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Yvonne Faustinos'

Yvonne Faustinos

Dear Friends,

It's that most wonderful time of the year! Snow is falling, carols are being sung, frenzied shoppers are out hunting for that perfect gift and families are coming home for the holidays! Set out the nativity, whip up some gingerbread, bust out the lights and get to decorating! Join with us in a holiday cheer, Christmas time is here! This month in Welcome Home magazine learn to put on a spectacular light show that will be the pride of the neighborhood! Check out our nifty guide to Christmas trees, so this year you won't be vacuuming needles from your carpet in June again! Last but not least, discover the legend of the Christmas Rose - The Poinsettia. Merry Christmas and may your home be filled with joy and cheer this very special season! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have an Very Merry December, and as always, Welcome Home! If you have comments or suggestions please email us at , we love to hear from you! Also if there is a subject that you would like to see covered, let us know! We look forward to hearing from you!

Yvonne Faustinos

Welcome Home! Table of Contents Recipe And Design


A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.

The Poinsettia - A Christmas Star


The legend of the “Rose Of Christmas”.

How To Make A Christmas Light Show!


Make your house the talk of the neighborhood!

Christmas Lights


Christmas Tree Needles Gone For Good! Try something new: Rent a tree!

12 - 15

A Real Christmas Tree Is The Natural Choice. The reasons that going natural is better for everyone!

16 - 17

Why We Decorate At Christmas: From decking the halls in holly to Christmas lights!

18 - 19

Products To Love!

Hot trends, technological wonders of tomorrow and so much more!

City Spotlight Flagstaff, AZ. Winter wonderland in the southwest!


All pictures courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Wikipedia for Random Fact information and aid.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor

The ultimate way to decorate your home!

10 - 11


Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokersʼ listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information.

Businesses That Make A Difference Burt’s Bees, making a natural difference in the world.

The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.

Recipe and Design Red Velvet-Raspberry Tiramisu Trifle

Do-It Yourself Snow Globe

Snow globes are a Christmas classic, and these oversize spheres put on an impressive display.

Yield: Makes 10 servings

Ingredients 1 cup seedless raspberry jam 1/4 cup raspberry juice 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 2 (8-oz.) containers mascarpone cheese 2 cups heavy cream 1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Red Velvet Madeleines, without powdered sugar 3 (6-oz.) containers fresh raspberries

Preparation: 1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. 2. Stir together mascarpone cheese in a large bowl. 3. Beat heavy cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Stir one-fourth of whipped cream into mascarpone using a rubber spatula; fold in remaining whipped cream. 4. Arrange one-third of Red Velvet Madeleines in a 3-qt. trifle dish; drizzle with one-third of jam mixture, top with 1 container of raspberries, and dollop with one-third of mascarpone mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours before serving. Southern Living, DECEMBER 2012

What You Need: • • • • • •

A globe with rubber base and plastic stand Epoxy Ceramic or plastic ornaments Distilled water Liquid glycerin Glitter

Instructions: 1.



4. 5.

6. 7.

Look for 7- and 8-inch flower aquariums, which include a globe, rubber base, and plastic stand, at floral shops or online. Use epoxy to attach ceramic or plastic ornaments and figurines to the rubber base, which also serves as the lid. Fill the globe with distilled water to just below the opening; add about 1 tablespoon of liquid glycerin (found in soap-making sections of hobby stores) to thicken the water. Sprinkle with glitter. Working over a sink, slowly invert the decorated portion of the rubber base into the water; stretch the seal of the rubber base over the lip of the globe. Attach the plastic stand, turn the globe upright, and watch the snow fall! For extra sparkle, stand the snow globe in a silver wine bottle coaster. Courtesy of Better Homes and

