This article was co-authored by Matt Bowman. Matt Bowman is a Gardener and the Owner of the Tradition Company, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2006, Tradition Company provides car washing, lawn care, property maintenance, pressure washing, maid services, firewood delivery, and Christmas trees. With over 20 years of gardening experience, Matt specializes in organic vegetable gardening and general gardening practices. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia.
There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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When you choose to decorate your home with a real Christmas tree, there are steps you can take to keep the tree green, healthy and safe throughout the holiday season. If you love the characteristic aroma of an evergreen tree, then you need to take care of it at the source. It’s important that you know to appropriately choose and care for your tree so that it can last longer and you can be more environmentally conscious.
Gardener & Owner, Tradition Market & Garden Expert Interview. 21 April 2020. Gently stroke a branch on the tree to make sure that the needles are flexible and remain on the tree.  X Research source
Gardener & Owner, Tradition Market & Garden Expert Interview. 21 April 2020. It is much better to place it in a container of water that is replenished on a regular basis. You can buy special tree cradles or stands which screw into the base of the tree and provide watering space. Or, you can go for the rougher but tried-and-true method of using a bucket filled with small rocks (put the tree in, fill the bucket with rocks around the trunk). The tree should be provided with 1 quart (950ml) of water for every inch (2.5cm) in trunk diameter.  X Research source
- Note: ensure that whatever you use, the tree is stable. Don’t whittle down the bark of the tree just so that it can fit in the stand – that outer layer is the part that absorbs the most water.
Rejoice, it’s finally Christmas! And that means parties and Santa and a possibly fatal dose of “family time.” Around the world, there are shoppers out shopping and caramel corn that needs popping and stockings being hung by chimneys with care.
And while it’s true that nostalgic traditions are a huge part of what makes Christmas that most magical time of the year, why not make this the year you start some new traditions of your own? Here are 25 ideas to help you get started on making this season the brightest (and most creative) one yet.
1. First things first, buy Vince Guaraldi’s jazz classic album A Charlie Brown Christmas and put it on repeat. Never before has a cartoon soundtrack been so classy and so perfect for so many different occasions.
2. Brew up some joy by making a festive “aroma pot” (orange, cinnamon, apple cider, cloves) early one Saturday morning and let it simmer on the stove all day long. Then sit back and let the Ghost of Christmas Delicious fill your entire home with seasonal smells.
3. Surprise a neighbour, colleague or stranger with a freshly baked treat. But no fruitcakes, please.
4. Go ahead and actually read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this year. Go beyond the Muppets (God bless them) and get to know this oft retold (but too often watered down) story of salvation. And if you’re really brave, try Dickens’ other seasonal classic, The Cricket on the Hearth.
5. Incorporate more candlelight into your home and soak up the chilled-out winter ambiance. Candles somehow make everything prettier.
6. Find a way to smell some good old-fashioned woodsmoke—a campout, bonfire, fireplace or even a metal trashcan full of Home Depot scraps. Just make it happen, whatever it takes.
7. Put on some cozy house slippers and commit to a new winter-friendly (in other words, indoor) hobby: knitting, wood carving, finger painting … you’ll figure it out.
8. Spend the afternoon volunteering at a homeless shelter and rediscover what it really means to be thankful and generous.
9. Tie a little 99 cent Christmas bell to your keychain or front door handle and let the jingling begin (as a bonus, you’ll be winning big time with all the angels hoping for promotion this year).
10. Try making homemade hot cocoa mix (and homemade ‘mallows): then add hot milk, sip, share and repeat.
11. Create a flash mob of generosity. Make some Salvation Army bell ringer’s day by coordinating a group to fill that little red bucket with rapid-fire ascending donations: “here’s a quarter, Merry Christmas!” “Here’s a dollar, Merry Christmas!” “Here’s a check for two hundred dollars, donated from our college Ultimate team, Happy New Year!” Then dare that kindly bell ringer not to be filled with goodwill toward men.
12. Take a long walk out in the cold just to get that good rosy-cheeked feeling. Then see number 10.
13. Plan a “Christmas Remix-Mas” themed talent show / game night with friends or family: featuring charades and the restaging of beloved Christmas movie scenes (“Griswold!”)
