How to Create a Visually Stunning Display Using Garlands and Centerpieces

Garlands and centerpieces provide a myriad of options when it comes to decorating various parts of your home. From your mantel to your dinner table, these décor pieces will help add a touch of the holidays to your living space. If you’re looking for variety in your home décor, check out the tips below and take the first step toward a holiday home your family will love.

The Layered Garland

A lush garland is always a welcome sight in any part of the home. To enhance an already beautiful garland, try adding some flowers and other foliage while using the garland as the base. You can even try layering two garlands together for a fuller look. Top it off with some lights to create a stunning foliage display that can also help light your way in darker stairwells or entryways.

The Paper Flower Centerpiece

For low-maintenance accents, consider making paper flowers instead of picking real ones. Using simple tissue paper or art paper for some color, you can craft neutral or colorful accents that will add a seasonal touch to your mantel or tablescape. Display several paper flowers scattered on a wooden tray or use them as accents to your foliage centerpiece.

The Frame Garland

Highlight your décor, mirror, or framed family photos by wrapping them up in a holiday garland. As a décor piece, garlands naturally drape over certain spots in your home. Consider enhancing your old artwork, mirror, and other framed paraphernalia with a decorated or layered garland. You can even wrap a garland around an empty frame and use it as a wreath.

Sweater Votives

Votives are an essential part of holiday displays as they easily add an inviting ambiance to living spaces. For a perfect centerpiece, use a small cutting from the sleeves of an old sweater to wrap around the votives’ glass containers. These sweater votives will definitely add some coziness and warmth to your living room or dinner table.

The Backdrop Garland

Bring out those small figurines and create a miniature winter scene at home using a garland as your backdrop. You can also use a garland as a backdrop to your family photos and other small ornaments for a simpler display. If you have multicolored ornaments and displays, a garland can tie them together into a unifying color scheme.

Garlands and centerpieces are excellent additions to your holiday décor because of their versatility and ease of use. Complete your holiday décor by following the tips above and add a touch of the holidays throughout your home.

Autumn Dinner Party Essentials

Preparing for a fall dinner party and have no idea what to serve? Feel like a chef without spending too much time in the kitchen with these simple dinner recipes for an unforgettable fall gathering. These recipes will help you spend more time with your guests and show them how gracious a host you can be.

This simple four-course menu will help you get started on your fall dinner party—while also adding some of the crisp and colorful flavors of the season to your dishes.

First Course: Hors d’oeuvre

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Finger foods are a great way to start a meal.
  • Caramelized Onion Flatbread
    You can make an amazing appetizer with caramelized onion and flatbread or pizza dough in just 45 minutes or less. To reduce baking time, start with refrigerated pizza crust dough. Finger foods are a great way to whet your guests’ the appetite.
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Soup is a traditional way to start a meal.
  • Pumpkin Soup
    Soup is a traditional dinner appetizer, providing a glimpse of the feast to come. This pumpkin soup brings a twist to the traditional recipe with the addition of curry powder, which adds a very subtle flavor to the overall taste. Leftovers can be frozen and consumed later.

Second Course: Entrée

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The size of your beef roast should depend on the size of the party.
  • Parma-wrapped beef topside with orzo salad
    For a versatile beef roast, this recipe allows you to vary the size of the beef depending on the number of guests. A good value roast, it comes with orzo pasta, fine beans, and nuts, making it a filling and sumptuous treat.
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British free-range pork is juicier and tastier.
  • Roast Loin of Pork with Crackling and Spicy Pear Recipe
    If you’re looking for flavor, this roast loin of pork recipe won’t disappoint with its helping of sage, apricot and cider compote, and unique crunchy stuffing. To ensure you get the tastiest and juiciest meat, look for good-quality British free-range pork or ask your local butcher for one.

Third Course: Salad

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This beetroot salad is a delight to both the eyes and the palate.
  • Shaved beetroot, radish and grapefruit salad recipe
    Salads can be served before the main course as an appetizer, during the main course as a side dish, or after the main course as a palate cleanser. This shaved beetroot salad, bursting with color, is a great way to kick off your fall dinner party.
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Leafy greens and cheese cleanse the palate.
  • Green salad with radishes and manchego
    After a scrumptious entrée, this salad with a traditional twist is the perfect preface to the sweet delight you have prepared for dessert. Cleanse your guests’ palates with leafy greens and the distinctive piquant flavor of manchego cheese.