The Poinsettia

A Christmas Star

As the city nights unfold from warm evenings to the holiday breeze, the world slowly prepares for Christmas as early as November. The manifestations of Christmas begin with the insertion of random Christmas carols in commercial establishments or a delivery of Christmas trees that decorates the front entrance of malls. Other than the carols and trees, it is the lights from the many houses that slowly populate the cityscape and captivate the evening. It is tradition that families come and decorate their homes with trimmings and flowers. But these are no ordinary flora - it is a special Christmas flower, the Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima), as it is best known around the world, that echoes to the household that Christmas is just around the corner. Though stereotyped as another tradition, the Poinsettia has its roots in Mexican legend. Based on its roots, it was brought over to the West by a Mexican Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsettia. But from tradition, the Poinsettia was said to be a bloom most beautiful coming directly from the heavenly skies. The traditional tale is passed down in history with a poor farm girl wanting to offer the very best gift to the Savior during Christmas day. Her plea was heard by the angels above and they instructed her to gather weeds and align the Church walkway with these. According to legend, after the little girl delivered this task the angels miraculously converted the weeds into a crimson red bloom. And thus was born the Poinsettia, a Christmas flower. Regardless of what it is called around the world, the Poinsettia - known also as the Noche Buena, the Winter Rose, the Christmas Star, the Flame Leaf, the Stelle di Natalle finds itself inside the homes of families around the world as a symbol of Jesus Christ始s love for believers in the Christian Faith. The Christmas Flower is usually hung outside homes on the front doors to greet passersby or made to hang on the Christmas tree indoors to bring it to full bloom. Regardless of its many symbolisms, the Poinsettia points to the nativity of Jesus Christ, symbolic of the brightest star that led the wise men and shepherds to that little manger in Bethlehem. The Poinsettia is beautiful. It is a most wonderful centerpiece that decorates the dinner table when family and friends gather to celebrate the season of love. And isn始t that what Christmas is all about? Written by Timothy Spencer. Courtesy of

How To Make A Christmas Light Show! The ultimate goal of anyone who loves to decorate their yard for Christmas is to set up a full light show that includes music. These shows can be difficult to set up, but they are spectacular to see and are well worth the effort. Here are some steps to get your started on creating your own show: Do your Research: Before going any further, be aware that setting up a Christmas lightshow as part of your outside Christmas decorations take a lot of time and patience. It can be a great hobby, but it’s not as easy as plugging some lights in flipping a switch. So, if you are ready, keep reading. You are going to need a few items to make this work: 1. A computer to do the programming. 2. A light controller with multiple channels. This is what controls the lights. 3. A software program to program the light controller. This will define when the lights turn on and off in relation to the music. 4. An FM transmitter to broadcast your music. Another option is a pair of speakers on your front porch, but it is unlikely that the neighbors appreciate the same song playing over and over again. 5. The lights! For a complete effect, this should include not just regular lights, but icicle lights, net lights and yard displays. Organize and Plan. Now you are getting down to the fun part. To make the show work, you will need to sit down with pencil and paper and design your

system. Decide what music you want to play (preferably something that has to do with Christmas), and where the decorations will be. Your plan should include a drawing of your front yard, with sketches and notes on how the show will work. Buy Your Equipment and Decorations Now that you have your plan, you are ready to buy your decorations. This can get expensive fast, so do some research to make sure you aren’t overpaying. I suggest going through the internet for the software and control box for the lights. A search in Google or Yahoo should yield several results and allow you to compare several options. Test, Test, and Test! It’s important enough to say again: Test, Test, and Test! The first thing you should do is set up your controller for a single set of lights and make sure you can get it to turn on and off. Then get it to turn on and off to music. Then add a second set of lights and make sure you can get that one to turn on and off. See why this takes so long? It can be tedious, but the results are well worth it. Set It All Up After everything is programmed, it’s just a matter of setting it up. Hang the lights, set up the displays, and plug it in. Now, all you have left to do is sip hot cocoa and watch your neighbors scramble to get their decorations looking half as good as yours!

Written by Ryan Harris. Courtesy of

Christmas Lights The Ultimate Way To Decorate Your Home! Holiday lights; we have all seen them and most of us have used them before. When it comes to Christmas lights, we often associate those lights with Christmas trees. While Christmas lights are most commonly used to light Christmas trees, did you know that they can also be used for much more? If you are planning on decorating your home for the holiday this year, I suggest you to examine what else Christmas lights can be used for. After a close inspection examination, you will likely see that lights can be used for a lot more than you may have originally thought.

