorating with Wreaths

By Jeanette DiCamillo No matter where you look during the season, artificial Christmas wreaths adorn every door, window, and lamp post. Christmas wreaths are one of the most popular decoration items for Christmas as they work well with other greenery decorations like garland. On top of that, they can match the Christmas tree and tie a whole design theme together indoors and out. Christmas wreaths and garland are available in many different types. Prelit greenery is available, as well as unlit for those who want to customize their greenery, or prefer to leave the lights for the tree. Pre-decorative wreaths and garland often include pinecones, berries, glitter and picks, and flocked or frosted greenery gives the illusion of snow. MeasuringRead more

Using Outdoor Decorations in a Fantastical Christmas Theme

Using Outdoor Decorations in a Fantastical Christmas Theme

By Jeanette DiCamillo When Christmas enthusiasts plan their outdoor Christmas decorations, they are planning with the heart of a child. These hearts radiate inside when the glow of Christmas lights up ahead can be seen from within a dark car, looming with promises of personal touches and festive traditions. Each Christmas enthusiast tries to recreate this fantastical image for other kids and adults, understanding that some of the greatest joys of the holiday are the late night and early morning car rides, and the passing of a well lit Christmas home. How do these artists of outdoor Christmas decor, these designers of lighted snowflakes, and these carpenters of holiday scenery manage to create such imaginative schemes? Do they coordinate withRead more

Decorating with Rope Lights

Decorating with Rope Lights

By Jeanette DiCamillo Rope light offers a unique light display that can be used for holiday lighting, as well as every day lighting and design. Rope light is best described as a sort of tube lighting, featuring either pure tungsten filaments or LED bulbs encased in durable PVC tubing. Rope light is available in long spools that can be cut to custom sizes, or as pre-cut rope light kits that are ready to plug in and light. If you think you have never seen rope light, think again. Rope lighting is probably used in every parade that has ever consisted of lighted floats, it is tucked in alcoves and behind furniture in fine homes, outlines bars, pool areas, and theaterRead more

How to Properly Light Your Christmas Tree

How to Properly Light Your Christmas Tree

By Fran Holmes Christmas tree lights come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to great effect in creating a truly sparkling Christmas tree that will be remembered for years to come. The big question is, “How do you go about lighting it properly?” First of all, decide what type of light you would like the tree to project. Do you want a soft glow or a tree that lights up the room? Soft glow can be produced with globe lights or bubble lights. Incandescent bulbs and bright mini lights will create an eye-catching, festive glow. Incandescent bulbs generate heat and allow a real tree to emit the fragrant aroma of pine. However, one should be aware thatRead more

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

By Jeff Westover Two words: parasite and dung. One today can hardly believe the association of these two words with something so romantically quaint as mistletoe is now in our Christmas traditions. So let the reader beware. What follows may cause you to reconsider a symbol of the season so lovingly cherished by many. Mistletoe, in a clinical definition, is a parasitic plant. It grows in the tops of oak trees and has roots that dig under the bark of its host, slowly sapping it of nutrients and life. The common name of the plant comes from the ancient belief that mistletoe propagated from bird droppings. In ancient times it was a widely accepted principle that life could spring spontaneouslyRead more