DIY Christmas: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweaters have become a delightful part of holiday tradition in recent years. People come to holiday parties dressed up in colorful and funny outfits all to celebrate the joys of the season. The more unique and ridiculous your ugly sweater is, the more popular you are at the party. This is why a lot of Christmas party-goers pull out all the stops in order to create the most whimsical gimmicks they can think of.

To help you come up with the best (or worst) ugly sweater for your next Christmas party, Tree Classics presents five of our favorite do-it-yourself sweater designs. With these fun and simple Christmas crafts, you can be sure to be the ugliest of them all.

Christmas Elf Sweater

What better way to cap off a great Christmas party than handing out the gifts dressed as one of Santa’s little helpers? This awesome elf outfit makes use of a light green sweater accessorized with red and white trimmings. Finish up the look by adding a few details such as the buttons, the small bells at the collar, and the large black belt and buckle. This is one ugly sweater design that even old Saint Nick will be proud of.

Pink Holiday Sweater

Let your ugly Christmas sweater feature a unique style by splashing it with loud and proud colors. This pink sweater is charming enough but by adding some colorful nutcracker and Christmas ornament prints, it became even more eye-catching. This is a great way to introduce some pink power to your traditional holiday party.

Stuffed Animal Sweater

For party-goers who prefer a cuter, more adorable way to dress up their ugly sweaters, you can definitely choose this stuffed animal sweater design.  Go through your collection of stuffed toys and pick out your favorite one. Create a nice bedding for your stuffed animal by attaching a wreath or garland on your sweater. Place the toy on your sweater through sewing and then a few holiday details around it.

Ginger Bread House Sweater with Lights

Give Rudolph a run for his money by sparkling your way to the party in this ugly Christmas sweater with lights. Upgrade a printed sweater by attaching a few battery-operated blinking LED lights to it. With this ugly sweater, you’re sure to light up the holiday scene.

Christmas Tree Sweater

Wow the crowd at your Christmas party by coming in dressed up as a Christmas tree. Take a plain dark green sweater then tie a gold or silver tinsel garland around it. Attach a few ornaments, such as Christmas balls and finials, and then wrap it up with a large star or angel tree topper. Whenever you feel in character, simply stretch your arms upward to form a pyramid, lift the tree topper, cross your legs and strike a pose to get that Christmas tree look.

This year, be the life of the party by donning the ugliest Christmas sweater around. Stretch the boundaries of your imagination and come up with the most unique design to suit your personality.

Traditional Christmas Dishes from Around the World

A Christmas Eve dinner varies from one country to another. While a roasted dish in Puerto Rico may lead to the clanking of Christmas dinner plates, a spicy chicken entrée could be the only showstopper in Ethiopia. The diverse cuisines this world has to offer is the reason why every one of us is always excited to cook something special during this time of the year.

Before you prepare Christmas dinner, though, you may want to check out these 10 traditional holiday dishes from around the world. One of these just might inspire you to come up with a new holiday recipe.

Roasted Pork Shoulder

The Pernil Asado is a Puerto Rican dish that means roasted pork shoulder. It is the Christmas ham’s counterpart in Puerto Rico. This slow-roasted dish, which is marinated in orange juice, cumin, and garlic, will take approximately 11 hours to prepare. Rest assured, the outcome of your effort will please anyone’s taste buds. Click here for the complete recipe.

The Feast of Seven Fishes

Introduce something new on your dining table with this traditional Italian seaside meal. It commemorates the wait for the birth of Jesus Christ at midnight, but others say that the number seven represents the number of days God created the world. Regardless of the story behind it, your family will love it down to the last fish. Check out the complete recipe here.


In English, this dish from Poland means bow tie fritters. These crunchy, sugar-dusted cookies would always stir kids and adults with excitement on Christmas Eve and other holidays. Prepare your whiskey glassware if you’re having these on Christmas Eve because according to the Polish folks, Kruschicki is best served with a glass of whiskey. Here’s the complete recipe for this dish.  

Doro Wat

A perfect Ethiopian Christmas dinner comes with Doro Wat or chicken stew. This flavorful dish is marinated in an array of spices, such as chili, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and Berbere, which is a special Ethiopian spice. The chicken is then cooked slowly for three hours at low temperature to release its natural juices. Click here for the full recipe.