As previously mentioned, when it comes to holidayChristmas lights, we often associate Christmas lights with Christmas trees. This is because most individuals decorate their Christmas trees with holiday lights. What is nice about using holiday lights on a Christmas tree is that the lights come in a variety of different sizes and styles. It is possible to buy Christmas lights with small light bulbs, as well as large ones. Traditional holiday lights come white in color or with a combination of all different colors. In recent years, the demand of different colored lights has skyrocketed. You can now buy single colored Christmas lights or lights with a specific color combination. These types of lights are ideal for those who are wanting to theme their Christmas tree. Although many individuals choose to use holiday lights for their Christmas tree, as mentioned above, there are other uses for them as well. One of those ways is for decorating the outside of your house. Online and in many retail stores across America, you can easily find Christmas lights that are designed for outside use, especially around a house. These type of lights are often referred to as icicle holiday lights. Icicle Christmas lights allow the lights to drape off the side of a home. While it is possible to find multicolored outdoor holiday lights, you will find that they are most commonly sold in the traditional white color.

This idea is often loved by teenagers and other children; many enjoy the bright lights and colors. Decorating your home's bedrooms is a great way to bring the Christmas cheer into a room that you may have otherwise not decorated. As nice as it is to decorate your home for Christmas, you may also want to decorate your office or your workspace. Keep in mind that not everyone celebrates Christmas|>Unfortunately, not everyone celebrates Christmas. This may be a problem, when it comes to decorating your office. However, you may still, in many circumstances, use holiday lights to decorate your office. In most cases, you will find that it is the items that are exclusively Christmas that cause the problems, not the lights themselves. Therefore, if your supervisors allow it, you could easily hang Christmas lights around your office walls or along the sides of your work desk. Isn't it amazing all of the different ways that you can use holiday lights to decorate your home or even your office? What is even more amazing is the above mentioned examples are just a few of the numerous ways that you can use holiday lights to bring the holiday spirit into your home or office.

In addition to decorating the outside of the outside of your house with Christmas lights, you can also decorate the landscape outside of your home. A number of homeowners, each year, decorate the trees outside their home, often exactly like their indoor Christmas tress. Many times, these trees are relatively small in size; therefore, the same types of Christmas lights that can be used on a regular Christmas tree can also, sometimes, be used on an outdoor tree. Decorating the small trees in your yard is a great way to bring a touch of Christmas to your block. You can also use Christmas lights to decorate any one of the rooms that can be found inside your home. There are many individuals who hang Christmas lights along the top of their walls. This is a great way to bring extra Christmas cheer into the room that your Christmas tree is in, as well as other rooms. In fact, you can even use Christmas lights to decorate one of your home's bedrooms. Written by Dana Burnett. Courtesy of

Christmas Tree Needles: What to Do About Them!

January has brought with it celebration of the New Year. You waltz across your living room and stop abruptly.  "What is that pinch in my foot?" you wonder.  "Did I just step on a nail…a very small nail?" you ask yourself.  A quick examination reveals nothing but upon further review it is revealed.  A Christmas tree needle!

