How to Plan a Classy New Year’s Party

There’s no better way to say farewell to the year that was and celebrate the arrival of a new one than with the company of family and friends. On December 31, pay tribute to endings and welcome new beginnings by having a marvelous and classy New Year’s Eve party. Here’s a quick guide on how to throw a memorable year-end celebration:

Send Out Invitations

a New Year's party with family and friends

Send out invitations to friends, family, and neighbors at least three days before the celebration. Give them the location and time that the cocktail party begins (at 10pm preferably). Invite them to come in their most posh and dapper outfits. After all, it’s only right to welcome the New Year in style.

Choose the Perfect Location

The foyer and living room are the perfect venues for this kind of party. If you live in the warmer states, you can also have it in the garden or in your terrace so people can watch fireworks displays. Don’t forget to place cocktail tables and decorate your space with light strings to make the area more captivating. Set up a mini-bar and stock it with wine, champagne, and other hard liquor. Fancy cocktails, like martinis, tequila sunrises, Napa sours, and mimosas are also ideal for this occasion. For some New Year cocktail inspirations, check out Mix that Drink and Saveur.

Serve Delicious Party Snacks

a delicious serving of nachos

Most of your guests have probably had dinner around this time, but it’s still important to serve some yummy food choices in case anyone gets hungry. This is especially needed if you plan to have a party until the wee hours of the morning.

Traditional party food works! Try these fried mozzarella cheese sticks from Copykat, breadcrumb stuffed mushroom from Laura in the Kitchen, or these delicious Baltimore crab cakes from Epicurious. Serve loaded nachos from The Pioneer Woman or these delicious Pigs in a Blanket from Just a Pinch.  Put out bowls of chips, salted pretzels, and various dips so that everyone has something to munch on while waiting for midnight.

Keep the Cocktails Flowing and Turn Up the Music

Make sure that everyone has a drink and is having a good time. Talk to all your friends and introduce people to each other. Play some celebratory music to provide an exciting atmosphere for the occasion. You can also create your very own party playlist before the festivities begin.

Welcome the New Year Together

a beautiful fireworks display

Two minutes before midnight, call everyone’s attention and announce that you are only moments away from the New Year. Start a countdown 20 seconds before the clock hits twelve. Welcome the New Year together and party until the morning.

Have a blast this New Year’s Eve with this party planning guide from Tree Classics.

Photo credits

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

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

Photo by SeanMacEntee via flickr. CC BY 2.0.

5 Smart Ways to Get the Best Online Deals and Discounts after Christmas!

Shopping online right after the holiday season is one of the smartest ways you can save up!

Forget the holiday rush that takes up all your time, money, and energy. Anyone can do their post-holiday shopping in the comfort of their home, in front of their desktop or laptop computers, or even with just a tablet in hand. Luckily, Tree Classics has compiled smart tips to help you get the best deals and discounts, avoid scams, and also protect your computer system from malicious and malevolent software posing as ‘great’ offers.

shopping during Cyber Monday is the best way to get the best deal this season

1. Do Some Background Research on Online Retailers

After the holiday shopping frenzy comes the clearance sale! Check out the website of your favorite stores and brands. Bookmark the merchandise that catches your interest and take note of the markdown in prices.

Right before making the purchase, visit what is known as a comparison shopping website to see if another online merchant offers a lower price for the item you’ve been eyeing. Compare the deals before clicking!

2. Update Your Computer’s Security System

One of the dangers to online shopping is picking up computer viruses and programs that either destroy your files or steal your data. Before visiting any e-commerce website, update your anti-virus programs and spam protectors first. If your system doesn’t have one, purchase a program and install it before going online. Remember, cleaning and repairing a system once it gets infested costs a lot more than simply installing a security software right from the start.

3. Upgrade Your Browser to the Latest Version

updating your browser can speed up your system

Don’t miss out on a good deal just because of a slow system. You can remedy this by updating your browser so you can connect faster and enjoy other features of the site. These features may include video streaming on how to use an item or the zoom-in function when you view photos of the product.

It’s also a great idea to update your operating system if you can. Cleaning out junk files might also help since this will speed up your gadget’s overall performance.

4. Never Click on Links to Sites that are NOT Trusted

Often, you’ll get junk email about supposedly ‘great’ deals from unknown senders and incongruous sites. Unless you’re familiar with the name, don’t click on them. Most of these sites are breeding grounds for viruses and worms that can ruin your computer and your online shopping experience. Stick with the websites you are familiar with.

5. Use PayPal (or Other Payment Protection Services) to Avoid Credit Card Fraud and Take Note of All Your Purchases

use your credit cards during Cyber Monday

There will be sites and deals out there that offer various methods of payments. To be safe and also process payments faster, always use a secure third-party payment processor, such as PayPal or ProPay, so you can avoid having to give out your credit card number each time you shop at a different website. At the same time, these websites help you keep track of expenses by letting you check the invoice online. You can then check this invoice against your upcoming credit card statement.

