christmas lights

  • An Old Fashioned Christmas | Christmas Lights

    Is there anything in the world like the rich tradition of an old fashioned Christmas? Every generation makes its contribution to history, and it's kinda weird to think that one day the things we see and do today will be viewed as old fashioned too! Still, I just love the feeling of comfort and familiarity that oozes from old fashioned themes of days gone by.

    So, I started a series of posts in April around an old fashioned Christmas. This week we've been talking about simple and time honored ways of spending more time together with the ones we love the most. We learned how to come a-wassailing and what that has meant in the past, and we decided to get a little crazy around the Christmas tree yesterday. Do you see a common thread here? Besides being together, we really are having loads of fun!

    christmas lights

    An old fashioned Christmas long ago probably would not have included the extravagant light displays that we are privileged to witness today. You'd be more likely to see a single strand of those big, fat colored bulbs neatly lining the edge of the roof. You always could tell which families had tons of fun with this because there would be lights around the windows, and maybe even some sort of creative lawn display. They'd be the hit of the neighborhood. Today there are entire companies that thrive just on decorating the outside of people's homes with light displays for Christmas!

    So, I say we go look at their handiwork. Load the kids and the grandkids up in the mini van, bring cups of hot cocoa along, and just enjoy the creativity and beauty that light up the winter Christmas sky. You'll be building memories that last a lifetime! I still remember driving the neighborhood when I was a little girl.

    Photo courtesy

     

  • Alternative Christmas Tree

    2009 Christmas TreeIt is true that I love my big and wide and real Christmas trees for the holidays. In fact I kind of love bringing the outdoors in all year long, and I bet many of you are like that too. If I could find a way to live outside all year long and stay warm, dry and comfortable, I'd be all over that. Okay, maybe not, but we are one of those families that does leave the window cracked open in the winter for the fresh air, so there's that. :)

    Today's post highlights just that...bringing the outdoors in and using a bit of creativity to do it. We just spent the afternoon putting our vegetable garden to bed for the winter, so now the garage is full of gardening paraphernalia. The tomato cages caught my eye as we were stacking them in the corner, and my imagination began twirling . . . hmm,  what could I do to transform those wiry things into something useful, pretty, festive. And, apparently I'm not the only one to have those thoughts.

    I love love LOVE this idea for decorating the deck and even the big window flower boxes we've got outside our living room window.  We had a stray cat last winter that decided to use those window boxes as her litter box, ugh! So we've got plans to put something in there this year, and this is just perfect! Simply invert those tomato cages, wrap with some weather-proof garland and lights, and wow, what a fabulous view both from the inside and out!

    But, that's not all! Bring 'em inside, put one in the corner of the bathroom, another in the kitchen, scatter them around the house...so easy and so creative! And, honestly, what could be better than a tree in every single room? Nothing, I dare say, absolutely nothing.

     

    Photo credit:  nedesignbuild.com

     

  • A Christmas Tree for Small Spaces

    driftwood treeI have always been the girl who wants the biggest Christmas tree on the lot. And, I admit, there have been more than a few times that we get the tree home, and the boys have to cut off several inches to sometimes even a foot so it'd fit!

    A few years ago, I broke myself of that habit when we lived in a small condo in the suburbs of Minneapolis....it was efficient, cute and served our purposes and needs at the time. But, when Christmas came and it was time to put the tree up, there was a lot of shuffling of things around in order to make room for it. No big, expansive bird-nesting tree for us! If only I'd seen this idea back then!

    We now live in a restored mansion with big, expansive rooms, and honestly? I still think this would be fantastic as a second tree, say above the fireplace or just on any blank wall? Yes, please! Once Christmas is over, the driftwood "shelves" could pull double duty and hold other decorative items. The rustic feel of this space-saving tree would also work perfectly at the cabin where extended family gather to celebrate the holidays.

    So practical, so pretty, so charming!! Hang your ornaments, string your lights, top it with a star or angel. Even a pretty little skirt around the bottom would absolutely work.