If that story sounds familiar do not feel bad. Christmas tree needles are a fact of Christmas.  If you are going to own a Christmas tree, you are going to have needles and Christmas tree needles are going to drop.  After they drop they are going to get all over the carpet and they are going to stay there until they find a new home, in your foot.  No amount of vacuuming will seem to do the trick. So what will do the trick in the fight against Christmas tree needles?  Some people think that they need to feed their tree more water, so they cut the trunk of the tree at an angle to increase its "mouth."  The problem with this is that while the "mouth" gets bigger, the water in the tree pot tends to drop quicker.  Forget to fill the pot with water a time or two and you will be left with a dry mouth, except once the Christmas tree's mouth dries up it cannot be rehydrated. Do not even attempt to bring out the artificial Christmas tree you bought five years ago because you were too lazy to go out and buy a Christmas tree.  Sure it will work.  The lights will light, the decorations will be decorative but you will find something missing.  Something that pleases the olfactory region, that lets you know that Christmas has arrived.  That sweet smell that is too heavenly not to come from this Earth.  You would know it as the smell that can only be known as that of a real Christmas tree. So what to do when these Christmas tree needle in the foot prevention techniques fail?  What of the sprays, cuts, and false Christmas trees?  Are all options exhausted?  Is all hope lost?  Not so fast!  Like a true Christmas miracle, it is revealed:  the rentable Christmas tree!  No hassle, no fuss, and best of all, no mess!  When you rent a Christmas tree all your worries are gone.  Able bodied workers will deliver the Christmas tree just in time for Christmas.  But that's not all!  The tree is pruned to a perfect shape and comes live!  No worries about needles dropping from a dead Christmas tree.  After you have enjoyed all that Christmas has to offer, the same able bodied workers who delivered your rented Christmas tree will come around to collect it.  No more dragging a dead Christmas tree through the house leaving a trail of needles that will one day end up in your exposed extremities.  No more worries about scratching the paint job of your car. Beyond the annoying needle problem that is solved when you rent a Christmas tree, you are also doing yourself, your friends, your family, and even small (and large) woodland animals a favor.  Renting Christmas trees are very environmentally friendly.  Once you have finished with your rented Christmas tree the tree is planted back into the wild, forming a wooded area.  This will offset your annual carbon footprint by ten percent.  If every tree that was cut down in the United Kingdom each year (eight million) was a rented Christmas tree, the result would be a carbon footprint that was offset by 8 million tonnes. I cannot guarantee that a squirrel will personally shake your hand when you rent a Christmas tree but they will owe you thanks.  This is because when you rent a Christmas tree instead of buy a Christmas tree, you will receive a tree that is to be his home. When the time comes to select a Christmas tree keep these thoughts in mind.  Do not buy a Christmas tree that will leave your carpet and interior of your house looking like a porcupine has shed its quills.   Do not even give a second of your thought to anything called a Christmas tree that is made of plastic.  Select a Christmas tree that is good for you, good for your carpet, and good for the atmosphere.  Rent a Christmas tree. Written by Graham Willet. Courtesy of

A Real Christmas Tree is the Natural Choice

Each holiday season, shoppers find themselves confronted with a difficult choice: celebrate with a real or plastic tree. What most people don't realize is that the best choice has always been the traditional and natural choice, a real Christmas tree. Real Christmas trees are a benefit to the environment from the time they are planted until after the holiday season when they can be recycled. While they're growing, real Christmas trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. This helps prevent the earth-warming greenhouse effect. Every acre of Christmas trees grown produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. In

the United States there are approximately 1 million acres of growing Christmas trees; that means that 18 million people a day are supplied with oxygen thanks to Christmas trees. The farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soil that doesn't support other crops. Artificial trees are a petroleum based product that consume vast resources during fabrication. A burden to the environment, artificial trees aren't biodegradable and will remain in land-fills for centuries after disposal. The average life span of an artificial tree is only six years. Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, are easily reused and recycled.

• •

Christmas trees are biodegradable - the trunk and branches can be used as mulch for gardens, parks or in animal stalls. The mulch provides a protect barrier for the roots of other plants and vegetation while preventing weeds from growing. The mulch then decomposes, providing the nutrients plants need to thrive. Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check with your local department of public works for information. Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at beaches and on river beds. Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge and feeding area for fish. Before recycling, Christmas trees can be used to make bird feeders, adding color and excitement to the winter garden. Utilize orange slices, suet, and seed to attract the birds. They will come for the food and stay for the shelter in the branches.

The practice of using a living tree to celebrate the holidays is gaining in popularity. Living trees have their roots in tact and can be re-planted outside following the holiday.

WHICH TREE IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Balsam Fir As a Christmas tree, balsam fir has several desirable properties. It has a dark-green appearance, long-lasting needles, and attractive form. It also retains its pleasing fragrance. Douglas-Fir The needles are dark green or blue green, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, soft to the touch and radiate out in all directions from the branch. They have a sweet fragrance when crushed. Nationally, it remains one of the most popular Christmas tree species. Scotch Pine Scotch Pine is an introduced species which has been widely planted for the purpose of producing Christmas trees. As a Christmas tree, it is known or its dark green foliage and stiff branches that are well suited for decorating with both light and heavy ornaments. It has excellent needle retention characteristics and holds up well.

