Tree Classics Holiday Guide: Dishes You Can Make Ahead

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be a real challenge. Often, this demands too much work from the home chef and even requires the person to create multiple dishes in only a few hours. One smart way to take the pressure off is to prepare some of your food choices a day or two in advance. To help you prepare for the wonderful feast ahead, Tree Classics has compiled a list of delicious and must-have recipes anyone can prepare the night before Thanksgiving.

a delicious thanksgiving spread

Cranberry Sauce with Champagne and Currants

delicious cranberry sauce with champagne and curant

One of the things that people are looking for during Thanksgiving dinner is the mouthwatering and succulent cranberry sauce. This sweet and sour paste is the classic addition to your smoky and crisp roast turkey. A more elevated variant of this dish is Serious Eats’ cranberry sauce with champagne and currants, which you can make nights before the momentous occasion.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

a yummy freshly-baked pumpkin cheesecake

Desserts can take hours and take up a lot of oven space, so it’s really smart to bake them a day before the actual dinner. One of the deserts that can benefit from being inside a refrigerator overnight is Baking Addiction’s pumpkin cheesecake. This yummy recipe, with its creamy cheese frosting, its autumn-inspired flavor, and crunchy graham cracker base will taste a hundred times better once it’s been chilled to flawless goodness.

Roasted Pumpkin Sage Soup

Soup is the perfect way to start any Thanksgiving meal. Although it looks fairly simple, it does take a lot of work. The best soup simmers for hours and requires a lot of attention and mixing. Naturally, home cooks will find it hard to do this while worrying about a bird in the oven and various other dishes on the stove. This roasted pumpkin soup from Skinny Taste can be chilled the night before and heated up the day after without compromising its appetizing full flavors.

Soul Sweet Taters

a mouthwatering spoonful of sweet potatoes

Another beloved Thanksgiving side dish is sweet potatoes. Their sugary taste is a wonderful contrast with the meat and they immediately remind people of the essences that have usually associated with the holiday season. This takes a lot of squashing and precise flavoring so it’s a good idea to prepare it ahead of time.  Try out these marvelous soul sweet taters from The Pioneer Woman. Its crunch and taste will make it a new favorite among family members.

White Wine Gravy

a zesty bowl of white wine gravy

If you want something more savory than the traditional cranberry sauce, this white wine gravy from The Way the Cookie Crumbles is a delightful zesty alternative that you can make days ahead and even save up for leftovers. Everyone will love the varying dimensions of herbs, spice and sweetness with this tasty turkey match.

Enjoy fine and lip-smacking dishes and have an easier time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving season with these recipe recommendations from Tree Classics.

Photo Credits

Photo by Martin Cathrae via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Photo by Pretty in Print via flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.

Photo by Slice of Chic via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo from The Pioneer Woman

Photo by Slice of Chic via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Tree Classics Holiday Guide: 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Christmas Tree

Selecting the perfect Christmas tree for your home is a difficult task. One has to consider a number of factors before making a decision. Luckily, with the right questions and the right answers, one can find the ideal holiday showpiece. Courtesy of Tree Classics, we’ve compiled a helpful list of frequently asked questions on how to choose a Christmas tree.

A gorgeously lit and elegantly decorated artificial Christmas tree

1. Should I get a live Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree?

Live Trees

  • 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.

Artificial Christmas Trees

  • Artificial trees beautifully capture the profile and look of real evergreens.
  • Fake trees are user-friendly and convenient. They can be bought online and are available in various colors, sizes, and types. Most of them are also prelit – perfect for people who don’t have the time to string lights on their tree.
  • Most artificial trees are fire-proof and hypo-allergenic. Since they are made from synthetic materials, they don’t attract insects.
  • Artificial trees also cost less since they can be used repeatedly for years.
  • Fake trees are also easier to maintain.

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? 

A Classic Fraser Fir Tree from Tree Classics

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.

5. Where should I buy my Christmas tree?

Christmas tree farms are still your best bet for live Christmas trees. These establishments guarantee that all of their evergreens are freshly harvested. Best of all, consumers can take a look around, check the trees for themselves, and even have their choice evergreen cut or trimmed on the spot.

