How to Store Christmas Decorations

Storing Christmas decorations can be a tedious chore. To help you get through it and survive post-holiday stress, Tree Classics offers tips and tricks on how to store different kinds of Christmas ornaments and evergreen decorations to keep them looking new and gorgeous for the next holiday season.

Christmas Balls

Of all the types of ornaments, Christmas baubles are the easiest to pack away because of their shape. For these round ornaments, the market offers a lot of options such as boxes or trays with dividers, which can be stacked on top of each other. Just make sure to add padding between each layer to protect the ornaments.

Uniquely-shaped Ornaments

Ornaments with irregular shapes can be so unique that a special storage needs to be created. Use a box to make a container, then divide the spaces using recycled cardboard. To find out the width you need to allot for each compartment, measure the length of the ornaments. Slice the cardboard strips accordingly to create slits. Let the cardboards meet at the slits to create a grid. The grid does not need to be equal across the box so don’t worry about having different measurements. Wrap the ornaments with tissue or insert padding in each cell to keep the pieces from moving around. Create another cardboard grid if your box is deep enough to store more ornaments.

Icicles

Use tissue paper or paper towel tubes to store icicles. Position the tubes upright and glue them onto the box. To protect the ornaments, wrap tissue paper around them first before keeping them in the cardboard tube.

Bell-shaped Ornaments

Storing bell-shaped ornaments is just like storing icicles, only you have to use plastic cups, which can accommodate the bells effortlessly because of their conical shape. Select the cup you are going to use by fitting the ornaments inside. If they fit perfectly, layer a box with a few of these cups. Glue the plastic cups on a cardboard in the size of the box. After gluing, insert the cardboard with the plastic cups inside the box. Create another layer by making another set of plastic cups on cardboard if the box is deep enough. Wrap the bell ornaments in tissue paper before placing them inside the cups.

Breakable Ornaments

Fragile decorations, such as glass and ceramic ornaments, should be kept in a well-padded container. Egg cartons are perfect for these types of ornaments. Not only are they gentle with delicate items, they also come in ready with compartments for each piece of décor. Lay large cotton balls onto each hole, then place the ornaments on them. Add cotton balls on top of the ornaments for added padding. Secure the egg carton with large rubber bands to keep it from opening.

Wreaths and Garlands

Don’t leave a wreath or garland bare if you are to store it in the same container as the other decorations. Cover with plastic or seal it in a box to maintain its quality. For decorated wreaths and garlands, wrapping them in plastic helps keep their embellishments intact.

Sarah Nielsen garland storage
Photo from Sarah Nielsen

These are just some of the clever ways that you can try to store your Christmas decorations. Just make sure to handle everything with care to keep the ornaments and foliage looking fresh and new for the coming holidays.

How to Store Christmas Lights

The Christmas season is over. It’s time to put those festive lights in storage. Learn how to store Christmas lights with this easy and informative step-by-step guide from the Tree Classics blog to make sure their bulbs, plugs, and strings won’t get damaged.

remove your lights once the holiday is over

1. Unplug Your Christmas Lights

If you have several strings connected to each other, make sure to separate them. Then, carefully remove your lights from your tree and lay them on a smooth surface. Make sure to do this in an area without any foot traffic. It’s also a good idea to do an inventory. Get your mobile phone, tablet, or good ol’ notebook and pen, and start listing down the number and type of Christmas lights you have. This list may come in handy during the next Christmas season.

2. Untangle Your Christmas Lights

untangle your Christmas lights before packing them

Often, in the process of installing and removing lights, some of the strands can get tangled. Straighten out the lines and make sure everything is in order. Afterwards, plug the strands one by one and check if they’re all working. If some of them are damaged, replace the bulbs or fuses. If they can’t be fixed or replaced piece by piece, consider purchasing a new set of lights.

3. Choose a Storage Option that’s Best for You

There are various storage options you can choose from. Here are a number of the best ones:

  • Cardboard Light Holder – This technique makes use of old cardboards. Just cut some large piece into a rectangle around 12 x 6 inches. Afterwards, cut a notch on one side. Insert the string through the slit and wrap the lights around the cardboard. Once you’ve reached the end of the line, make another notch. Attach the end of the cord in that second hole. Cover the piece entirely in bubble wrap and seal it inside a plastic container or a large box. This will keep your lights secure during the off-season.
  • Zip-Loc Holder – Wrap your string of lights around your palm. Once the string runs out, plug the male end of the cord into the female end. Slip the lights out of your hands and place it inside a Ziploc bag. Keep the bag upright in a spacious corner or inside a plastic container. This will ensure that the bulbs and strings are protected.

use hangers to store your Christmas lights

  • Hanger Holder – This nifty trick makes use of a normal clothes hanger. It’s fairly simple. All one has to do is to wrap the lights from one end to the other and lock the male and female cord at the hooks found at the two ends of the hanger. Afterwards, you can hang it inside your closet where they will be safe until next Christmas.