Fourth Course: Dessert

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Chocolate pie is a surefire way to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
  • Chocolate and raspberry pie
    Who doesn’t love chocolate? Give it a twist with some raspberries to give it that tart flavor. The crumbly biscuit base adds texture and substance to this bittersweet and sour treat.
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The fool is a great substitute for ice cream or sorbet.
  • Strawberry and rhubarb fool
    For those watching their weight, go light with some strawberry and rhubarb in half-fat cream. The sweet wine and maple syrup add the perfect amount of sweetness without spoiling your sweet tooth.

With these dinner recipes, you can make sure that you and your guests enjoy your fall dinner party. Keep in mind that socializing with guests is as important as cooking up a feast. Spend more time with your guests and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of autumn.

Home Design Ideas: Kitchen Counter Solutions

In our previous post, we showed you how you can give your kitchen a fresh look with little effort by paying attention to the little details. We now focus on the kitchen countertop, the most commonly used space in the kitchen. This post will show you how you can maximize counter space through a few simple decorating ideas.

The Mobile Countertop

For people who have small kitchens, finding enough countertop space can be challenge. You can solve this dilemma by using a rolling cart as your very own mobile countertop. All you have to do is to slide it out whenever you need extra counter space. You can push it aside and out of the way after use or when you need the extra floor space instead. Having a mobile countertop can also be useful in larger kitchens. Its versatility will allow you to move it around while you’re busy cooking up a big meal. It can even serve as a handy meal trolley when you present your food to your guests.

The Space-savers

When organizing your kitchen, start by examining which items take up too much counter space. Pots and knife blocks, for example, are a couple of kitchen objects that don’t really have to be on your counter. One fine alternative is by hanging them neatly on a rack. This way, they’ll always be within reach but safely out of the way. If you run out of wall space, use a pot rack that hangs from the ceiling. These ceiling-mounted pot racks are a boon because you can hang just about any manner of cookware on them.

The Dual-purpose Island

Adding a kitchen island is another great way to utilize the space in your kitchen. Aside from giving you an extra surface you can work on, kitchen islands can also provide additional storage space for your kitchen items. If you decide to have an island installed, make sure to maximize the space at the bottom. Use it for shelf space or install a warming drawer or wine rack into it. See if you can fit some of your smaller appliances under the island. If you often eat or socialize in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to save some room underneath the island where you can stash chairs or stools when not in use.

Organizing your kitchen is not as complicated as it may seem. By simply learning which kitchen items belong on top of the counter and which ones should be kept away, you can make good use of every space available as well as give your kitchen a clean and uncluttered look.

Decorating Tips: How to Make Your Kitchen Look Good as New

One of the most important places in a home, the kitchen is not only a place for meals; it’s also a room for family conversations and special celebrations. For most, it’s the first place they go to in the morning to grab a cup of coffee, have some breakfast, and start the day with a pleasant chat with loved ones. As such, it’s only fitting to make your kitchen as warm and cozy as possible.

Redecorating your kitchen once in a while is a good idea to keep it comfortable, and autumn is the perfect time to do so. This way, you can get some much-needed redecorating done for your kitchen just in time for holiday entertaining. Below are a few simple decorating ideas on how you can keep this special room looking fresh and good as new.

Declutter

Giving your kitchen a new look can be as simple as clearing all unnecessary objects in the room. Sometimes, in your effort to decorate your kitchen every season, you may actually be “overdecorating” without realizing it. Sift through the different items in your kitchen and try to determine which ones are essential and which ones are not. Make sure to keep your dishware in cupboards and your utensils in drawers to give your kitchen a clean and organized look.

Colorize

When it comes to kitchens, adding too much color can actually take away its natural appeal. You can’t go wrong with muted and neutral tones because they give your kitchen a fresh, uncluttered ambiance. A monochromatic look works well, but don’t be afraid to add a specific accent color.