A grand display at a christmas tree market

For artificial Christmas trees, Tree Classics is an excellent and top-notch choice. Tree Classics provides a wide variety of artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, lights, and holiday ornaments for everyone’s yuletide decorating needs. Best of all, it provides a wide selection of types and sizes perfect for any home.

Tree Classics is also proud of its Real Feel™ technology, which accurately captures the appearance of live trees found in evergreen forests.

6. 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.

7. 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.

If you want your tree to have a bit more life, consider adorning it with Christmas lights, which are also available on the Tree Classics website. 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.

8. What kind of Christmas lights work best?

Consumers traditionally use C7, C8, and C9 lights for their holiday needs; however, these types of bulbs quickly overheat and easily burn out. At present, most consumers prefer LED lights. These nifty alternatives cast a brighter light compared to their counterparts. They also don’t overheat, making them the safer choice. Best of all, they’re energy-efficient, which means they cost less money in the long run.

9. What kind of ornaments work best?

Frosted Candy Cane Ornaments from Tree Classics

Ornaments made from plastic, resin, fiber, or silk are great choices. They’re durable and won’t get destroyed if ever they fall off the tree. Paper is out of the question. These can be destroyed and may even pose a fire hazard since they burn easily. That being said, lit candles are not advisable. Finally, glass decorations should also be avoided. These shatter and may cause harm to family members.

10. What kind of tree topper should I use?

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.

With these helpful and smart tips from Tree Classics, you’ll have the information you need to buy the Christmas tree of your dreams.

Photo credits

Photo by bambe1964 via flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.

Photo by Sherene via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by WoofBC via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

How to Decorate an Autumn Country Kitchen

Autumn brings an unmistakable rustic charm that’s simply breathtaking! With a few adjustments and a couple of additions, you can bring this traditional appeal into your very own country kitchen. Here are some inspiring decorating ideas to give your kitchen a warm pastoral charisma:

Pumpkins and Gourds on Your Shelves 

pumpkins and gourds on cabinets and mantels
Photo 1 and 2 from Houzz

Pumpkins and gourds exhibit the colors of autumn vibrantly. By adding these natural decorations, you can bring the colors of the fall landscape into your space. Place these on your shelves or nook. Pair these with orange candles or dried leaves.

A Bowl of Potpourri on Your Counter 

dried potpourri can bring a fragrant atmosphere to your home

You can also breathe in the fragrance of the countryside! A bowl of freshly dried potpourri fills rooms with the soothing aromas of autumn and adds a touch of bright hues in minimalist areas. Best of all, it eliminates various odors brought on after cooking.

Candles in Glass Cylinders

glass cases with a candle stick and nuts and beans
 Photo 1 and 2 from Houzz 

One fine way to bring fall’s rustic colors into your kitchen is to take a glass cylinder, fill it with various types of nuts and beans, and stick in a candle. This provides subtle accent lighting to accentuate your homely space.

candles can create an ideal mood that go well with family dinners

Pumpkin candles on your breakfast nook are also a delightful choice. The soft radiance from these items is ideal for setting a warm mood during evening meals with the family.

Autumn’s Lovely Blooms in the Corner of Your Kitchen 

autumn flowers paired with a pumpkin spicd candle

Fresh flowers create a cheerful atmosphere in your space. This is especially needed for stuffy kitchens. Chrysanthemums, heleniums, and sunflowers in a corner of your kitchen give your room a dab of vibrancy that many will find quaint and pleasant.

Bring autumn’s country charm into your precious kitchen space with these design inspirations from Tree Classics.

Tree Classics Salutes Our Military Heroes

The bravery of men and women who serve our country inspires all of us at Tree Classics. In celebration of Veterans Day, we are commemorating their heroism in our own simple way.