Bacalao a la Mexicana

Mexico’s traditional Christmas dinner happens on January 6, when every home in the country features a dish called Bacalao a la Mexicana. This spicy food, which was inspired by Spain’s Bacalao, consists of salt cod and different kinds of spices that render its authentic taste. Click here for the complete recipe.

Christmas Goose with Stuffing

Back in the 17th Century, oyster and lamb dishes were often served in American homes during Christmas Eve. Nowadays, a traditional American Christmas dinner would include the rich taste of a roasted goose with apple and cranberry stuffing. Some Americans, though, prefer to use poussin instead of goose when cooking this dish because the former’s meat is more tender. Get the recipe here.


Incorporate a slice of art into your holiday feast with this Icelandic dish, which means leaf bread in the English language. It is a crunchy, thin, flat bread with intricate patterns. Families in Iceland make this delicacy a few days before Christmas Eve to ensure they accomplish the bread’s beautiful patterns flawlessly. Here’s how to make a Laufabraud.

Buche de Noel

This delicious buttercream cake was inspired by France’s tradition of burning a yule log in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. These days, the French would welcome Christmas Eve with a log of Buche de Noel complementing their Christmas dinner. Learn how to make your own yule log cake here.


If you’re still wondering what your main course should be, take inspiration from Germany’s pot roast beef or popularly known as Sauerbraten. Soaked in lemon juice and buttermilk marinade for three days, then slow-cooked for two to three hours, this dish will surely give your family and guests a memorable gastronomic experience. Get the authentic recipe for this dish here.


This list of traditional Christmas dishes wouldn’t be complete without Sweden’s Julskinka or glazed Christmas ham. In Sweden, the Julskinka is the dining table’s main attraction during Christmas dinner. Making this Swedish ham entails a lot of patience because you need to go through different cooking methods to achieve its authentic taste. If you want to include Julskinka in your Christmas dinner menu, follow this recipe.

Enjoy a virtual trip to international kitchens with this list of traditional Christmas dishes from around the world. Which of these entrees are you considering for your Christmas Eve dinner?

5 Simple Ways to Give Back to the Community

The Christmas season is all about the spirit of giving. While the most common idea is to hand out gifts in appreciation of others, there are other ways you can give back to your community. Here are Tree Classics’ five simple but meaningful ways you can lend a hand around your neighborhood and show how much you value all the help they gave you throughout the year.

Pay a Visit to Your Local Care Home

What better way to start giving back to your community than to drop by at your local care home? Many senior centers often accept volunteers. There are times when you don’t even have to do much other than to spend time with grandmas and grandpas and listen to their awesome stories. These are good folks who always appreciate meeting new people and having a great laugh, so paying them a visit and chatting with them from time to time would mean a lot.

Hand Out Desserts to Your Neighbors

The next time you whip a batch of your favorite dessert, make some extras and share it with your neighbors. Aside from strengthening your friendship with other families, this is also an excellent idea to build rapport and open communication around the neighborhood.

Make New Friends at the Animal Shelter

Animal shelters are almost always in need of extra hands. With so many stray or abandoned pets to care for, they could definitely use some help around the place. Sign up at a shelter near you and help take care of these poor little critters. Being a volunteer has never been this adorable.

Help Out at the Community Garden

For people who have a knack for cultivation, helping out at the neighborhood garden may just be the thing for you.  Here you can grow crops that could benefit your community as well help improve the environment around your neighborhood.

Share Your Skills and Smarts  

Another great way you can lend a hand in your community is to share your talents with other. If you’re good at painting and other crafts, why not join your local art group and start a mural painting drive? Ask your local officials if you could paint murals on public walls and make them more colorful and attractive. If storytelling is your strong suit, then you could volunteer at schools and orphanages to read stories to children during your free time.

Helping out in your community is one of the best ways to show appreciation for others. Whatever your talents and skills maybe, you can definitely make a difference if your share them with others.

Christmas Traditions Explained: The Candy Cane

Candy canes are in high demand during this season. In fact, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) informs that the candy cane sales of the US candy industry will climb swiftly this month, as people start decorating their homes.