Also, with the multitude of interior home design ideas that abound, there is a certain part of a room that is almost always neglected: the ceiling. The next time you decide to change the colors in your kitchen, don’t forget the ceiling. You can paint it using the same color as your kitchen walls or with a complementary color to make it stand out.

Light

There is nothing wrong with white walls in a kitchen, but if you want to add a bit of flavor or variety, you can play with your lighting. Light is an important element of design, no matter what room you’re decorating. Aside from window placement, finding the right location for light fixtures and the appropriate type of lighting is vital. Flat, even lighting may suffice for getting around the kitchen, but it rarely highlights the room’s best features.

Professional interior decorators use a trick called backsplash lighting to create a more dramatic effect. It also highlights the workmanship of your kitchen panels and illuminates the countertops nicely. Backsplash lighting is also installed in a way that conceals the light source, giving it the illusion of being natural light. If you’re looking to add a dramatic flair to your kitchen, using backsplash lighting can do the trick.

When redecorating your kitchen, remember these three basic decorating tips: Declutter, colorize, and light. There are many more ways in which you can change the look of your kitchen, but the steps above are great starting points because they touch upon the basics and prepare you for the more major changes you may wish to achieve.

How to Assemble a Tree Classics Artificial Christmas Tree

No holiday gathering is complete without a beautiful Christmas tree as a focal point. Taking the time to set your artificial Christmas tree up properly will provide your home a more festive atmosphere that family and friends will appreciate. In this post, we show you how to assemble your Tree Classics Christmas tree and bring out the best of the holiday season.

Decorated Alberta Spruce Christmas Tree from Tree Classics

Before We Begin

Think of the location first. It is important to consider the size of your tree relative to your desired location. Remember that the width is just as important as the height so you won’t need to rearrange the furniture every Christmas. A simple solution would be to place the tree in the same spot every year; having a special place for your tree creates an endearing family tradition.

After finding the perfect location for your tree, it’s now time to assemble it. We provide a step-by-step guide below to help make assembly quick and easy so you’ll spend less time assembling and more time decorating your tree with your family.

Assembling Your Tree

  1. Unfold tree stand until the legs are perpendicular. Insert eyebolts and tighten gently.
    Assembled Christmas tree stand
  2. Insert the pole of the bottom section of the tree into the assembled tree stand and tighten the eyebolts as necessary. Plug the electric cord into wall outlet.
    Tree stand and bottom section of tree
  3. Gently pull the branches down, starting with the bottom row of large artificial Christmas tree branches. Tie up the remaining upper rows of the tree branches in the closed position with a piece of rope or a bungee cord. Pull twigs alternately upward and outward, starting with the twigs closest to the pole. Work your way out to the tip of the branch. Do this row by row until you reach the upper part of the tree section.
  4. Insert the middle section of the tree into the bottom section. Make sure to insert middle section plug into bottom section plug. Repeat shaping twigs and branches as in the bottom section. If your tree has more than three sections, insert the next section and proceed shaping as you have in the past sections.
    Middle and bottom section of tree
  5. Insert the top section into the middle section. Make sure to insert top section plug into the middle section plug, unless your tree has a foot switch. If this is the case, follow instructions included with your tree. Repeat shaping twigs and branches as in the previous sections. The artificial Christmas tree top section will be shaped differently. After shaping the twigs, gently curve tips up to give a more natural appearance. Pull the long single tip up to point to the ceiling. Don’t be afraid to shape and bend the branches to your liking to create the desired look.
    Top and middle section of tree

After assembling your tree, you can decorate it to match your holiday home décor. You can add a tree skirt that matches your Christmas tree ornaments to complete the look. If you’re planning to buy a new tree for Christmas, check out this post for information that will help you get the perfect Christmas tree for your home.

6 Simple Christmas in July Kid Activities

Celebrating Christmas in July gives children a chance to enjoy summertime with a unique holiday twist. With school out, you can have some good ol’ family fun with Tree Classics’ six simple Christmas in July activities with the kids.