4. Place Your Christmas Lights in a Safe Location

Place your lights in a cool but dry location far from sunlight or any sources of heat, such as vents. Keep them at the top of your closets or cabinets. Make sure they can’t be reached by children or pets and that they won’t fall.

With this handy and helpful guide from Tree Classics, homeowners everywhere can rest assured that all of their Christmas lights are safe during the off-season.

Photo Credits

Photo by Thompson Wood via Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.

Photo by Matt Northam via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by juliebee86 via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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
photo-by-mingo3490-via-flickr.-CC-BY-2.0.jpg

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

Tree Classics Holiday Guide: 7 Amazing Ways to Cook Your Holiday Ham

The undisputed star of any Christmas dinner is the ham. A traditional food that goes all the way back to the olden times, the Christmas ham is not only a delicious dish that captures the flavors of the season; it is also indicative of the bounty and splendor associated with the holidays. Both kids and adults wait with much anticipation for this sumptuous culinary creation. Courtesy of Tree Classics, here are seven recipes that will delight the family and make your yuletide feast extra special:

a delectable ham perfect for the holidays

1. Apricot, Brown Sugar, and Bourbon-glazed Ham

a ham cooking in bourbon juices

An excellent and mouthwatering recipe, this apricot, brown sugar, and bourbon-glazed ham from The Galley Gourmet is for those who want something a little fancy. Filled with the sweetness of apricots and smoky zest of bourbon, this dish will become a holiday favorite.

2. Brined and Baked Ham with Tamarind and Chili

A definite must-try for those who like their food on the spicier side, this brined and baked ham with tamarind and chili from How2Heroes promises a hefty kick with every bite. Coated with chili sauce and elevated by the sour tamarind, this Christmas ham will have people going for seconds.

3. Brown Sugar and Mustard-glazed Ham with Coca-Cola

This brown sugar and mustard-glazed ham from Deep South Dish hits all the right notes. It is cooked with both brown sugar and Coca-Cola, giving it that extra layer of sweetness. It also has that mustard glaze that gives it a tangy dimension. Combined with the classic saltiness of ham, this dish will be the talk of the town for months to come.

4. Coca-Cola and Pineapple-glazed Ham 

a large piece of ham cooked with pineapple and coke

For food-lovers who want something fruity, the Coke and pineapple-glazed ham from Heaven Recipes has the perfect blend. This delicious recipe has a touch of tropical flavor. It is ideal for those unique outdoor Hawaiian Christmas parties in warmer states.

5. Champagne-glazed Ham

delicious slices of ham glazed with champagne

Befitting royalty, this champagne-glazed ham from Thrillbilly Gourmet is a deluxe take on a beloved dish. Delightful and mouthwatering, the cup of champagne added to the mix gives this traditional dish a wonderful sheen and a complex dimension of flavor. Don’t forget to pick out a bottle of champagne that you love for a more personal touch.

6. Slow-cooked Beer-braised Ham

slices of ham cooked in beer

Who says beer is just for drinking? This slow-cooked beer-braised ham from Ricardo Cuisine uses the ever-favorite casual drink to make the meat more savory. As a bonus, the beer and method of cooking make the ham more tender and juicy, giving the meat more flavorful.

7. Spiced Sour Cherry-glazed Ham

Spicy, zesty, and aromatic, this spiced sour cherry-glazed ham from Serious Eats is a marvelous choice for those who want a dish that has a complex flavor profile. The heat from the spiced cherries, sweetness from the white wine, and nutty flavors from the cinnamon and nutmeg make this one delectable treat for meat lovers!

Enjoy your Christmas feast with your loved ones by trying out any of Tree Classics’ seven favorite ham recipes!

Photo Credits

Photo by mike warren via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by Peripathetic. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by yum9me. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by cafemama. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by BDT. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Tree Classics Holiday Guide: 5 Charming DIY Christmas Tree Skirts

Dressing up the bottom of your Christmas tree with a tree skirt is a great way to hide an unsightly tree stand. More importantly, tree skirts serve as a lovely background for beautifully wrapped Christmas presents. Here are five DIY Christmas tree skirts that can add a heartwarming feel to your tree.

The No-Sew Ruffle Christmas Tree Skirt by The Johnston’s

This pretty DIY tree skirt is eye-catching with its lovely ruffles. What is even more interesting is how this was pieced together without being sewn! To recreate this project, you will need about four yards of fabric (to be cut into strips), a cutter, pair of scissors, a glue gun, a rotary board, and an old Christmas tree skirt.