Contrary to its popularity nowadays, candy canes were unheard of back in the 17th century. People at the time would decorate their Christmas trees with fruits and straight, white, sugary sticks. Legend has it that these sugary sticks were redesigned by a choirmaster in Germany to make them look like a shepherd’s staff. But even then, it took two more centuries before the candy cane acquired its red and white stripes.

At present, this holiday candy comes in a variety of color combinations, but the traditional red and white remains the favorite of many people. Aside from their delicious taste, candy canes make lovely Christmas tree ornaments. They are also used as pretty accents on other holiday decorations.

In the succeeding paragraphs, you will see four Christmas decorations inspired by the traditional candy cane.

Candy Cane Candleholder


Candle-holder with candy cane decorations.

Turn your ordinary candle into a pretty table accent with a unique candy cane candleholder. You just need four candy canes and a few minutes to make this tabletop décor. Hold your candy canes upside down, apply glue on each one of them, and then press them against your candle. Let the glue dry for a few minutes before putting your candy cane candleholder at the center of the dining table for all to see.

Stockings with Canes


Fill your holiday stockings with candy cane treats.

Here’s one candy cane décor that your kids will love to do with you. Get five colorful Christmas stockings and insert a cylindrical container into each one of them. Put your candy canes inside the containers, then arrange the stockings on your mantel or hang them if you wish. These simple decorations will surely delight your family and guests.

Sweet Wreath


Use candy canes as decorations on your Christmas wreath for a whimsical look.

Highlight your candy cane’s red and white stripes against the lush foliage of a classic Christmas wreath. Form different shapes with your candy canes before sticking them on the wreath. On the other hand, you can simply attach them as they are to obtain the natural beauty of this décor.

Snowmen on the Tree


Make your Christmas tree more festive by adorning it with snowmen and candy cane ornaments.

A tree that’s rich with round and shiny trimmings will appreciate a little contrast courtesy of this candy cane snowman. You’ll just need a white felt paper for the snowman’s body and another color of your choice for its hat and shawl, two beads for its eyes, a fabric glue, and two candy cane handles for its arms. Make as many snowman ornaments for the kids to hang on the tree.

This holiday season, explore the many ways you can decorate your home with candy canes.  What Christmas ornaments in your home were inspired by a candy cane? You may share them below.

Photo by Chris Burke via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Alice Lim via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Lori L. Stalteri via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Nancy Sims via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Christopher Cornelius via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Keep Your Christmas Tree Shining All Season

Christmas lights add a magnificent dimension to any Yuletide display. With bright clear lights, you can give your Christmas tree a warmer and more inviting glow, while with multi-colored bulbs, you can instantly turn it into a festive holiday highlight. This makes keeping your Christmas lights running efficiently throughout the season that much important.


Tree Classics’ Alberta Spruce Christmas Tree

In this post, Tree Classics takes you through the process of repairing and maintaining your Christmas lights. By following our step-by-step guide, you can easily handle Christmas lighting issues you might encounter during the holidays.

Why Aren’t Your Lights Working?

To find out what is causing your Christmas lights to malfunction, you need to check every string of your lights. Most of the time, the problem stems from a bad plug connection, a defective fuse in the plug, a broken, missing, or loose bulb on the light strand. By doing one of these steps, you can get your lights to function normally again.

Step 1. Pull the plug of the defective light strand out of the wall outlet and plug it back in. If the lights switch on, then you had a bad plug connection.

Step 2. Replace broken, missing, or loose bulbs on the strand, then plug it in. If the bulbs emit light, then the problem was on the bulbs.

Step 3. Plug the malfunctioning light strand into the wall outlet, and then plug a working strand of lights into its socket. If the latter fails to switch on, you need to replace the fuse in the plug of the damaged strand.

How Do You Replace Damaged Bulbs?

Regular Bulb Kit

Most stores that offer pre-lit Christmas trees also have replacement bulb kits available.

Replacing damaged bulbs can be done very quickly. Simply get the extra light bulbs that came with the package of your Christmas lights. If you don’t have any of these, make sure the ones you’re going to buy will match the brand of your lights. If they don’t match, the base of the new lights might not fit into the sockets of your light strings.

