Choosing a Christmas Tree, Decorations and Family Holiday Activities

For many, myself included, Christmas is a favorite holiday and time of year. Although busy and chaotic at times, I usually don’t mind because I get to enjoy time off of work and the opportunity to create awesome memories with family and friends. Aside from the memories, let’s not forget the cakes, cookies, music, holiday cheer and decorations. Making all of this happen is definitely a responsibility and challenge if you’re not organized and prepared. After doing this so many times, I’ve created a nice list of helpful things that can help you prepare for your special holiday season.

Choosing a Christmas Tree, Lighting and Decorations

When it comes to getting a live tree, there’s no better experience than finding it and cutting it all on your own. Some don’t know this is available, but Google and visit your ‘local tree farm’, and you will be in for an awesome experience.

christmas tree decorations and lights

Finding and cutting your tree at the tree farm is unique, joyful and something you and your family will always cherish. Not only do most of the tree farm welcome centers have hot chocolate, but many have snacks and other treats that will make the experience that much better. Then when it’s time to get ready to choose your tree you will board a tractor or transport vehicle to drive around and identify the ideal tree for your home. Upon finding the perfect tree, talk to the attendant and learn the specific care instructions for the tree that you have chosen. Remember each Christmas tree species requires slightly different care techniques. The cool thing about this experience is they literally give you a saw, then you and the kids can take turns with saw until you are able to cut this tree from the ground. The farm worker would generally help you prepare and load the tree on your car for your journey home. Don’t forget, most tree farms also recycle your tree after the season. Not only is the tree farm process great fun for the kids, it’s also a great story to tell your holiday visitors as they marvel at your beauty of a tree throughout the holiday season.

Once home and you have the perfect tree then it’s time to start thinking about how to adorn your home with fancy decorations. One of the best places to add lights that will give your home a festive flare is your mantle piece. Since my mantle is located in the center of my family room where we often gather, it just makes sense to create an ambience using the holiday lights. Grab some of the leftover spruce and place it on a long top of your mantle in a nice pattern. Get some warm cluster LED lights on cable and position them on the mantle with the spruce. Then add LED pillar candles and tea lights to finish off your now spirited mantle piece.

Picking Gifts that Will be Appreciated

It’s very easy to want to create the Christmas for your kids that you never had growing up. I feel like a result of this is showering the kids with gifts. And not a normal amount of gifts, I’m talking to many gifts and too much money spent. After I recognize that this was happening, I decided to put it into the crazy holiday spending and implement this new approach to buying Christmas presents.

presents under the christmas tree

Kids and people in general are more grateful for the gift that they get it and actually remember each gift and the unveiling of those gifts when they are fewer and have more thought and meaning behind them. So I want you to commit to giving each kid four items, and here is the list: first you will get them something to wear, second something great to read, third something that they need, and lastly something that they want.

Done this way will allow you to be intentional and only invest in gifts that have a purpose. Each gift will be appreciated, used, and you won’t be overspending this year.

Fun Activities for the Whole Family

The goal during the holiday season is to shift our focus and do things that create the greatest sense of fulfillment. During the holiday season I was always in search of things that would make us smile as a family, and create memories that we can enjoy for years. So, follow these favorite activities.

Being together is something that makes the holidays so impactful. Identify some of the close friends and neighbors and invite them over to your home. Bringing your families together it’s such an easy way to create memories. While they are there you can do simple things like making gingerbread houses, baking cookies or playing charades or other games for the whole family. Also since the wreath is a large part of my Christmas decoration, I would have my friend Marcy and her family over and we would do it together. Since doing this it is now become a tradition in my family.

Since the holiday season is about enjoying one another and recognizing your blessings I always make it a point to do nice things for other families. In this spirit, another activity is to adopt a family. Find a local charity or partner with your church to identify a family in need. Then you can do something as simple as loading up your grocery cart with things that they can use during the holiday. Or you can play secret Santa and find some gifts that would really light up the family in need. I suggest you and your family-get-together and decide, organize and plan the best way to give back and make a less fortunate families holiday as memorable and blessed as yours.

Helpful Christmas Tips for a Better Holiday

I think you’ll be surprised at how these simple suggestions can make your holiday one to remember. Starting with the perfect tree, then give gifts that have meaning, and while creating memories that will last forever you can help others in need. Enjoy your holidays, and have fun this year!

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Preparing Your Yard and Trees for Winter During the Fall

When we reach fall, we are reaching the very last chance to prepare for winter. Over the spring and summer months, you work hard to build up curb appeal so, as much effort as it may seem, you need to pull on some gloves and prepare your yard and trees for the cold months. If you are concerned about the health of your tree, find a tree service or contact an arborist. To give you a helping hand, I have some simple gardening and tree tips you can follow.

Remove Weak Branches

Over the years, I have seen many people make the mistake of pruning in fall but this encourages growth in a time where your plants and trees should be hardening for the coming cold. However, you should take the opportunity to remove any of the dead or dying. During winter, we often complain about all the dead plants we have to look at, so why not remove them in fall? Watch how to properly prune a tree.

When in the yard, remove any dead annuals, deadhead spent blooms and cut back any dead ornamental perennials. Furthermore, you can lightly prune any sad-looking branches on shrubs or trees. When dealing with hydrangeas, you can remove dried blossoms but be careful with dead-looking stalks, as these will form new buds the next year. Visit this site for more gardening information and details on plants.

Control the Weeds

When it gets to spring, weed can ruin the look of any yard so be sure to get in control in the fall. Something I have learned over the years, both clover and dandelion pull all the nutrients in the winter and then come to life in spring. If you use herbicide in the winter, the poison will be drawn down into the roots with the nutrients and you won’t see them in spring.

As soon as you start treating weeds in fall, you will see the results the year after. If you notice brown spots in the grass, don’t worry too much as healthy grass will soon replace it.

Clear the Leaves

Although winter provides many problems for the yard, there are perhaps none more so than the constant falling of leaves. Not only will dry leaves stop the sun from getting to your grass, moist leaves will spread disease and mold. For this reason, you have to clear the leaves around once a week no matter how frustrating the process can be.

fallen tree leaves cleaned up

Sustainable Tip: Rather than throwing your leaves away, I find that it makes a fantastic organic compost to fertilize the lawn after being left to decompose.

Fertilize Your Lawn

A fact that not many people are aware of is that the majority of the grasses in lawns in the US were brought over from Europe, which means that we need to supplement the key nutrients they would have received in their native habitat. If you want to maintain a healthy lawn, use a little fertilizer in the early winter to replace nutrients lost over the summer months. During the winter, the fertilizer will act as a stimulant enabling the roots to grow beneath the surface and emerge fully in spring.

So there you have it, some fantastic tree care and landscaping tips I’ve learned in my experience to prepare your yard and trees for winter. If you follow these simple steps, you will be sure to enjoy the results of a beautiful and lush landscape in spring and summer!

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