No sew ruffle Christmas tree skirt Photo from The Johnston’s

Lay out your old tree skirt, or use a circular cloth as base. Start pinning the fabric strips along its circumference by beginning at the edge of the tree skirt. Pinch a portion of the fabric strip and press down to create a ruffle. After pinning, glue the strips on the base. Keep going until you reach the inner part of the circle. Check out Ashley’s post in The Johnston’s blog for the complete set of instructions.

The Simply Quilted Patchwork Tree Skirt by Sew4Home

holiday quilted patchwork tree skirt Photo from Sew 4 Home

This DIY Christmas tree skirt features vibrant garden prints that look perfect against a traditional green Christmas tree. For this project, you are going to need a sewing machine, colorful fabrics, see-through ruler, thick thread or yard string, lightweight paper, fabric pencil, regular pencil, scissors or rotary cutter, iron, straight pins, and bias tape maker. This project entails a number of steps but the end product is worth all the work. View Sew4Home to read detailed instructions.

The Ruched Tree Skirt by Teal and Lime

layered Christmas tree skirt Photo from Teal & Lime

This ruched tree skirt is as lovely as the ones sold in stores, but not as expensive. For only $12, Jackie from Teal and Lime was able to make a simple but gorgeous Christmas tree skirt made from two round table cloths of different colors. She made a simple and elegant color combination by layering light blue with a metallic fabric. A printed one on a plain fabric in a complementing color is also a good combination. Read Jackie’s post for more photos and instructions on the project.

Crocheted Tree Skirts

crocheted Christmas tree skirt Photo from Etsy

Brush up on your crochet skills with unique and special patterns. Crocheted tree skirt patterns like this Snowdrift Christmas tree skirt from the Beaded Bundles’ Etsy store adds to the warm feel of your tree. This design makes your Christmas tree look as if it’s standing on a snow-covered mountain. Add an inviting ambiance to your home by crafting a classic crocheted Christmas tree skirt. Visit Beaded Bundles in Etsy for more patterns.

The Felt Polka Dot Tree Skirt by A Happy Nest

polka dot Christmas tree skirt Photo from A Happy Nest

Getting inspiration from product catalogues is a great way to start a project, like this Land of Nod-inspired polka dot piece. This adorable Christmas tree skirt looks very simple, although hand stitching and pinning it may take longer, depending on the layout. Check out this post from A Happy Nest to learn how this charming Christmas tree skirt was created. A DIY tree skirt is worth all the effort. Add a personal touch to your lovely Christmas tree with a tree skirt you can make yourself.

Tree Classics Holiday Guide: Energy-efficient Christmas Trees

The warm radiance from a pre-lit Christmas tree is just what you need to make your home cozier and more relaxing in the cold winter evening.

But many home owners presume using pre-lit decorations would double their household electricity consumption. What’s the best way to enjoy the beauty and convenience of pre-lit holiday decorations without racking up your electricity bill? Tree Classics has the answer!

Safety and energy-efficiency should always be considered first. To help you find the ideal pre-lit décor to suit your holiday home, Tree Classics offers practical options that will not only give your space a heartwarming appeal but will offer you a safe and power-saving choice as well.

Power-saving LED Christmas Lights

KEN-T-3

In choosing a lit holiday tree for your home, opt for one that has LED bulbs instead of regular lights for their energy-saving potential. These innovative bulbs are specifically designed to consume less power and have a longer lifespan compared to ordinary Christmas lights. LEDs are also made from non-toxic materials and produce less heat, making them safer to use as decorations on artificial Christmas trees.

Clear and Colored Christmas Lights in One

STC-T-41

Another feature people look for in power-saving pre-lit Christmas decorations is the color variation of the lights. It is important to choose a ready combination of clear and colored lights that can easily match different styles. The hassle-free combination will eliminate the need for stringing two kinds of lights. Having color-changing lights not only provides you with a versatile decorating option, but also lets you save money when using different light sets.

Tree Classics® Signature Color Changing LED Lights 

Kennedy Fir Narrow Christmas Tree

Tree Classics, the leading producer of high-quality artificial Christmas trees, has come up with a line of decorative trees that feature the latest LED lighting system. With their bulbs expertly strung together, these holiday trees are sure to create an excellent highlight for your home. They are also designed with Tree Classics Color Changing LED, which lets you have clear and multi-color lights all in one Christmas tree.

Choose from our collection of energy-saving and color-changing pre-lit Christmas trees, such as the Kennedy Fir Narrow Christmas tree and St. Charles Spruce. You now have the choice of having warm clear lights or festive colorful lights much like a rainbow on your favorite holiday tree.

What’s the best way to enjoy the holidays? By using energy-efficient, hassle-free Christmas trees made beautifully by Tree Classics!