14. Savor Peppermint-flavored everything. Especially those beautifully fleeting light-green packaged M&Ms.
15. Learn to play and then fall in love with the riotous Danish Christmas game “Pakkeleg” (think ‘white elephant’ at 100 mph).
16. Go Christmas caroling. In the right setting, and with the right ensemble (and just a dash of Christmas courage) your chorus of festive voices can change someone’s world.
17. Make sure to get outside and play in snow. Don’t forget to catch a snowflake or two on your tongue and ”taste the happy.”
How to Master the Cheap Date (Without Being Cheap)
18. Find someplace you can take a carriage ride, then just do it. It’s not cheesy—it’s Christmas.
19. Try your hand at “Guerilla Decorating.” Identify something bland, ugly or Scrooge-ish in your office, city or neighborhood and give it the Buddy the Elf treatment: a little TLC, a smattering of glitter and a strand of twinkling white lights can save any old humbug!
20. Watch a few non-traditional “Christmas movies” that focus on the beauty of redemption. Obviously start with The Royal Tenenbaums.
21. Attend a Christmas concert at a local church or community center. But only if they promise to play the handbells (call ahead and ask about this. Trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting through two hours of amateur choral music and then getting no handbells. The only prescription is more handbells!).
22. Read The Night Before Christmas aloud to a child (but be prepared for him or her to ask you “the big question” about Father Christmas.)
23. Four words: freshly roasted candied almonds.
24. Resurrect Santa for Mom and Dad. Surprise your parents by doing for them what they did for you all those incredible years: make Christmas morning magical. Get up early, spread out gifts, light the fire, brew some coffee and hang those stockings by the chimney with care! This is a guaranteed memory-maker.
25. Lastly (and this is bordering on heretical), try buying no presents this year. I guarantee you that the people you love the most will treasure quality time, homemade gifts and the memories made much more than anything you can get from Amazon Prime. Plus, this way, you can avoid that whole “The Drone Who Stole Christmas” scenario, and replace seasonal materialism with something a little closer to the True Meaning of Christmas.
A special thanks to Ashlyn Sailsbury for help with this list.
Austin Sailsbury lives, writes, and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can follow him on twitter @austinsails and at his blog Wayfarers All.
This article was co-authored by Harmony Corelitz. Harmony Corelitz is a Plant Specialist and the Operations Manager at Plants and Friends, a plant shop and nursery based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Harmony grew up helping her parents run their family business in plant maintenance and interior plantscaping. She holds a BA in Literature and Spanish from the University of San Francisco. Harmony specializes in indoor plant care and interior plant design. She started her pop-up plant and vintage home goods shop called Younger Child and has helped Plants and Friends grow and expand to two locations.
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A beautiful holiday plant (botanically known as Schlumbergera or Zygocactus), the Christmas Cactus unsurprisingly blooms at Christmas and also sometimes around Easter time if cared for properly. A month prior to Christmas you will be able to watch the tips of the leaves beginning to grow. The tips grow darker as each day passes, until a bud forms. At Christmas time, as if by magic, the buds open to a beautiful flower that will add color and warmth to any holiday season.
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is a popular winter-flowering houseplant that usually blooms over the holidays at the end of the calendar year. Varieties offer flowers in many different shades. Native to Brazil, Christmas cacti are epiphytes that grow in tree branches in rain forests. Since their stems hang down, they are perfect plants for hanging baskets.
If a stem of your mature Christmas cactus is getting woody, it doesn’t mean that anything is amiss. That means that there is no reason to try fixing a Christmas cactus with woody stems. Read on for more information about woody Christmas cactus.
Woody Christmas Cactus Stems
A Christmas cactus that is cared for properly will last a long time, a quarter-century or even longer. Ideal Christmas cactus growing conditions include light shade in summer and full sunlight during fall and winter. Too much sun in summer pales or yellows the plants.
Christmas cactus plants generally grow large with age. As the plant gets older and bigger, the base of the stems get woody. There is no need to think about fixing a Christmas cactus with woody stems. This is a perfectly natural condition and woody Christmas stems indicate a healthy plant.
