Tree Classics Christmas in July: Host a Milk and Cookies Party in 2 Easy Steps!

In our fifth and final installment of Tree Classics Christmas in July, we give you two easy steps (plus lots of quick tips!) for hosting an amazing milk and cookies party to keep the yuletide spirit alive. You don’t have to wait for Santa to come down the chimney just to enjoy these oven-fresh delights. Gather friends and family this summer for one unforgettable holiday!

Tree Classics Christmas Tree Cookies
Photo from The Tedster via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

Step 1: Bake the Cookies with Your Friends and Family

Let’s face it. It’s more fun to bake when you have friends and family helping you out in the kitchen. It’s also the perfect excuse to try out a tiny pinch of your favorite mouthwatering cookie dough!

Line up the ingredients for your selection of baked goodies and give each baker a corner in your work station. Whip up a batch of the classic chocolate chip cookies using red and green candy morsels or, for the more advanced bakers, a batch of stained glass sugar cookies with a colorful Jolly Rancher center.

QUICK TIP: Don’t forget the cookie cutters and stamps! Make your guests feel right at home by letting them take part in baking goodies with sweet and thoughtful holiday greetings they can exchange with one another.

Another great thing about cookie parties is that everyone can garnish their cookies their own way. For Christmas in July, have red, green, and yellow candy sprinkles, gumdrops, and crushed candy canes ready for your happy helpers to lavish on their baked goodies.

 

Step 2: Serve Up Ice Cold Milk

While waiting for your cookies to bake, you can start serving ice cold milk to your kitchen helpers! Kick off your summer Christmas party with various flavors of milk, such as chocolate and strawberry, and for the figure- and health-conscious, a serving of low-fat and lactose-free milk from your very own milk bar.

Tree Classics Variants
Photo from Joe Shlabotnik via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

QUICK TIP: Instead of using the usual pitcher and glass, fill old-fashioned bottles to add a vintage feel to your summer Christmas party. These wonderful glass bottles can be used later on as a quaint flower vase or container for your trinkets. You can also fill the bottles three hours before the celebration and place them in the chiller. When it’s time for the party, you’ll have your cool drink ready to be paired with your oven-fresh cookies!

 

For friends and family who can’t get enough of those delicious cookies, you can give them extra treats packed in these lovely antique-styled French canning jars. They make classy take-home gifts and nifty containers for other baking ingredients.

 

Tree Classics’ Recommended Treats:

1. Classic Cookie Recipes

A Christmas milk and cookies party in the middle of summer should serve fun and unique treats. This New York Times favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and these colorful Oreo cookie pops are sure to make your celebration all the more special.

Tree Classics Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo from arnold | inuyaki via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

2. Healthy Cookie Recipes

Health-conscious guests need not worry about the fare as you can also serve flourless and sugar-free peanut butter cookies and whole grain low-sugar chocolate cookies with pecans from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Tree Classics Peanut Butter Cookies
Photo from Maggie Hoffman via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Have a merry and memorable Christmas in July with a fun and simple two-step milk and cookies party!

Tree Classics Christmas in July: A Hint of the Holidays in Your Summer Home

Christmas in July is about to reach its final stretch. It’s hard to let go of memories of a great vacation. But why say goodbye to this spectacular holiday? Even after summer, you and your family can capture the warmth of the season with an ethereal beach house look that retains a hint of the holidays. Join Tree Classics as we give you three great tips on how to spruce up your quaint holiday home and cherish memories of Christmas in July.

Tip #1: Decorate a Christmas Tree with Summer Holiday Photos

Summer is no different from the traditional yuletide season when families come together. And what better way to give your summer holiday home that heartwarming feel than by accenting your beloved tree with precious photographs from your family vacation? Our pick for a great Christmas tree in a summer-y home has photos mixed in with traditional yuletide ornaments.


Contemporary Family Room

 

Tip #2: Adorn Your Holiday Home with Nature-inspired Decor

Apart from bringing in a sense of nostalgia with their tree, the homeowners of this contemporary family room keep the atmosphere light by decorating the space with treasures from the surf, sand, and sea. You can use starfish or sea shells and pile them at the center of your dining table. These jagged conch shells, for instance, are set in contrast to the shiny baubles hanging from the beams, creating an unexpectedly eclectic look.

If you want a more relaxed atmosphere, go for subdued tones that remind you of warm sand, then inject color into your space with a few holiday decorations that never go out of fashion. This home highlights a quirky Christmas vibe with the palm and eucalyptus leaves decorative accents that keep the holiday fun going. But it also surprises you with a sea horse light fixture atop the staircase for an exuberant beach house look!


Eclectic Staircase by Menlo Park Media and Bloggers Janet Paik

 

Tip #3: Enjoy the Outdoors with a Summer Holiday Tablescape

Unlike other festive occasions, Christmas in July can take on a more relaxed and relaxing appeal. This tablescape from The Happy Home Blog says it all: you can blend the quaint charm of summer with quirky Christmas ornaments. And with a clean and simple silvery white color scheme, the setup in this home in Australia captures the effervescence of summer with a balance of sparkle – from the holiday decorations – and the invigorating look of fresh summer flowers.


Contemporary Spaces by Sydney Media and Bloggers The Happy Home Blog

 

So who says you have to say goodbye to Christmas in July? With these three simple decorating tips, you can continue to enjoy the ethereal charm of your summer holiday home.