Tree Classics's Tree for Our HeroesHeroes Camouflage Christmas Tree

We designed our Heroes Camouflage Christmas Tree as a tribute to our unsung military heroes. The unique foliage features camouflage colors and is made from 100% premium and flame-retardant PVC. Standing tall in a proud area of your home, this wonderful statement tree brings an atmosphere of gallantry and patriotism that will encourage all who see it to cultivate the same values.

The Heroes' Christmas Tree Up Close

Our 7-foot camouflage Christmas tree not only commemorates the selflessness of men and women in the armed forces; it also instills in children the important contribution of our soldiers to the peace and security of our nation.

Parents can share a wonderful moment with the kids: they decorate this tree with ornaments patterned after insignia worn by our heroes. This is also a marvelous time to teach kids a bit of American history or perhaps your own family legacy if you or a relative has ever been called to defend the country.

A Star Adornment for your Tree
Modern Holiday Decorations by Other Metro Furniture and Accessories Crate&Barrel

Have fun placing small paper flags between the branches. Silver stars and military dog tags can also make for unique ornaments.

Display the camouflage Christmas tree in honor of those in the military service. And rekindle the message of bravery and selflessness espoused by our heroes.

Films that Honor American Heroes

Heroism and patriotism have always been a favorite subject in film. These narratives are a wonderful way to remind people about the importance of struggling against injustice and defending our community and country against all that threaten them. At the same time, these narratives also honor the bravery and sacrifices made by the people who chose to fight for what is right. Here are five American films that pay tribute to our modern day heroes:

All the President’s Men (1976) 

the film poster for Alan Pakula's All the President's Men

Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men focuses on one of America’s most talked about controversy: the Watergate Scandal. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford play Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two journalists who try to uncover the secrets behind the strange burglary at the Watergate complex. Aided by a secret informant, who calls himself Deep Throat, the investigation leads the two newsmen to a startling discovery that might compromise the integrity of the president and the administration. Based on real-life events, this movie shows Bernstein’s and Woodward’s unbreakable commitment to the truth, to journalistic integrity, and to what they owe the public.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July is part of Oliver Stone’s trilogy of films about the Vietnam War. This critically acclaimed movie takes the subject matter out of the deadly battlefield and brings it to the home front, in the invisible war that the media did not cover. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, a soldier taken out of the war zone due to injuries sustained during combat. In his hometown, the audience becomes witness to his difficulty in adjusting to the life he once knew before seeing everything he had seen in Vietnam. He finally gets his bearings, realizes that he does not want what he experienced to happen to anyone, and joins a coalition protesting against the war. The film is a testament to the horrors of war while honoring the men and women who would put themselves in the line of fire for their country.

The American President (1995) 

Rob Reiner's The American President

Rob Reiner’s The American President is an enthralling look into the life and responsibilities of the world’s most powerful man. Written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, this film focuses on President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, as he deals with re-election, a debate over a crime bill, the conflict in the Middle East, and an impending environmental crisis, while trying to make a relationship work with a liberal lobbyist. The film expertly showcases the dedication of a man in his efforts to improve a country and his willingness to sacrifice his personal happiness for the betterment of the electorate.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan

Considered a modern-day masterpiece, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is a breathtaking and harrowing account of a small band of soldiers under orders to retrieve and bring home Private James Ryan, a paratrooper who had lost three of his brothers in World War II. With uncertainty, the soldiers plunge head-on into enemy territories, risking life and limb just to save one man. This film exhibits the bravery of our soldiers fighting out of the country and their dedication even in the face of death.

United 93 (2006)

Paul Greengrass' United 93

One of the most heartbreaking movies in our list, United 93 takes a look at the greatest tragedy of our times. On September 11, 2001, against the threat of an attack on US soil, the passengers of United 93 bond together and stop the nefarious plans of the Al Qaeda. Armed with nothing but their bravery, without any military training whatsoever, they fight off the terrorists and bring the plane down, just so they could save the capital from an act of violence designed to take hundreds of lives. This movie is beautiful and stands as an inspiring reminder that everyone can make a difference.

Remember the heroism of our dear countrymen with these stirring and inspiring film recommendations from Tree Classics.