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How To Select The Perfect Christmas Tree

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Step 1: Choose the Right Tree
christmas tree with ornaments and lightsSelecting the perfect tree is essential when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Get the best tree you can to ensure it lasts and looks great the entire holiday season. There are a lot of Christmas tree options out there from which to choose. Here are some examples of the most common trees out there at hardware stores and garden centers.

  • Douglas Fir. These are the most common trees available. The trees are tall, slender and aromatic and their needles are short, soft and bluish-green. They need plenty of water to avoid shedding.
  • Scotch Pine. Another common tree type. Scotch pines are the #1 sold Christmas tree in the U.S. They have very sturdy branches and also retain their needles better and last longer than some species. Needles are dark green.
  • Blue Spruce. These trees have stiff needles that are a silvery green color. When watered adequately, these trees can last for a month and still look great.
  • Fraser Fir. An attractive tree with green-and-silver, two-toned needles with good needle retention. Often referred to as the “no shed” tree.

If you are cutting your own Christmas tree, there are likely many tree farms in your area that will allow you to choose a tree and cut it down yourself. If you’ll be cutting your own, be sure you leave the house with a hand saw, some twine, a blanket for when you strap the tree to your vehicle and some gloves to protect your hands.

If you will be buying a pre-cut tree, make sure it is freshly cut. Touch the needles and branches to see if a significant amount comes off in your hand. Lightly bang the base of the tree on the ground; if an excessive amount of needles falls off, the tree is not fresh. Test the limbs to see if they are sturdy enough to hold the weight of ornaments. Also, if the tree is fresh, you should be able to smell the tree’s fragrance easily. The tree should be a dark green color all over with no areas of brown needles. Check to be sure that the bottom of the tree trunk is sticky with resin. Needles should not break when bent between your fingers. As when cutting down a tree yourself, bring twine and a blanket for strapping the tree to the top of your car, if you don’t have a truck or similar vehicle with room to stow the tree for the trip to your home.

 

  • Step 2: Find the Right Spot

    Find the right location for your tree. A little forethought will help avoid any problems once you have your tree and start decorating for Christmas. Take the time to measure the dimensions of your room. Use a measuring tape to check the height, bearing in mind the dimensions of your tree stand. It’s a good idea to leave at least 6″ from the ceiling to the top of your tree. Don’t forget to ensure that the room is wide enough for the size of tree you want if you’re going to place the tree in a corner or alcove. Write these measurements down. Take your tape measure with you when you go to purchase the tree to be sure the Christmas tree you select will fit.

    When you get your new tree home, be sure to put it into a bucket of water as you prepare to erect it. Don’t place the tree in high-traffic areas where it could get knocked over by children or pets, or where your family could trip over tree light electrical cords. Trees are usually best placed in a corner or in front of a window for optimal effect.

    Safety Alert!

    Never place your Christmas tree near a heat source, such as a radiator or fireplace, as this can present a fire hazard.

    Helpful Tip

    Consider anchoring the tree to a wall with a thin rope or heavy-duty string and an eyebolt as an added safety feature to help stabilize the tree. You can use this safety feature and easily hide it so it doesn’t detract from your tree’s appearance.

  • Step 3: Give It Water

    Water your tree daily to keep your tree alive. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. The average tree can soak up to a gallon of water a day. When choosing a tree stand, be sure to find out how much water the stand holds when a tree is in it. Consider using Tree Preserve, a water additive that extends the life of the tree, keeps it greener longer, and helps prevent the needles from drying out. Remember, a thriving tree stays green longer and it makes it less of a safety hazard, as water keeps the tree moist and more fire-resistant.

    Safety Alerts!

    A dry tree can be a fire hazard. Before stringing lights on the tree, make sure the bulbs and the light string itself is in working order and intact without fraying or tears. Use lights rated for indoor use only. Do not place the tree directly in front of a heat or air conditioning duct as this will dry out the needles faster.