Care of Old Christmas Cactus
If you buy or inherit an old Christmas cactus, it is likely a large plant. Proper care of old Christmas cactus includes cutting back overgrown branches and, sometimes, repotting the plant.
One of the first steps in the care of old Christmas cactus is a good trim of the branches. When the branches become too long and heavy, they are likely to break off, so it’s better if you trim instead. This is especially true if the leaves look shriveled, thin, or limp at the ends.
Trim the branches back by clipping at the segment joints. For overgrown cactus, cut each branch back by at least a third and up to three-quarters of its length. If a branch of the Christmas cactus is getting woody at the base, you can even cut it all the way back to the woody section. New green sections will grow from the wood.
One of the most popular forms of ministry today is the ministry that makes a big splash, garners a lot of attention, and possibly gets reported in the news.
And while good does come from “Go Big” forms of ministry, there are other ways to love others like Jesus. If we think the big splash ministry is the only way to minister, then we will ignore all the small, effective, practical ways of loving others that might actually make more tangible and lasting impact on the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. This is partly why Jesus spoke of giving a cup of cold water in His name (Matt 10:42) and liked the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Matt 13;31-32).
It is often the small, easy, cheap, affordable, insignificant, simple acts of love and kindness that do the most to help people experience the love of Jesus through your life.
What sort of things? Below are 14 practical ways to love others like Jesus. There are thousands of such ways, but the following are 14 of the things that my family does to try to show love to others. They are not things you necessarily have to do, but are simply offered as examples.
If we want to simply love others, then we can love others simply.
Please feel free to share some of your own suggestions in the comments below.
14 Ways to Love Others Like Jesus
- Love the person right in front of you. There is so much pain and loneliness in the world, you can be pretty sure the person next to on the bus or the checker at the grocery store could use a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand. Get off your cell phone and talk to them. Get to know them. Ask them how their day is going… and mean it. Remember their name.
- Take food to your neighbors. Like what? Nothing fancy… a plate of cookies, a loaf of fresh-baked bread. When you give it to them, don’t drop it in their arms and run. Stand and talk for a bit if they seem to want that. Don’t invite yourself in and don’t invite them to church. Just be friendly.
- Have neighbors over for dinner or dessert. Don’t make it formal or fancy. Just pizza and pop. Or BBQ and beer. Don’t try to turn it into a Bible study. Just laugh, tell stories, and listen.
- Hand out homeless bags to people you see on the street. We carry 2-3 bags around in our car and hand out them out when we see people begging on street corners. The ones we hand out contain a tarp, a pair of socks, some non-perishable food, a bottle of water, a scarf, and whatever else we can find.
- Watch the children of single mothers so they can go shopping alone. Or, men, offer watch all the kids so your wife and the other woman can go get some coffee and chat.
- Take up gardening so you can talk to your neighbor who is all alone.
- When you take your kids to activities, don’t retreat to your car and listen to the radio or text on your cell phone. Stick around and talk with any other parents who are there.
- Do the Twelve Days of Christmas for a friend or neighbor. What is this? It’s Twelve Days of “Secret Santa.” Every day, you sneak over, leave a gift or present on their doorstep, ring the bell, and run! If you have children, they LOVE doing this around Christmas time.
- Put together Shoe Boxes with Samaritan’s Purse.
- Help raise money to rescue girls in slavery. Sell candy or treats, not for a band trip to Hawaii, but to raise money to rescue girls from slavery or some other human need.
- Help a missionary family overseas by doing things they cannot do where they are. Download podcasts and load hundreds of them on a CD and send it to them. Help them set up and run a blog. Send them clothes and crafts they cannot get overseas.
- Pack and deliver boxes of food and presents on Christmas Eve to families in the community that are less fortunate. Just give them the presents. No gospel tracts.
- Volunteer to help feed the poor and homeless in your area. Bring crafts to do with the children.
- Buy food for a homeless person on the street, and then sit and talk with them while they eat (If they don’t mind). Hug them!
The bottom line is that simple (not big and glorious) acts of kindness are effective ways of loving others like Jesus. None of these are glamorous. None of them will get you recognized in church. None of them will get you interviewed on television, BUT they don’t cost an arm and a leg and they won’t burn you out either. They are just simple ways to be kind every day to friends and strangers so that we can offer light and love and hope to the people around us.