Norway Spruce For Christmas trees, overall color of Norway spruce is fair to excellent, but needle retention is considered poor unless the trees are cut fresh and kept properly watered. It is readily identified by its dark green needles and drooping branchlets. Trees have dark green crown with a triangular shape. Needles are 1/2-1 inch long, and sharp or somewhat blunt at the tip. White Pine For Christmas trees, sheared trees are preferred, although some people feel shearing results in trees too dense for larger ornaments. Needle retention is good to excellent. White Pine has very little aroma, but, conversely, is reported to result in fewer allergic reactions than do some of the more aromatic species. Fraser Fir The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green color, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser fir being a most popular Christmas tree species. Fraser fir is a uniformly pyramid-shaped tree. Needles are 1/2 to one inch long, have a broad circular base, and are usually dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the lower surface. Blue Spruce Blue spruce are pretty trees that can grow very large! The bark is thin and gray, with narrow furrows. The crown is cone shaped in young trees, becoming circular in older trees.The leaves are needle-like, long, stout, with the tree’s colors ranging from dull gray-green to bright grey-ish blue. The needles are unique, having several lines of pores and the tip is very sharp. These are very pretty, but not ideal for families with young children. White Fir As a Christmas tree, white fir has good foliage color, a pleasing natural shape and aroma, and good needle retention. Needles are usually 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch long, pointed or notched at the tip, bluish-green when young turning dull green with age.


In selecting a tree, make sure that the "handle" at the bottom is long enough to allow the trunk to fit into you tree stand. Otherwise, it will be necessary to remove large branches near the base, which could ruin its appearance. Make a fresh cut to remove a 1/4" to 1" thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree. If you use a "center pin" stand, make sure the hole is drilled in the stem after it is trimmed Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6-8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. Trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed. Keep trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.

Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.

Applying film-forming anti-transpairants to the tree does not have a significant effect on the rate of moisture loss from the tree. These products supposedly block the evaporation of water from the surface of foliage, but in reality they have little effect.

Adding water-holding gels to the stand can actually reduce the amount of water in the stand that is available to the tree.

Do not use additives in the water, including floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, and other concoctions. Clean water is all that is needed to maintain freshness.

Use of miniature lights will produce much less heat and reduce drying of the tree.

Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.

Do not overload electrical circuits.

Always turn off the lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house. Go to and type in your zip code to find a recycling program near you.

Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove of fireplace.

DID YOU KNOW? Over half of a Christmas tree’s weight is water. So, be sure to give it lots to drink during the holiday season. Try to maintain one quart of water per inch of stem diameter in your tree stand – any temperature is fine – and check to be sure that the water is in contact with the stem.

Written by Brenns Hartmann. Courtesy of

Why We Decorate At Christmas From Halls Decked With Holly To Tacky Christmas Lights

At Christmas time, being tacky and filling our homes with kitsch, is excusable. Colorful lights, various ornaments and mistletoe provide a joyful environment for us to hide our Gifts under the Christmas tree. Above all, preparing for Christmas feeds our anticipation for when it finally arrives - along with the gifts! Decorations create an atmosphere that makes us feel warm and at home with loved ones. Hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree is often considered an enjoyable activity with the family.

In some cases, people will create their own decorations or gifts, with the help of their artistic skills! Different households have different methods of decorating their homes. Some rely on typical objects such as lights, ornaments and Santa figures while others shy away from them. They may wish to be less over-the-top and subtly decorate their homes with a few vintage ornaments. However one question remains, why do we decorate in the first place? After some research we have come to the following conclusions: Why people decorate their entire homes beside just the tree has several interpretations. Most of these traditions originate from hundreds of years ago when winter time was viewed as a time for celebration. The Christmas tree for example derives its history from the Germans who honored these evergreen trees. The first time a tree was decorated inside, was by Martin Luther who displayed it with lights and put Christmas gifts underneath it. Holly is another example of am evergreen plant that is utilized for decoration and given as gifts at Christmas time, but some people believe that it also has religious connotations. Originating from the Pagans, mistletoe represents elements of the Christian religion and still symbolizes fertility. Christmas Cards are considered to have originated from Britain in the 19th century due to increasing speed in mail delivery and flourishing technology. Over time the idea of Christmas decorations and gifts expanded. This means Christmas trees and Holly are not all that is displayed during the winter holiday period. Stockings, figures, banners, candles, seasonal gifts from previous years and the likes are brought out as well. Besides being for appearance purposes, such decorations may also be hand crafted by many creative individuals. If you have children, making Christmas decorations and hanging them up will help keep them busy and entertained as they wait to unwrap their Gifts