    When the tree is plugged in, be careful when watering to avoid electric shock.

  • Step 4: Decorate It

    Decorate the tree the way you want. This is the fun part! When adding lights to your Christmas tree, work from the inside, close to the tree trunk and out toward the tips of the branches. When you reach the tip of a branch, wrap your way back toward the trunk. Mini lights and C7 Christmas lights are typically used to decorate indoor trees.

    Helpful Tip

    Consider using LED holiday lights. They’re more efficient than regular light strings and don’t put off as much heat.

  • Step 5: Recycle It

    Dispose of your tree properly after the holiday season—don’t just throw out your tree with the trash. Recycle or mulch it yourself. Many municipalities have recycling centers where you can take your tree or have it picked up for recycling. Check with your local officials to see what options are available.

    Happy holidays! With good care, a Christmas tree can easily stay fresh for a month or even longer.

 

Front Porch Ideas For Thanksgiving

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The great thing with Halloween and Thanksgiving in succession is that you can put up fall decorations for both occasions. In fact, with added garden lights and Hollies, it can go all the way until Christmas. Pumpkins and autumn plant colors also give a rustic charm to a Thanksgiving garden–which how this Holiday should always be through the years.

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Nothing says welcome to your guests better than a well-decorated front porch or door. Having some potted Chrysanthemums in handy for a quick and easy design will help.

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Keep the spirit of Thanksgiving in the air with a display of your garden harvests. Even dried up corn stalks can add to the feel of a good harvest this season.

How To Choose The Perfect Christmas Tree

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A gorgeously lit and elegantly decorated artificial Christmas tree

 

1. Why purchase a live Christmas tree?

Live trees are the classic choice for the holidays. They offer a fresh and crisp profile and have that familiar scent and feel that remind people of the season.

  • Live trees are all-natural. They are biodegradable.
  • Unfortunately, live trees attract insects that can be a nuisance to your home.
  • These trees also shed needles, which can be a hassle to clean up.
  • Finally, these trees need to be maintained. To keep them fresh, their tree stand must be constantly filled with water.

2. What should I be on the lookout for when buying trees?

It’s important to consider the branches and needles before making a purchase. See if they are durable and can carry all your precious holiday ornaments. Also take a look at the profile of the tree. Make sure you purchase something that’s lush and with ample space for all your holiday adornments.

3. How tall should my Christmas tree be? 

Height is an important factor to consider. After all, no one really wants a tree that’s too tall or too short. Before leaving your house or going online to shop, take a tape measure, and gauge the distance between your ceiling and your floor. The height of the tree should be at least a foot lower than your ceiling. If you plan on using a tree topper, factor in its height as well.

4. How wide should my Christmas tree be?

Measure the floor area of your chosen location as well. When allocating space for the width of your Christmas tree, there should be at least a foot of distance between the walls and your holiday tree.

A grand display at a christmas tree market

5. What’s the perfect location for my Christmas tree?

Foyers and living rooms are always an ideal location for your Christmas tree. These are usually settings with a lot of foot traffic.

Go for rooms people use for gatherings and celebrations. Make sure that your tree is far from heat sources, such as air vents and fireplaces. This will significantly reduce the chances of accidents.

It’s also important to place your tree in a location where it won’t block the way. Corners or areas close to the wall are great choices. Put your tree in a place where there is a lot of space around it.

6. What accessories will my tree need?

First, your tree needs a stable and sturdy stand. Make sure to purchase a stand that resists rust and will prevent the tree from falling over with the slightest push or tug.

Ornaments are never a bad idea. These decorations bring an air of festivity to any space. Pick out a theme before going out and purchasing these fine holiday accents. Lastly, think about getting a tree topper to complete your Christmas scheme.

A wonderful star Christmas tree topper

Tree toppers are a great way to make a statement about what Christmas means to you and your family. Choose a top ornament that complements your tree and holiday decorative theme. Don’t choose a heavy tree topper. This might cause the whole tree to topple over.

