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HOLIDAY Things to Give & Things To Do


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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


Christmas trees brighten the season Dsel, lights, ornaecked out in tin-

ments, and garland, Christmas trees are enduring symbols of the holiday season that boast a rich history. Evergreen trees have been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years, and eventually became associated with Christianity. Plants and trees that remained green all year held special meaning to ancient peoples, and were purported to keep away illness and evil spirits. Germans were credited with tying evergreen trees to Christmas celebrations. In the sixteenth century, devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, is believed to have first added lighted candles to these trees after he was inspired by twinkling stars in the night sky. While early Americans found Christmas trees an oddity, the tradition, brought over by German settlers, eventually caught on. Today, between 25 and 30 million natural Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year, states the National Christmas Tree Association. Trees are grown in all 50 states and Canada. Continued on page 4

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The following is a look at some popular tree varieties. Living Christmas trees Living Christmas tree, which refers to those with their roots still intact, are popular among eco-conscious holiday enthusiasts. That’s because living trees can be promptly planted after they’ve served their purpose indoors. Opt for a moderately sized tree, as root balls on larger trees can be heavy and difficult to move. Living trees can typically be kept indoors for around seven to 10 days before they will need to be returned outside. Move such trees to a sheltered outdoor area for one to two weeks so they can reacclimate to the climate. So long as the ground is not frozen, trees can then be planted when the reacclimation period ends. Better Homes and Gardens suggests selecting a mild day to plant the tree.

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Fraser fir Fraser fir trees are typically uniformly pyramid-shaped trees that have strong branches that turn slightly upward. These trees have good needle retention and a dark, bluegreen hue. Many people feel these trees have a pleasant scent. Because they are such a quintessential Christmas tree, Fraser fir, as well as their close cousin, Balsam fir, tend to be more expensive than others.

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Scotch pine One of the advantages of Scotch pine trees is their needle retention. Experts say Scotch pine needles will not drop off even if the tree is dry. Scotch pine is an introduced species brought to North America by European settlers, and it’s known for dark green foliage and sturdy, stiff branches. The Scotch pine is one of the most popular Christmas trees today. White spruce As a Christmas tree, the white spruce is known for excellent foliage color, short stiff needles and good needle retention. The blue-green color is pleasant, but when needles are crushed, the tree doesn’t produce a favorable evergreen aroma. White spruce trees keeps their needles longer than other spruces. With proper care, any variety of Christmas tree can look beautiful throughout the holiday season.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


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Holiday living made easy

on our plates between ThanksgivWithingsoandmuch New Year’s Day, the holiday season can

be hectic. Fortunately, there are many ways to save time and make the holiday season more manageable. • If you don’t have plastic clips to hang lights around windows and to the eaves of your home, inexpensive clothespins will work just as well. If you’re concerned about the color of the wooden clips, paint them holiday hues before stringing the lights. • Put a bath mat, rug-side down and rubber-side up, beneath your Christmas tree stand. This allows you to spin the tree as you hang lights and ornaments without damaging the floor underneath. It also makes it simple to undress the tree once the season is over. Use a tree skirt to hide the mat. A few simple strategies can help you save time and reduce stress this holiday season.

• Squeeze artificial tree portions into concrete form

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


tubes. First wrap the tree portions in twine and then slip them into the concrete sleeves. Each tube can be stowed in attic or garage rafters, freeing up precious space. • Use empty squirt bottles to make baking and cooking easier. Pancake and cookie batters can be squirted from the containers for less mess. • Store one or two strings of lights in a plastic shopping bag to keep the strands from getting tangled. Hang the bags from a hook in a garage or stack them in a storage bin. • Use plastic zip ties to attach garland and lights to bannisters. They’re easy to assemble and will not damage the bannisters. • A paper towel holder can be screwed to the wall in a craft room to neatly hold spools of ribbon. Simply pull the length you need from the spool and cut for easy decorating. • Mount a tree stand to a piece of wood with screws Continued on page 8