Oh…. And please, please, please, do not ever do any of these things with the intention or goal of getting people to attend your church. This is where most Christians screw it up BIG TIME. If we go help our neighbor mow his lawn because he broke his leg, and then after you’re done you invite him to church, he is going to know that you don’t really care about him at all. All you really care about is getting his butt in a pew on Sunday morning so you can brag to all your Christian friends about how you mowed his lawn and rescued him from the fires of hell.
As I have said before, Christian love does not consist in asking someone to come to church with you. If your only reason for loving people is to get them into church, just stay home and watch TV.
Beautifully decorated christmas trees pop up every where. Buildings are dressed in lights, mistletoes, bells, and other Christmas decorations. Santa Claus, his elves and reindeer are seen every where. Kids get more and more excited as Christmas approach. Even grown ups prepare for the onslaught of Christmas partying during that time of the year. Party dresses are purchased. Everyone gets ready to dress to their nines.
In all this excitement, do you know what you are celebrating?
What is Christmas actually? It sometimes seems like a brillian invention of the toy makers to push sales of toys to all the parents around the world. A sales marketing ploy of the retail industry.
Actually, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Long ago, a little baby was born to a girl who was still a virgin. The baby was born in a manger, among the animals, yet angels proclaimed his birth. Wise men followed a star that marked his birth and presented him with precious gifts, to pay homage to him. It all seemed so beautifully sweet.. until you realise the reason why this child was born.
This baby was born to die. To be crucified on the cross while still in his prime. Killed alongside murderers, on the insistence of the crowds, even though he had not committed a crime. days after being welcomed into Jerusalem by crowds of people waving palm leaves, shouting Hosanna, praising him.
It was a gruesome death. He was whipped and then his body, all covered with blood, still a live, was nailed to a cross and left to die. Upon his death, the skies turned dark. There was an earthquake The curtain separating the holiest place in the temple in Jerusalem from the rest of the area was torn in two.
3 days later, his tomb was empty and the heavy stone was rolled away. His disciples and those close to him saw him. He spent time with them, ate with them, showing he was alive and not a ghost. Later, while talking to a crowd of people, he rose up in the sky disappeared into the clouds.
All this happened for a reason.
The first man and women, Adam and Eve disobeyed God. That was the first sin. From then on, every one of us sins. A tiny white lie, doing what we know we shouldn’t do. The penalty for sin is death http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/overheads/pages/oh20021004_139.asp The only one who did not sin is Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. Jesus had to die on the cross to win forgiveness for anyone who chooses to accept his gift. The real Christmas gift.
Sounds far fetched? That’s why they are called miracles. Miracles are still happening today. All over the world. Check out http://www.lighthouse.org.sg/ which has miracle services every Saturday. You can read the pastor’s latest sermon each week there too.
A good resource that explains every detail of the Christmas story is http://www.answersingenesis.org/ Actually, that site explains the creation vs evolution theories, dinosaurs and a lot more.
So the next time the pressures of Christmas preparations drive you up the wall and you wish you could kill the person who invented Christmas, don’t worry. You already have.
About the author:
The writer is the webmaster of http://www.christmas-giftshop.com/.
How To Make Your Own Soap Favors For Weddings And Baby Showers
Want to make soap as a gift for your party guests? Here are some simple tips for making soap gifts and favors:1. There are literally hundreds of different ingredients that can be used for soap making. Basically, you will need the following – soap chips or soap base, essential or fragrance oil for scent, and colorants. You will also need a soap mold and a pot to melt the soap in. 2. The easiest way to make soap is to take an already made bar of soap and melt it down. The bar will already have all the ingredients you.
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Christmas Cactus are a popular plant to give and receive during the holiday season. When taken care of, they can last for years and put on a flowering show each season. If you want to learn more about how to care for a Christmas Cactus, take a look at 7 Christmas Cactus Care Tips below. These tips will help you grow a healthy Christmas Cactus that is sure to perform year after year.