 

How to Measure For Christmas Wreaths and Garland

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Christmas Wreaths

The size of wreath needed for your front entrance really depends on the look you want. For a bold and festive feel, go large! If you prefer a more reserved look, choose a smaller size.

For a standard 36 inch wide front door, add dramatic impact with a wreath 28 inches to 30 inches in diameter. On the other hand, a wreath 20 inches to 24 inches in diameter creates a classic, understated look.

For oversized doors, we recommend a 30 inch to 36 inch diameter wreath. This large size will carry the appropriate scale in relation to the front door.

Typically, the larger the wreath, the higher you should hang it on the door. Since large wreaths usually weigh more than small wreaths, be sure to use a sturdy metal hanger or a securely fastened nail rather than plastic hanging fixtures.

What to do with miniature wreaths? Use your imagination! Decorate door knobs, candleholders, bureau knobs, and other place you happen to notice needs a little sprucing up for the holidays.

If you don’t wish to put a nail in your door, there are alternatives – try an over the door hanger or the 3M Adhesive Hangers all of which are available at your local home improvement store or local craft store. It is a great way to hang a wreath without damaging the door.

 

Christmas Garland

Measure Holiday Greenery

Measuring an arched door for garland.

The trick is to make sure you have enough garland to accommodate the top arch. We have a simple solution for this.

  • HEIGHT – Measure from the ground to the top of the door, then double the number to account for both sides. Example: 10-ft. H door x 2 = 20 feet
  • WIDTH – Measure from the outside trim of the door across to the other side, then calculate one-and-a-half times the width to cover the arch. Example: 10-ft. W door x 1.5 = 15 feet
  • TOTAL – Add the HEIGHT measurement and the WIDTH measurement for the total amount of garland needed. Example: 20 feet (HEIGHT) + 15 feet (WIDTH) = 35 feet of garland

Add one foot to your total if you’d like the garland to puddle at the bottom.

Measuring a standard door or double doors for garland.

Simple math is all that’s required to be sure you have enough garland for your front entrance. This solutions works for double doors as well. Just be sure to measure the width across both doors, including trim.

  • HEIGHT – Measure from the ground to the top of the door, then double the number to account for both sides. Example: 10-ft. H door x 2 = 20 feet
  • WIDTH – Measure from the outside trim of the door across to the other side. In our example, the door is 4 feet wide.
  • TOTAL – Add the HEIGHT measurement and the WIDTH measurement for the total amount of garland needed. Example: 20 feet (HEIGHT) + 4 feet (WIDTH) = 24 feet of garland

Add one foot to your total if you’d like the garland to puddle at the bottom.

Staircase Decorated with Garland

Measuring a staircase banister or mantel to swag garland.

To swag garland down a staircase banister or across the mantel, use the same strategy as above. Measure the LENGTH of the banister or the WIDTH of the mantel, then calculate one-and-a-half times that dimension. Example: 6-ft. W mantel x 1.5 = 9 feet of garland.  Many of you want to know whether garland should drape over the sides of the mantel or not?  Well, there are no hard-fast rules when it comes to hanging garland.  It is up to you.  Whatever you want to do – go for it!  Hang garland the way you like it.

Measuring a staircase banister or mantle to swag garland.

To swag garland down a staircase banister or across the mantel, use the same strategy as above. Measure the LENGTH of the banister or the WIDTH of the mantel, then calculate one-and-a-half times that dimension. Example: 6-ft. W mantel x 1.5 = 9 feet of garland

Measuring a staircase banister to wrap garland.

Measure the LENGTH of the staircase and the HEIGHT of the newel post from the handrail to the floor. Simply add the 2 dimensions and double that number. Example: 10-ft. L staircase + 3-ft. H newel post = 13 feet x 2 = 26 feet of garland

If all of this seems too complicated, use a ball of string, wrapping it as you would the garland. When you have the look you want, pull the string off and measure it with a tape measure. It can be that simple!