For those who are more creative minded, you can create your own Christmas cards to give along with your gifts. To make it easy, gift card materials can be acquired in sets and kits with different themes such as Santa's Grotto, Vintage Moments, 'Noel Noel' and so on. Each of them include 5 cards and envelopes with appropriate decorations that can be assembled in any way you like Similarly a kit to make your own Christmas Crackers is a useful way to disguise some gifts at Christmas time. It provides a fun way to unwrap gifts and keep the family entertained in the evening. It makes up to 6 crackers with snaps, ties, colored hats and labels. They are easy to make and therefore provide another opportunity to do something creative with your friends or relatives during Christmas time. Novelty gifts such as these are always well received A Vintage Christmas Stocking allows for further classical Christmas decorations and gifts. Made of cotton, it has an embroidered message and plenty of room for gifts and toys. Particularly for impatient children, it can be used for some preliminary Christmas gifts a few days in advance. We may never know what exactly made human kind decide to decorate the way we do at Christmas time. Perhaps it really was religion and history that sparked these traditions. None the less, we must admit that we love these tacky ornaments, colorful kitsch and millions of lights that we must dig out of our cellars and display annually. Let us not forget the fun we have when creating our own Christmas decorations, cards and Gifts from various materials. It gives us another reason to spend some time with our friend and families during the hectic winter holidays.

Christmas decorations whether bought or crafted do not always have to be tacky or old-fashioned. They can be tasteful, contemporary or classic. For example ornate Christmas decorations made from polished glass, such as the 12 Days of Christmas. Not only do they make lovely gifts but can be hung on a Christmas tree as well. Being made from glass, makes these precious ornaments special and unique to be re-used every year or given away to loved ones as Christmas gifts. Written by John Smith. Courtesy of

Products To Love In December



There are not too many people in the world that are gingerbread house fanatics, but for those that are out there (myself included) this book is an absolute must have! Tired of constructing the same old little house year, after year? How about a post-modern city loft or a victorian mansion? This book has the blueprints for success and the savvy know how to help you pull off your best gingerbread house ever! Please click here for more information.




Reviewed by Rural Jungle Testing

The Polar Express G-Gauge Train Set by Lionel is the perfect way for families to relive the magical scenes of the hit movie together. Three Polar Express figures are included (conductor, boy, and hobo) and the Observation car has an “disappearing hobo” feature. With a touch of a button, you can hear ‘All aboard for the Polar Express’. Easy-to-assemble G-Gauge track creates a 55” x 72” oval. Set includes: Steam locomotive and tender with details never before seen! passenger coach with two opening doors; observation car with “disappearing hobo” feature and opening door; three Polar Express figures; 12 curved and 4 straight track pieces; RC remote controller; 6 C batteries; 2 AA batteries. Please click here for more


Delight the family this Holiday season with a traditional Christmas Classic: Miracle on 34th street! Six year old Susan has doubts childhood's most enduring miracle Santa Clause. Her mother told her the "secret" about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn't expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special department stare Santa who's convinced he's the real thing, Susan is given the most precious gift of all - something to believe in. Give you loved ones the gift of believing this year! Please click here for more information.

Products To Love In December Make your yard the talk of the neighborhood this holiday season by adding in something amazing! Animated Lighted Peanuts Train measures over 13 feet wide. This Christmas Holiday Decoration will delight Young & Old alike. Peanuts appeals to every generation. Happiness is ... The Peanuts Gang! Please click here for more information.

Always wanted that infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story? Here’s you chance! This Leg Lamp has a sleek attractive curve and design to the leg. It also show cases a golden gallery shade with black fringe, a sexy fishnet stocking, and an elegant stiletto heel. Sure to be the center piece of any front room window. The leg and socket under the lampshade light up independently or together and are controlled by one 3-way switch.Please click here for more information.

Rudolph the reindeer is dashing to deliver your best holiday wishes to friends, family and your business associates. Presented in a "Dashingly Delicious!" gift box, just open the lid to reveal the gourmet assortment of tasty treats tucked inside. They'll enjoy premium Alaskan Smoked Salmon, Brie Cheese Spread, Peppercorn Crackers, Tomato Basil Cheese Biscuits, crunchy Smoked Almonds, decadent Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Mint Snowflakes, White Chocolate Dipped Snowmen, Reindeer Gingerbread Cookies, traditional Shortbread Cookies, and Holiday Cocoa Mix. Each gift box is hand crafted with attention to detail, tied with ribbon and includes a personalized gift card message form you to convey your best wishes. Please click here for more information.