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Continued from page 7

or glue. This prevents spills from reaching the floor while stabilizing the tree. Residential & Commercial Electrical Contractor Renovations • Service Panels Upgrades Paddle Fans

• Old maps make interesting gift wrap and are a nice change of pace from commercially produced paper or newsprint. • Wrap duct tape or another type of sticky tape around your hand. Pat over fallen pine needles that accumulate around the tree. In hard-to-reach areas, wrap the tape around a broom or a floor sweeper. • When traveling for the holidays, use a brightly colored suitcase or flashy tape to make your suitcase stand out from others at the airport. • Place hardened brown sugar in a baking dish, cover it with a moist paper towel and either microwave it on high for 20-second intervals or place it in a 300 F oven for five minutes. This will soften the sugar, making it easier to use the sugar to prepare your favorite holiday cookie recipes.

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• Save plastic bread ties, which can be used to make

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


tags for the wires on certain devices. Such ties also can be used to organize decorating components and to keep your place on a roll of tape. • Measure the inside of your picture window and construct a wooden frame to its dimensions. Staple holiday lights to the frame and then easily slip the frame in and out of place each year. • Hang a live wreath or some boughs of evergreen in your home to give it that fresh pine scent if you have an artificial tree. • Color-code storage containers so you can easily find holiday decorations in the attic or basement. • Pack for a holiday excursion using a collapsible clothing storage hanger for closets. Fold clothes on each fabric shelf and then collapse it into your suitcase. When you get to your destination, unfold and hang it in a closet so all of your clothes will be at the ready. Make the holidays even more enjoyable with a variety of timesavers and clever tips.

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How to time holiday shopping right T

he holiday season begins at the end of November and stretches into the first week of January. But this five-week stretch may not necessarily be the best time for everyone to shop.

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Harvard Business Review says that the retail industry has been turned on its head in recent years, and shoppers and retailers may want to rethink their approaches to the holiday shopping season. Consumers are no longer interested in retailers dictating their shopping schedules, and some people have grown accustomed to buying products when they want them — especially when price is of no concern. Even budget-conscious shoppers have changed their habits, says the shopping advisor RetailNext. Many holiday shoppers are delaying their shopping

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


until January to take advantage of post-season sales. Holiday shopping need not wait until after the holiday season, either. A 2017 RetailMeNot survey found that 45 percent of U.S. consumers said they planned to start shopping before November 1. One-quarter of the survey respondents said they planned to start shopping before October, and 12 percent started shopping for the holidays in the summer. So when should consumers do their holiday shopping? It all depends on what fits a person’s individual needs. • Shop sales, not schedules. If budget is a big concern, shoppers should grab items that are on sale whenever they are available. That can mean shopping at any time of the year. People can try making a master shopping list early in the year and saving it on their mobile phones. While shopping throughout the year, items from the list can be purchased and stored until the holidays. • Shop your strengths. Those who get a thrill from Continued on page 13

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


Continued from page 11

tackling their entire shopping list in one haul can still do that. Shopping in this manner can help shoppers focus on the task at hand and reduce the likelihood of wasting time. But keep in mind that, according to a survey conducted by Business Wire, 65 percent of holiday shoppers scramble to complete their purchases in the last two weeks before Christmas, so shoppers who delay may be stuck in long lines at the mall. • Embrace in-store pickup. Many retailers are merging their online and brick-and-mortar operations. Shoppers have the convenience of price-comparison and online shopping, with the physical enjoyment of going out to the store to complete their purchases. In-store pickup often enables shoppers to avoid hefty shipping fees, as in-store pickup is free. Plus, scoping out items online — and ensuring they’re in stock — saves the hassle of making a trip in vain. Shoppers can look beyond the conventional holiday season to get the best prices and deals that fit their shopping needs.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide


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2018 Holiday Gift Guide  
2018 Holiday Gift Guide  
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