If you’re ready, here’s how you can replace defective bulbs.

Step 1. Identify the defective bulbs on your string of lights. They have dark spots that are not visible on the good bulbs.

Step 2. Hold the base of each defective bulb and pull it out of its socket.

Step 3. Center the wires underneath the base of your replacement bulb, then insert it into the socket of the string.

How Do You Replace a Broken Fuse?


Christmas lights use fuses to regulate the electrical current within the strands.

Suppose you discovered that a broken fuse is causing a string of lights to malfunction, here’s how you can to quickly replace the damaged fuse.

Step 1. Identify the strand or strands of lights with broken fuses.

Step 2. Open a tiny compartment in the plug of the malfunctioning strand.

Step 3. Replace the damaged fuse with a new one.

It’s not only in majestic pine trees and dainty ornaments that we see Christmas, but also in sparkling lights that deck every home. With this guide, you will be able to maintain your Christmas lights and keep your home beautifully aglow this season.

Photo by Pete via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

How to Mix and Match Ornaments on Your Christmas Tree

After finding out how to properly assemble your Christmas tree for the season, it’s now time to learn how to choose Christmas decorations that would look best on your tree. Just like in any other decorating project, the key to a stunning Christmas display lies in finding the right combination of ornaments that would both present the elegance of the holidays and your own personal style as well.

In this edition of the Tree Classics blog, let us walk you through the fine art of Christmas tree decorating. Here is our easy to follow guide to choosing the best ensemble of Christmas ornaments for your dream Yuletide display.

Plan Your Christmas Theme and Stick to It

Before you start decorating your Christmas tree, try to come up with an overall theme first. Not only does it add personality to your holiday display, it also helps keep your ornamentation balanced and harmonious.

For a rustic holiday display, you can dress up your Christmas tree in a woodland theme using floral picks and bird ornaments, such as these assorted mini snow-bird and mini cardinal ornaments. The bright red plumage of the cardinals adds a festive accent to your display while the pristine white feathers on the snow-birds give it a cool wintry charm. Whatever theme you choose, be sure to stick to it to avoid making your Christmas display static and confusing.

Create an Impact Using Overscaled Ornaments


Tree Classics’ Gold and Silver Glass Ornament Set

Another way to add character to your Christmas tree is by using overscaled holiday ornaments. Large ornaments, such as these gold and silver glass ornaments, cover a wider area on your Christmas tree, allowing you to use fewer decorations than you would with smaller pieces. This is a great idea if you want to let the beauty of your Christmas tree to become the focus of your centerpiece.

Match the Color of Your Home

If you’re still looking for a theme to suit your Christmas tree, you can take inspiration from the design of your room. Using ornaments with matching colors as your living room or dining room allows your tree to blend easily in your home as seen on this holiday display.

For traditional homes, you can create a display featuring the timeless appeal of classic Yuletide colors. You can go with these red and gold assorted teardrops, holiday tradition ornaments, or with these snowmen and holly glass ornaments in order to showcase the red, green, and gold colors of Christmas.

If you prefer a minimalist display, try adorning your tree with these green and red and green and gold glitter glass ornament sets or with these glass champagne ornaments. The simple style of these ornaments makes them an ideal accent piece to match the tamed or muted colors typically used in modern or contemporary homes.


Tree Classics’ Timeless Treasures Glass Egg Ornament Set

Make you Christmas tree more festive and delightful with these timeless glass egg ornaments. These ornaments make use of traditional colors in unique and fun designs.

Create a Designer Look Using a Monochromatic Christmas Tree

Give your holiday display a unique and designer look by using a monochromatic Christmas tree. One-color trees make excellent backdrops for Christmas decorations in different shapes and textures. It allows the focus to stay on the ornaments themselves and not on the Christmas tree. With this you can use holiday ornaments in various sizes or try to combine shiny and matte finishes as well to create a theme for your display.

Some examples of ornaments that would work well on a monochromatic Christmas tree are these holiday heirloom ornaments, gold and copper beaded pearl ornaments, and these iridescent globe ornaments. Each set features ornaments in different designs and finishes that would stand out on a one-color tree.

Make your Christmas display memorable each season by learning how to mix and match your holiday ornaments. With these simple holiday decorating tips from Tree Classics, you easily create a new look for your Christmas tree to match your personal tastes.