1. Have a Snowball Fight

Keep the kids happy and busy this summer with this new take on a classic winter game. Have a friendly snowball fight with family and friends but instead of using snow, you can use white balloons filled with water. This is a sure-fire way for the little rascals to keep cool this season.

2. Decorate Christmas Cookies

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Whip up a batch of crunchy sugar cookies or oatmeal cookies and decorate them as Christmas tree ornaments. You can make stars, snowflakes, or angel-shaped cookies dipped in confectioner’s sugar for a snowy effect.

3. Watch Christmas Movies

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After a tiring day of playing outside, give the kids some time to rest and unwind by letting them watch their favorite Christmas movie. Set up your DVD player and put on films such as FrozenA Christmas Story, Home Alone, or The Grinch. Kids will enjoy the spirit of the holidays even in the middle of summer.

4. Make a Snowflake Factory

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Dreaming of a white Christmas in July? Help bring the magic of snow to your summer holiday party by teaching the kids how to make beautiful DIY snowflakes. All you need are a pair of kid-safe scissors, snowflake patterns, and a few coffee filters.

5. Craft Holiday Reindeer Hats

Let the youngens dress up as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with these adorable hand-printed reindeer hats. Have a craft table set up and show the kids how to make their own pieces. You can even throw in a prize for the best looking reindeer hat.

6. Light up Sparklers

Enjoy the clear evening sky by taking the kids outside and letting them light a few sparklers. This will also get them excited about the real holidays by the end of the year!

This summer, Tree Classics invites you to spend time with the family and try these fun kid activities to celebrate Christmas in July. Have a merry summer-y holiday!

Fiesta-themed Christmas in July Party

Christmas in July is all about relishing the spirit of the holidays in the warmth and sunshine of summer. This midyear festivity has the same excitement of the winter celebration – only in more radiant colors. So what better way to rekindle your love for the Yuletide season than with a colorful and fabulous Christmas fiesta right smack in the middle of July?

Tree Classics gives you fun and easy-to-follow party ideas for a wonderful Christmas in July fiesta. From decorating tips to recipe suggestions, this simple two-step guide is designed to help you celebrate the best summer Christmas party in your neighborhood.

Step 1: Spruce up Your Home with Paper Lanterns and a Christmas Star Piñata

You can easily turn your summer holiday party into a memorable bash by adding a splash of color to your home. Try hanging festive paper lanterns or a wreath made of ribbons at the entryway or front yard to welcome the spirit of merriment into the neighborhood. You can also make a Christmas star piñata filled with surprises. No one will be able to resist the delicious candies hidden inside.

Step 2: Treat Your Guests to Delicious Christmas Food with a Kick!

Bake eggnog cupcakes to celebrate Christmas in July

1. Colorful Eggnog Cupcakes

Bite into these delectable eggnog cupcakes in summer colors. Eggnog cupcakes are a new take on the classic holiday drink well loved for its sweet and savory goodness. You can also use low-fat milk and artificial sweeteners as a substitute to the eggnog and butter cream frosting.

2. Festive Fiesta Dip

What’s a fiesta without some good ol’ fashioned finger food to nibble on? Keep the energy at your party going by serving crunchy tortilla chips your guests can dip in this scrumptious fiesta dip. Made from a combination of shredded cheese and sour cream with a hint of taco seasoning, this Mexican-inspired treat brings some punch to your Christmas in July.

3. Fruit Christmas Tree

If you prefer a healthier option, you can try creating your own delicious fruit Christmas tree with a selection of the most refreshing summer fruits, such as kiwi, strawberry, honeydew melon, and watermelon. You can use toothpicks to fasten the fruit slices onto a cucumber shaped into a cone. Cut out a star from the honeydew or watermelon and place it on top as the finishing touch.

4. Christmas Lemonade

Quench your thirst this summer with a tall glass of Christmas cocktail! To prepare the Christmas lemonade for the adults in the crowd, simply mix 1.25 oz Absolut Citron with 3 oz lemonade and 3/4 oz sour apple pucker (apple schnapps). Add a maraschino cherry, lemon wedge, lime wedge, orange wedge, and a hint of mint to complete this cooler.