At Home with Tree Classics: 5 Smart Ways to Save Energy

With global warming sending world temperatures to all-time highs (and lows), keeping an energy-efficient home is not simply a matter of choice. It is a must for everybody to cut down their carbon footprint. But amid the sweltering summer heat, how exactly can we make our homes cooler and greener? Here are five smart energy-saving tips from Tree Classic:

Tip 1. Get Rid of Phantom Loads

A phantom load is an electronic device on standby mode. It remains plugged even while it is turned off. Environmental agencies estimate phantom loads make up six to 10% of people’s monthly energy bills. These “energy vampires” include the TV, stereo, microwave oven, clock radio, and even chargers for cellular phones and iPods. Unplug appliances when not in use. To make the task easier, you may want to use a power strip, which allows you to turn off all appliances with a single switch.

Tree Classics energy efficient power strip
Photo by Wickerfurniture via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 

Tip 2. Choose Energy-efficient Devices

Energy Star devices may cost more than their conventional counterparts, but in most cases they will more than make up for that additional cost through substantial energy savings over time. For instance, a qualified Energy Star light bulb consumes about 75% less electricity than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts at least six times longer. When it comes to home computing, laptops can save up to 80% energy, with powerful notebooks only at 30W compared to a 120W desktop PC plus 80W CRT screen.

Tip 3. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Heating and cooling make up the largest energy expense, accounting for 56% of the energy use in the typical American household, says the US Department of Energy (DOE). Cut unnecessary energy consumption by automatically adjusting the temperature in your home to your schedule. The DOE advises to “save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.” A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically set the times you turn on the heating or air conditioning. By encoding a schedule, the equipment does not operate as much when you are asleep or out of the house.

Tip 4. Improve Insulation

Half of the energy used to heat or cool homes is wasted without proper insulation. Un-insulated roofs or ceilings, for instance, can let out up to 45% of the heating and cooling energy we use. Walls and certain types of floors without such feature can lose up to 15% heat in the winter. Make it easier to control the temperature and save energy in the process by improving the insulation in your house. Upgrading insulation is a sound investment, but you can also start simply by sealing off leaks in windows and doors or by having a carpet.

Tip 5. Switch to Fans

Ceiling fans are one of the most energy-efficient devices you can have at home. A 2.5 ton central system consumes about 3,500W while a window A/C unit uses between 500 to 1,500W. But a floor fan needs only 100W as it runs on its highest speed, and a ceiling fan requires only 15 to 95W. Studies also show combining ceiling fans with A/C units and heaters boosts their efficiency, reducing summer cooling bills by up to 46% and winter heating bills by up to 15%.

There are many ways to save energy without having to give up the modern conveniences of using electricity. With these five simple tips, you’re on your way to saving an even bigger home: the entire planet.

Create a Sprawling Garden: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Nothing beats homemade cooking flavored with freshly picked herbs from your own garden. For a convenient way to add culinary flair to your dishes, grow your herbs indoors. Tree Classics’ Create a Sprawling Garden series gives you practical advice on herb gardening to bring freshness straight to your plate!

Choosing a Method

There are different ways you can jumpstart your indoor garden. One of them is by using a hydroponic system. Not only does this soilless method provide your plants with everything they need; it also allows you to set up your garden anywhere in the house. To start, purchase a hydroponic kit, which comes with equipment, special lights, and mineral nutrient solutions that will nourish your plants and stimulate their growth in a safe environment.


Tropical Kitchen by Other Metro Landscape Architects & Designers Savscapes Landscaping Cape Town

 

You can either plant a seed or root a cutting. Herbs like sage, oregano, and rosemary are best prepped for indoor cultivation. Plant a section of their root or stem in a soilless mix. Meanwhile, basil and parsley need to be planted as seeds, although the latter, as well as chives, can also be planted by potting a clump from an existing outdoor plant.

If you have a kitchen window facing either south or east, make the most of it by creating a windowsill herb garden. Bay leaf tree, oregano, rosemary, and most mints are just some of the herbs that are easy to raise on a windowsill. South-facing windows provide your plant with the most sunlight while east-facing ones give you a moderate amount of light (mostly in the morning). Different herbs have varying needs for sunshine, so make sure to find out how much light your herbs require.

Transitioning Indoors

If you are moving an existing outdoor herb garden indoors to prepare for winter, you will need to acclimatize the plants to their new environment first. Gradually introduce them to shaded areas. Instead of directly putting them inside the house, park them in an enclosed porch, an entryway, or a garage. When they have gotten used to it, you can move them to the window where they can receive the most sunshine.


Eclectic Landscape by San Luis Obispo Photographers Jennifer Young

 

Achieving a Balance of Elements

Know how to balance light, temperature, and water. For example, herbs in a clay pot placed on a south -facing windowsill may need more water than plants on an east or west window. Every week, turn each pot around for about a quarter to expose all of the sides of the plant to sunlight. During winter, the air inside your home tends to get dry, especially with artificial heating. Dry air may affect your indoor plants’ growth. As a remedy, spray mist around your plants to keep them from getting brown leaves due to low humidity.

Fertilizing

Your herbs will stay healthy if you fertilize them, but too much of it may keep them from producing the best flavor. Nourish them with fertilizer only once a month, or mix a slow-release plant food into the soil before planting your cuttings or seeds.

Grow your indoor herb garden now and make your meals even more flavorful and special!

Celebrating with Tree Classics: 12 Ways to Christmas in July

If you’re eager to celebrate the holiday season with the exuberance of summer, then you’ll love our ideas for Christmas in July! What better way to cherish all the wonderful memories with friends and family than with a get-together that also lets you soak up the sun. Get ready for some midyear cheer. Fluff your Christmas tree, serve up some eggnog, and kick-start the merrymaking with Tree Classics’ 12 ways to Christmas in July!

12 Ways to Christmas in July