City Spotlight

Flagstaff, AZ Flagstaff, Arizona is a northern town that boasts year-round cooler temperatures than the Phoenix Valley. It's for this reason that Arizonans and other visitors flock to hotels in Flagstaff all year long to take in the sights, sounds, events and a healthy dose of college-town charm. Spring and summer in Flagstaff are a beautiful time of year. In springtime the temperatures range from the high-50s and 60s during the day to wonderfully chilly lows in the evenings. In summer average highs are in the mid 70s to 80s and evening lows are in the 40s and 50s. Both spring and summer are a great time of year to check out Flagstaff's outdoor activities like hiking, biking, hiking, Grand Canyon tours and, of course, walking around the quaint downtown area.   The fall boasts some amazing fall foliage in Flagstaff and nearby in Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon. Lots of visitors leave their Flagstaff hotels early in the morning to take a long, leisurely drive through town and then on to Sedona. The trees in Oak Creek Canyon are among the most beautiful in the country at this time of year; putting on quite a show in breathtaking golds, reds and more.   Winter is a wonderful time to visit Flagstaff because of all the lovely snow! Lots of Arizonans come up to the area just to catch a glimpse of the white stuff for a day. Others hole up in one of many hotels in Flagstaff to spend a few days playing in t powder either on the nearby ski slopes or just tooling around town. And there are plenty of great spots to warm up after a cold day in the snow. The Beaver Street Brewery is a great spot to grab a hot soup or a micro-brewed beer and relax. If cold weather suits your tastes, you'll definitely love this town in winter. Written by Asha Patel, courtesy of

Businesses That Make A Difference

We've worked hard to create products that are honest and authentic, just like us. They reflect the culture that really exists within

our walls — not flashy or fancy, but highly dedicated to doing the right thing for our brand and our loyal consumers. Burt's Bees is a company that cares about its consumers, the environment and the community and, equally as important, we care about each other.

This culture of caring drives our core values of steadfast commitment to The Greater Good, harmonious tension, passionate teamwork and embracing change. It also drives our everyday behaviors and activities. In the stewardship of our brand and the environment, we set high standards, build for the future and never compromise quality. We are dedicated to a debate and decide process, where we confront issues head on, challenge each other constructively and resolve issues amicably. We embrace a can-do attitude where we all roll up our sleeves to pitch in and take ownership, break the mold and celebrate action. And an incredible passion for people exists here, where we always give others the benefit of the doubt, celebrate excellence every day and invest in our growth.

Our culture of caring also influences how we re-enforce our values through our commitment to

health and the environment, our development and recruiting activities, how we measure and reward employees' performance and how we communicate and celebrate our achievements. Check out to find out more.

Random Facts

This month's random fact brings you the history behind one of the most beloved of all Christmas traditions - kissing beneath the mistletoe! When Christianity became widespread in Europe after the 3rd century AD, the religious or mystical respect for the mistletoe plant was integrated to an extent into the new religion. In some way that is not presently understood, this may have led to the widespread custom of kissing under the mistletoe plant during the Christmas season. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time. Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration, though such use was rarely alluded to until the 18th century. According to custom, the mistletoe must not touch the ground between its cutting and its removal as the last of Christmas greens at Candlemas; it may remain hanging through the year, often to preserve the house from lightning or fire, until it is replaced the following Christmas Eve. The tradition has spread throughout the English-speaking world but is largely unknown in the rest of Europe. The type of Mistletoe used during Christmas celebrations is of the same type as that believed to be sacred by ancient druids, but, outside northern Europe, the plant used is not the same species. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration in North America grows as a parasite on trees in the west as also in those growing in a line down the east from New Jersey to Florida. In Europe, where the custom originates, the 'original' mistletoe. According to ancient Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin. It was described in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon": "The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases." So there you have it! During the season when you find yourself near the mistletoe, remember to make sure and grab your loved one for a Christmas smooch!

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