Christmas Decorating Tips: Pet-Proofing your Tree

Decorating for the holidays is a fun and worthwhile activity that all members of the family – our pets included – look forward to each year. Our pets, too, get excited by bright and festive seasonal decor. Sometimes, however, we tend to pick holiday decorations that aren’t really safe for our furry friends. This could lead to various accidents involving your pets, such as ingesting Christmas ornaments and getting shocked by electrical wires, brought about by their curiosity and playfulness.

Christmas Dogs

Celebrate the holidays safely with your furry friends.

Make your Christmas display safe for your pets by following these simple decorating tips from Tree Classics. Learn to avoid house accidents by choosing the best Christmas decorations that are not only beautiful but pet-friendly as well.

Keep Your Christmas Ornaments Away from Your Pet’s Reach

Similar to how adults keep dangerous objects away from children’s reach, the same goes for your pets. Certain Christmas ornaments, such as Christmas balls and tinsel, are made from hazardous materials that could cause intestinal blockages if ingested by pets. Shards from broken Christmas ornaments could also injure your pet’s paws, mouths, or any part of their body.

Avoid Using Edible Christmas Ornaments

While edible Christmas ornaments make adorable decorations, these can cause a serious problem for your pets. These are too enticing for your pets and they might start snagging them off of your Christmas tree, causing it topple over. There is also the chance that your pets might mistake non-edible ornaments for edible ones and ingest them. These include holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants that have been proven to be poisonous to animals.

Spray Pet-repellent Scents and Flavors

Christmas trees make a very fascinating plaything for pets, especially for cats. There’s something about the artificial tree that cats just can’t help but climb up the branches and try to reach the top. Often you’d be left with a toppled Christmas tree and a big mess to clean, not to mention an injured pet to care for.

Keep this from happening by making your Christmas tree less attractive to your pets. Before your place your decorations, spray your tree with a scent or flavor that is repellent to pets. Some examples you can try are clove oil, citrus oil, bitter apple, or even a mild hint of vinegar. Try out different scents and see what works best for your pet.

Place Paw Repellents and Climb Blockers

Using paw repellents and climb blockers are another great way to keep your pets from ruining your Christmas tree. Cats hate walking on anything that makes a lot of noise. Placing a layer of aluminum foil or any material that crackles below the tree base can give your feline friend just enough annoyance to keep her away from your Christmas tree.

Discourage your pet from climbing into the branches by covering your tree with a dark mesh or plant netting. This will make it harder for their paws to get a good grip on your Christmas tree. You can also use these climb blockers on the Christmas presents to keep them from getting damaged.

Secure Light Strands and Power Cords

For owners who have puppies or kittens that are still teething or chewing, make sure to keep them away from Christmas lights and other electrical connections. They might mistake them for chew toys and start gnawing at the cords. Always remember to tape any expose indoor and outdoor wires to the wall or the sides of your house. Avoid placing Christmas lights on the lower branches of your Christmas tree so that your pets cannot reach them.

Keep your pets safe and secure this season by following our o pet-friendly Christmas decorating guide. With these practical tips, you can help make your holiday celebration fun and enjoyable for everyone in the family.

Photo by Carmen Rodriguez via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Ask Santa: Father Christmas Answers Questions from His Fans

Everybody knows Santa as the jolly old man in a bright red suit. This holiday season, however, Tree Classics is giving everyone a chance to get to know the man behind the beard.

As Mr. and Mrs. Claus, together with their reindeer and Little Helpers, get set to deliver presents on Christmas Day, Father Christmas takes a break from his busy schedule to answer some of your most interesting and tongue-in-cheek questions to bring in a little cheer! Watch Santa share a few wise words and a couple of jokes here and there in our Tree Classics Ask Santa campaign. Here’s a sneak peek:

To watch more Ask Santa clips, visit Tree Classics’ Ask Santa Page.

How to Set Up Your Artificial Christmas Tree

For many families, setting up their Christmas trees is one of the most cherished and time-honored of all holiday traditions. From the oldest family members to the youngest, each one takes part in bringing this beloved tree to life with classic and fanciful ornaments. It has bridged countless generations together. With the Yuletide season now in full swing, it’s time bring back the Christmas tree into our homes and into our hearts.