Kick off Christmas in July with your very own terrific midsummer bash by following our ideas for a merry summer-y fiesta. Keep visiting the Tree Classics blog for more party ideas! Happy Christmas in July!

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Image of cupcakes courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Make a Frozen Wreath

A couple more months are left until the end of winter. For avid home décor enthusiasts, what better way to have fun in the snow than by creating unique and colorful ice wreaths with family and friends?

An Ice Wreath with Cranberries and Pine Cones
Traditional Spaces by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Pullga

Tree Classics presents a quick and easy way to create your very own frozen wreath. Trade in your traditional winter decorations for this amazing ice creation.

Frozen Cranberries and Citrus Fruits Wreath

Materials Needed

  • Cranberries
  • Small citrus fruits, e.g. oranges or lemons
  • Fresh pine cones
  • Dried leaves
  • Small twigs
  • Assorted nuts
  • Water
  • Sturdy ribbons for hanging
  • Bundt cake pan

Directions

  1. Fill your Bundt cake pan with water.
  2. Put in the small citrus fruits first and cranberries next. Make sure that each piece is evenly spaced in the cake pan.
  3. Carefully add in the pine cones and assorted nuts.
  4. Place the dried leaves and twigs in whichever part of the pan you wish. These will serve as additional accents for the frozen wreath.
  5. Once you’re finished arranging the pieces, bring out the cake pan and leave it outside your home to freeze overnight. You can also place it in your freezer until frozen.
  6. When your wreath is completely frozen, remove the Bundt cake pan by placing it quickly in the sink and running warm water through it for about a minute. Be careful not to leave it there for longer than a minute to avoid thawing the entire wreath.
  7. Hang your frozen wreath outside using ribbons. Choose a spot in the shade so that the wreath won’t melt quickly.

Have fun with friends and loved ones as you create these ‘cool’ and stunning DIY frozen wreaths!

Creative Ways to Recycle Gift Wrap

After all the merriment that comes with holiday gift giving, it is time to put away the gift cards and wrappers to avoid cluttering your home this new year. But a better way of handling excess or leftover gift wrap is by repurposing them! Tree Classics shows you creative ways to recycle these colorful pieces of paper.

Holiday Origami

Begin recycling your Christmas gift wrap with a quick and simple origami project. Originally from Japan, the art of origami or paper folding became popular over the years as a means to transform pieces of paper into sculptures. By coming up with different themes, you can transform your excess gift wrappers into other year-round ornaments, such as these adorable origami stars featured in Home by Linn.

Cookie Tins 

Create adorable packaging for your cookies by dressing cannisters up in Christmas wrappers. This is a great gift idea especially for those who prefer giving presents that not only satisfy the tummy but also the eyes with dainty designs! You can start off with these two wrapping ideas from jenthousandwords.com.

Gift Bands

Recycle old and torn gift wrappers by turning them into colorful bands for packages. Simply cut off the damaged parts and reuse the remaining gift wrapping paper on your present. This is a fine way to save up on packaging costs while also adding a nifty accent to your gifts.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

You can also find new uses for gift cards by turning them into Christmas ornaments. Dinah Wulf of DIY Inspired features an easy-to-follow project which you can do with your kids. All you need are some old gift cards, glue, a pair of scissors, a stapler, ribbons, and some plastic rhinestones to embellish your DIY Christmas tree décor.

Patchwork Greeting Cards 

Another fun way to recycle gift cards is by transforming them into patchwork greeting cards. Cut old gift cards into squares of different sizes and rearrange them on a bigger piece of cardboard. Next, glue each piece to the cardboard then draw small lines around the gift cards to make them appear like they were sewn together. Depending on the design of the gift cards, you can create greeting cards for other occasions as well.

Holiday Luminaries 

Looking for more ambient lighting for your home? Turn your leftover Christmas wrappers into lovely paper lanterns, such as this one featured in Nifty Thrifty Things. Create luminaries by making use of different patterns seen on gift wrappers.

Do away with post-holiday clutter by transforming leftover Christmas gift cards and wrappers into other useful items. It is an excellent way to save up money and be environment-friendly at the same time.

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
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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?