Archive for September, 2010

Tips on Decorating Your Artificial Christmas Tree

No Comments »Written on September 30th, 2010 by
Categories: Christmas Blog

Although many people look forward to decorating their artificial Christmas tree, others just see it as a chore. Love it or loathe it, it has to be done so to make things as easy as they can be, here are a few tips.

Before you choose and artificial Christmas tree, check out all the options because some are available with lights. For trees like this, all you need to do to ‘decorate’ them is to plug them in. You can choose between  fibre optic trees, trees with just lights or even completely decorated trees. The problem many consumers have with trees like these is that they lack personality and individuality. A solution is to add personal decorations to a prelit tree.

If you have bought a plain artificial Christmas tree which is ready to be decorated from scratch, one of the first considerations will be the lighting. You should choose between either lighting in various colours or just one. Whatever you do, please don’t ignore the most important piece of advice there is about Christmas lights: check that they work before you place them onto the tree. There is simply nothing more frustrating than taking care to place your lights exactly as you want them on your tree to find that one bulb has gone and caused the entire chain to be broken.

When it comes to the decorations themselves, put the larger ones on the bigger branches towards the bottom of the tree. Not only does this balance the tree better, but it looks better too. After all, it makes sense that the larger, stronger branches will be better at holding the heavier baubles.

Generally, people decide to use a theme for the decoration of their artificial Christmas tree. This helps to stop the tree becoming a multi-coloured eyesore. So try and choose a tasteful colour scheme and stick to it. But remember that Christmas is a family time and there is no harm in personalising the decorations with homemade decorations which have been lovingly made by the kids.

Holiday Cooking: Keeping It Simple

No Comments »Written on September 30th, 2010 by
Categories: Christmas Blog

 As with any major event, the holidays bring a lot of stress to those that host the main events at their house. Normally, when we think of “the holidays” we are thinking about holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each of these holidays is usually celebrated with a big feast at someone’s house.

 While many of us enjoy the holiday food, we don’t notice how much work the host or hostess actually puts into the occasion. Unless, of course, you are the host! If you have ever hosted a large group for a holiday celebration, then you know exactly how much work it can be. Usually, the day of the event, you are pretty stressed out and just ready for it to be finished.

Well, when you are in charge of cooking a big holiday meal, there are several things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you have on the big day. Below are a few helpful tips.

 Set the Table in Advance. One of the biggest issues in regards to planning a holiday meal for a large group of people is making room for everyone and getting the table set. So, eliminate the problem and do it a few days in advance. You can easily get a rough idea of how many people will be attending your dinner. Then set up the appropriate amount of tables and chairs and then complete it by setting out the place settings with the glasses and silverware. Then, all that’s left is to place the food on the table the day of the dinner!

Prepare Food the Night Before. While you won’t want to cook the turkey or the ham the night before the festivities, it is possible to bake some of the other food the night before. Things like mashed potatoes, green beans and pies can all be prepared early. This will save you the headache of trying to cook everything all at once. It will also help you keep your kitchen in a more presentable manner on the day of the feast! When you are preparing food the night before, take the time to do any prep work that you can for the dishes you will be preparing the next day to help save time.

Prepare Extra Water and Tea Pitchers. One of the qualities of a good hostess is that she makes sure her guests’ needs are always met. This means that the hostess is aware of her guests’ beverages. Often times, the hostess isn’t able to enjoy the meal because she is consumed with making sure everyone has ample amounts of tea and water. To help save time, consider sitting an extra pitcher of tea and water on a small table, off to the side of each end of the dinner table. This will provide guests with the extra drinks they need and allow you to enjoy your meal at the same time!

The Tradition of Christmas Carols

There are two beliefs about the origins of Christmas carols and caroling. The first is that caroling started in England when wandering musicians traveled from town to town to visit castles and other homes of the rich and give impromptu performances. The second belief is that singing carols at Christmas came from the group of angels, shepherds and wise men who visited Jesus at his birth, as they sang praises unto Him and then continued their proclamations in the street.

The origin of the word carol, however, doesn’t come from either of these traditions. Scholars believe the word derived from ‘caroller,’ which is a French word to describe a circle dance with singers.

christmas carolsFrom the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, the carol was highly popular as a dance song. Carols later became part of festivals, where they were sung as processional songs, while others were used as part of religious plays in Europe. Traditional qualities of a carol included the idea that the words should celebrate a seasonal topic, the music should have have verses and a chorus arranged alternately, and the music should be suitable for dancing.

Many of the Christmas carols we still sing during the holidays are very old, but many others have been lost forever. During the 17th century Protestant Reformation, many Christmas carols were banned and never heard again. The ones that that survived didn’t become popular again until the mid-19th century.

Today, Christmas carols are popular throughout the Christmas season at shopping malls and other retail stores, and are sung by churches, schools, and other groups. And they still serve the original purpose of bringing joy during the holidays!