Enjoy a safe and splendid post-holiday shopping spree online when you follow these smart tips from Tree Classics!

Photo Credits

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

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

Photo by StormKatt via flickr. CC BY 2.0.

Heartwarming Christmas Tree Traditions

Christmas has always been a time for cherishing family traditions and building memories around the Christmas tree. Here are some traditions that have stood the test of time.

old-2066_640The holidays are always the most opportune time for the family to bond and instill new traditions. As the years pass, simple family customs are cemented into our lives – and those who once established such traditions begin to hold a special place in our collective memory. Here are a few Christmas tree traditions with heartwarming beginnings.

The Wessler Christmas Tree

While stationed in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1963, Bob Wessler, his wife Anne and sons Tony and Jim wanted to honor the holiday tradition of decorating a Christmas tree in their home. But the lack of traditional evergreens in Ecuador at that time made it nearly impossible to set one up. Since Ann Wessler did not want to adopt the local custom of attaching painted sticks to a base, she decided to have an artificial tree sent to their home.

After 49 years, this same tree still stands strong and has now been adopted by Tony and his wife Beth. They have been continuing the tradition of decorating this family treasure. In 2012, the couple decided to share this tradition with their community by putting the tree up in their office in Sullivan, Montana.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

When you talk about Christmas trees immersed in tradition, you can be sure the Rockefeller Christmas tree is among them. First displayed during the Great Depression, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was once just a small, unadorned tree set up by construction workers.

In 1933, the tree was replaced with a lighted one, and it has since become grander each year. More than 80 years later, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree remains an icon of New York City.

photo by mingo3490 via flickr. CC BY 2.0

The Oldest Christmas Tree

Do you have a family heirloom that has been passed on from generation to generation? For the Parker family, one of their greatest treasures is their 126-year-old Christmas tree. Measuring only 14 inches tall and bought in 1886 for a mere sixpence, this diminutive masterpiece has been confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the oldest known artificial Christmas tree in the world. It now has a value of £1,000 or about $1,500.

For Paul Parker, the third generation owner of this incredible tree, the miniature ornamental Christmas tree is priceless.

Family traditions truly leave an imprint on our individual lives, and Christmas is the perfect season for strengthening these bonds. For one family, Christmas traditions may involve prepping the tree and the family feast. For another, it may be the opening of gifts on Christmas morning. One thing is for certain: time-honored family traditions live on.

We would love to hear from you. What are the Christmas traditions of your family?

Tree Classics Christmas Decorating Ideas: How to Make an Edible Christmas Wreath

With only a few days left before Christmas, people are starting to keep themselves busy preparing for an ideal holiday feast.  But with a hectic work schedule, many of us just can’t seem to find enough time to decorate our homes and cook food all at once. The solution: why not whip up a batch of edible Christmas treats you can also adorn your home with?

In this edition of our Tree Classics Christmas Decorating Ideas, we present five amazingly delicious edible Christmas wreaths recipes that are sure to make your tummy happy.

Cornflake Christmas Wreath

Cornflakes Cereals

Transform your favorite breakfast cereal into a healthy and scrumptious Christmas wreath. With this recipe, you can enjoy the benefits of a high fiber diet with a mouth-watering confection. Who says you can’t healthy food during the holidays?

Candy Christmas Wreath

Candy Canes

For a sweet holiday delight for the kids, try out this colorful candy Christmas wreath. Not only is it delicious, but it is also easy to prepare. You can even have the kids help out and turn it into a family tradition.

Ginger Bread Christmas Wreath

Ginger Bread Cookies

A classic favorite by old and young people alike, ginger bread is perhaps one of the most recognizable holiday treats along with candy canes and fruit cakes. The consistency of the dough and its distinct sweet and spicy taste give ginger bread its long lasting fame. A single bite from this pastry masterpiece and you are sure to be transported to happy childhood.

European Christmas Wreath

Brioche Loaf

A culinary confection from across the ocean, this delectable European Christmas wreath combines the heartiness of fragrant spicy brioche buns with the sweet and tangy flavor of orange icing and orange curd filling.

Cinnamon Cookie Christmas Wreath

Cinnamon Cookies

After a nice holiday dinner, share a good cup of coffee with family and friends while nibbling on this tasty cinnamon cookie Christmas wreath. This saccharine creation is the perfect treat to cap off an unforgettable yuletide evening with loved ones.

Make your holiday celebrations merrier with these delectable delights that can fill your senses and tummy at the same time.

Photo Credits:

[1] Photo from surroundsound5000 via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[2] Photo from Pen Waggener via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[3] Photo from NicholasWatts via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[4] Photo from fred_v via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[5] Photo from grotos via flickr. CC BY 2.0