     

    Photo courtesy

  • Luminaries for Christmas

    luminaries 2 Is there anything better than a Christmas craft that the kids help with, or in today's case, do completely on their own?! There is a distinctive charm in a hand-made decoration that the kids have excitedly put together themselves. They will love the fact that the very object they use to make hand puppets from or carry their little toys in is the star of the show. And of course, since we're utilizing paper lunch bags, what's not to love about the price tag, right?

    Luminaries . . . such a classic Christmas decoration. The delicate light that shines through the paper gives off a warm, soft glow, doesn't it? Historically, there have been some very elaborate luminary displays:

    Jemez State Monument, New Mexico

    mission church luminary

     Typical display in Albuquerque, New Mexico

    albuquerque nm luminary

     Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

    desert botanical garden luminary

    And, we can create simple, less elaborate displays in our own homes! Here's what you'll need:

    • Brown (or white) paper lunch bags
    • Red paper lunch bags
    • Pinking shears
    • Star-shaped hole punch
    • Sand
    • LED candles or glass votives

    Super simple to make:

    1. Cut the red paper bags in half using pinking shears.
    2. Punch star-shaped holes with your hole punch about an inch from the top of the red bag.
    3. Trim the top of the brown or white paper bags with the pinking shears, and set inside of the red bag.
    4. Fill with sand about half way up the red bag, and wedge your LED candle or glass votive into the sand. That's it!

     

    Photo courtesy:  Mantle, Jemez State Monument, Albuquerque, Phoenix

     

  • Bonfire Bucket

    Christmas is a time when we typically have more guests visiting our homes . . . good friends, extended family or even those Christmas carolers!  We have the opportunity to give a gift of welcome and warmth right on the front porch.

    I am a big believer in keeping things as simple as possible, so when I saw this idea of using an old galvanized pot and loading it up with some logs, clipped evergreen branches, pine cones and some white lights, that little voice inside of me said "yes please!" I love how the white lights give the appearance of a glowing fire, like a little bonfire right there on the porch.

    This time of the summer is a great time to pick up pots like this at your local gardening center or even the garden section at the big box stores. Find the biggest ones you can for this project, and I suggest you pick up several. This project is perfect, yes, for the front porch, but think also of the possibilities indoors . . . perfect for decorating the hearth, or how about in the corner of the bathroom or the guest bedroom to serve as a nightlight for guests? I think there are so many places to grace with this simple-to-put-together and down-to-earth decoration.

    Here's all you'll need for each bonfire bucket project:

    • 1 galvanized bucket/pot
    • trimmed evergreen branches (think Christmas tree!)
    • 3-4 small logs
    • 4-6 pine cones, various sizes
    • String of 25 white lights

    Simple to put together, too!

     

    Photo Credit

     

  • MerryLights.com

    As MerryStockings.com grows, we are going to be launching new stores in an effort to offer our customers more products and services. Today we are excited to reveal that we have acquired the domain MerryLights.com and will be launching a store that carry a robust line of Christmas Lights. The new store will be open for business sometime around June/July. We will also be adding additional stores about that time as well. Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to continuing to serve your Christmas decoration needs.

    Here is the new logo for MerryLights.com:

    The logo for our new forthcoming store: MerryLights.com

    If you have questions or want additional information, please let us know!

    MerryStockings.com

  • Christmas Traditions Clarified, Part III

    MerryStockings.com takes a look at Christmas traditions and how they came to be practiced here in the United States. Earlier traditons we have looked at included the practice of sending out Christmas cards, decorating with boughs of holly, kissing under the mistletoe and hanging Christmas stockings.

    Poinsettias

    A lot of houses in the United States usually have potted poinsettias during the Christmas season. The beautiful plant makes a great Christmas decoration around the home with its bright red leaves set against equally splendid green leaves.

    This Mexican plant was used by Franciscans during their own Christmas celebrations. Legend has it that a young boy saw the poinsettia plant on his way to visit the village Nativity scene. When he realized that he had no gift for the Christ child, the boy gathered green leaves that he offered as a gift. Miraculously, as he put them on the manger, beautiful red leaves sprouted on each branch.