To help you setup your Christmas tree for the holidays, here are Tree Classics’ four simple and easy to follow steps on how to assemble an artificial tree.

1. Take out your Christmas tree from storage and cleaning it

After spending several months tucked away in your closet or garage, chances are your Christmas tree may have accumulated a few layers of dirt and dust. The best way to get rid of these is to wipe the branches and needles with a clean piece of cloth dipped in water and soap. However, if you’re dealing with a pre-lit Christmas tree, it would be better to skip the soapy water to avoid ruining the light connections. As you work your way through the different sections of your Christmas tree, make sure to pay close attention to even the smallest tips and corners of the foliage. Once you finish, let your Christmas tree dry for a few minutes before continuing your tree assembly.

To avoid having to worry about dust and dirt covering your Christmas tree during storage, try storing it in a Christmas tree storage bag instead of its original box. These storage bags are specially designed to keep your artificial Christmas tree dirt and dust-free while kept away. They also help preserve the quality of your tree for more years to come.

2. Put your Christmas tree together section by section

After cleaning the foliage your artificial Christmas tree, it’s time to put tree all together. Start by setting the tree stand on a level place. For smaller Christmas trees, you can use a support base to give it more height. Some homeowners place their trees on a small platform for elegance while others prefer an old wooden or steel bucket for a more rustic look.

Next, assemble your Christmas tree according to its section, beginning with the bottom. Insert the tree pole into the tree stand and secure it. Spread the branches of the tree outward so you can see the following connection for the middle part. This is also to prepare the foliage for the shaping and fluffing later on. Attach the next section of the tree then repeat the same process as before. Finish the assembly by adding the top of your Christmas tree and attaching all the light connections together.

3. Shape the branches of your Christmas tree

To achieve an elegant and realistic look for your Christmas tree, always remember to shape and fluff its foliage. Since different trees have varying shapes and forms, this process allows your artificial Christmas tree to take on the appearance of its live tree inspiration. It involves spreading out the branches of the tree either upward or downward starting from the innermost parts to the very tips. Fluffing your Christmas tree also makes its branches more suitable for ornamentation.

4. Check the Light Connections and Bulbs

The following step is very important whether you have a pre-lit Christmas tree or an unlit tree you plan to decorate with lights. Dealing with light connections requires the utmost care in order to keep your family safe and to avoid any untoward incidents during the holidays.

Before you plug your tree to an outlet, make sure to double check all the wires for any damages or loose connections. Pay attention to the lights to see if there are any busted bulbs that need replacement. Once you’ve scanned the light strands, plug your Christmas tree in. Again, watch out for busted bulbs or malfunctioning connections.

If you spot any damages, carefully unplug your tree then set it aside. Contact the store where you bought your tree for any possible parts replacement or a professional electrician to check and fix the connections further.

The Christmas tree is an important part of many family traditions. It is a classic reminder of just how much we value celebrating the holidays and the spirit of giving it represents.

Tweet to Win in our #TreeClassicsChristmas Giveaway

Tweet your dream Christmas Tree from Tree Classics! Get a chance to win a pre-lit artificial tree worth $600!


Once upon a time, making a Christmas wish meant writing down your wishlist on a piece of paper and snail-mailing it to Santa Claus in the North Pole. (Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to catch him at the mall for your own one-on-one chat!)

But what if we told you that – thanks to technology – all you needed to make your Christmas dream come true these days was … your cellphone? Yup! You got that right! Your cellphone!

Tweet your wish and Tree Classics just might grant it in our #TreeClassicsChristmas Giveaway!


1. Follow @Tree_Classics on Twitter.
2. Tweet your dream Tree Classics Christmas Tree. The tweet must include either the link or photo of the Tree Classics Christmas tree.
3. Include the hashtag #TreeClassicsChristmas in your tweet.
4. Spread the word! Retweet the following to earn bonus entries: “Tweet your dream #Christmastree from @Tree_Classics & get a chance to win one worth $600! #TreeClassicsChristmas”


Promo runs from November 26, 2014 to December 14, 2014. Visit our Twitter page for more updates!