    The plant was brought to America by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Joel Poinsett in the 1820s.

    Christmas Trees

    Christmas trees go as far back to the 16th century when Germans decorated fir trees with apples, candies, roses, and colored paper. Similar trees were also regular fixtures of a popular play performed during the Middle Ages, which was mostly performed during Advent.

    Martin Luther was said to be the originator of the practice of putting lights on trees, having been inspired by the beauty of stars whose lights shone through fir branches.

    But the practice of having a Christmas tree during the season was started when the U.K.'s royal family was depicted in an 1848 Illustrated News etching gathered around a Christmas tree in windsor Castle. Prince Albert and Queen victoria's Christmas tree soon inspired Victorian England to put up similar trees.

    This practice was later brought to the U.S. by Germans settling in Pennsylvania.

    Give the gift of love with personalized Christmas tree decors only from MerryStockings.com

  • How to Save on Decorating This Christmas – Part II

    In yesterday’s post, we have talked about reusing old decorations and being creative with it as two ways to save on Christmas decorations. Both are guaranteed to help you have a fabulous Christmas decors without spending too much.

    MerryStockings.com wants you to enjoy the season without the stress, so here are two more:

    3. Repurpose everything. You can easily use Christmas decorations for other purposes. For example, tree ornaments from the previous years could be cleaned and placed in a bowl and serve as an eye-catching and relevant centerpiece for your tables.

    MerryStockings.com Power Tip: Create a Christmas card wall! If you have saved those beautiful Christmas cards that you and your family receive every single year, then you can post these on one wall of your living room. Not only will you have captured the holiday cheer, it will warm you with the reminder that you are truly loved and remembered by friends.

    4. Shop for new decors on a budget. Even if you do reuse and repurpose old Christmas decorations, it would still be nice to have new accents. The good news is that you could easily find lovely Christmas decorations online that are very light on the budget. The possibilities are endless and the variety is just awesome, that you could easily find what you want online. What is more, you have the option to customize these decorations too.

    Further, you can opt to make your own Christmas decorations. Scour the Internet for some really nice tutorials on how to make decors. Chances are, you will be surprised at how easy and beautiful home made decorations are.

    Lastly, you could get lower prices if you buy out of season. Christmas decorations bought now are cheaper than the same ones bought in December. This is plainly the law of supply and demand.

    MerryStockings.com Power Tip: New accents and decorations can add a whole new look to what you have, and it does not really have to be expensive. Check out our main site at http://merrystockings.com/ to see the great personalized and customized holiday decors we have.

  • How to Save on Decorating This Christmas – Part I

    Christmas is a time for being with family, friends and loved ones. It is a time to be share and love. It is a joyful time that is filled with laughter, good cheer and fun. It is easy to get excited for Christmas, especially if you know that you can get into the spirit even on a small budget.

    One of the favorite activities people do during the Christmas season is decorating their homes to reflect the festiveness of the season. Some people, however, have to work on a budget and that dampens their spirits. Somewhat.

    But do you know that you can still have a great looking home even if you have to decorate on a budget?

    Here are ways how to do just that:

    1. Reuse last year's decorations. Put out all the Christmas ornaments, Christmas stockings and other Christmas decorations that you have stored in the attic. There is really no reason to buy new decorations every year! Everything from Christmas ornaments to Christmas lights should be up for a renaissance!

    MerryStockings.com Power Tip: You might want to consider buying a plastic tree this year, so that you could reuse it year after year.

    2. Be creative with your arrangement and design. Just because you are using last year's decorations does not mean that you have to decorate your house in the same manner that you did last year. Change the arrangement of decorations that you have. If your Christmas tree was the center of attraction last year, maybe its place this year is in one of the corners. Last year's tree ornaments could be used to add flair to the wreaths on top of your fireplace.

    MerryStockings.com Power Tip: You can easily update older decorations by putting glitters, personalizing, and embellishing them. For example, Christmas stockings may be spiced up as explained in this previous blog post.

    Tomorrow, we’d give you even more ways to save on your Christmas decorations.

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