7 Christmas Cactus Care Tips
1. Opt for a warmer climate.
Although they are called a Christmas Cactus, these plants still prefer warmer air like most cacti do. Grow your plant in a space that is at least 60 degrees. In most homes, this will be the case and you won’t run into any issues. However if you plan on keeping your plant outdoors, you want to be sure it never gets lower than 60 degrees.
2. Let your plant enjoy a variety of light.
Christmas Cactus enjoy a variety of lighting options. Feel free to give them some moderate light as well as some shade. They can handle direct light in limited quantities. They shouldn’t have more of one of these lighting options than the other.
3. Keep the plant misted.
Your soil should always be damp but not with standing water. Just allow it to be damp to the touch. Your cactus will also enjoy being misted, so keep a spray bottle near for daily spraying.
4. Be sure to take the time to repot.
Christmas Cactus will enjoy being repotted each year, especially if they have flowered. Feel free to fertilize with a standard houseplant fertilizer when you do.
5. Use a hummus mix.
Christmas Cactus love a hummus mixture soil. Utilize this type of mixture (available at gardening centers) so your plant can really dig in and enjoy its new space.
6. Beware of dropping buds.
If it seems as though your buds are falling off too soon, it may be a hint that something is wrong. Check the soil to make sure it is wet enough. Also, be sure your plant is getting rotated for light and shade. It may also be time to consider a larger pot. Give these tips a try and see if the bloom dropping improves.
7. Warm up the space when buds appear.
When the buds begin to appear, take the plant to a warmer space in the home. This will help the plant bloom better and put on a more colorful show.
Growing Christmas Cactus can be easy and rewarding. Give these 7 tips for growing Christmas Cactus a try and see how they work for you.
by Cheri Gregory
Might you be a Highly Sensitive Person ?
Take the “Am I a Highly Sensitive Person?” self-quiz to find out!
* * * * * In the 7 years since I first wrote this post, it’s gotten lots of Google hits three times a year: before & after Christmas, before & after Valentine’s Day, and before & after Mother’s Day.
For a wider variety of perspectives on this topic, I invite you to also read my follow-up post: “ How to Fix a Non-Gift-Giving Husband (Take 2) “
For a specific “Ah-HA!” on the issue, check out “ Why No Gift from My Husband is Not a Problem .
And if you’re in a neurodiverse marriage, “When You Love Gift-Giving but He Doesn’t.“
Please note: This blog post shares one woman’s experience with her own expectations in a marriage of two well-intentioned but very imperfect people. Marriages that involve abuse, addiction, adultery, abandonment, and/or apathy are beyond the scope of this post.
“She gives you a list, and you still can’t get it right? You idiot!” Daniel shouted at the TV.
I was thrilled by his reaction!
Finally, I thought, I am going to turn my husband into a gift-giver!
For the first decade of our marriage, I’d been routinely disappointed by Daniel’s gift-giving…or, to be more accurate, complete lack thereof.
I always spent months looking for just the right gifts for him for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, and his birthday.
He always asked, “Where did you find this?” in amazement as he opened each truly perfect-for-Daniel present.
In contrast, if he ever gave me a gift (which was rare) it was usually an impersonal “cop-out”: my term for a gift certificate.
I always translated his rationale (“The real gift is giving you full freedom of choice!”) as I really don’t care enough about you to find something unique and meaningful.
I tried dropping hints.
Once, I even bought a gift myself.
Our kids were little, and another certain-to-be-un-celebrated Mother’s Day was approaching. I picked up a pair of “I Love My Mommy!” earrings at a craft fair.
At home, I gave them to Daniel to have the kids give me. He put them away in a safe hiding place…and they’ve not been seen since, even three moves later!
Making the List
Emboldened by Daniel’s reaction to “Men Who Can’t Figure Out How to Give Gifts to Their Wives,” I asked him, “So if I gave you a list would that help?”
To which he replied (much to my joy!) “Of course! That would be fantastic!”
I spent hours going through catalogs. Tearing out pages. Using Post-It flags. I settled on ten items, all different, all in the same reasonable price-range.
- One sweater (since he loves sweaters)
- One necklace (in subdued colors he likes)
- One book (on a topic that interests him)
- One kitchen item (that he would use)
I told him repeatedly that any one item on the list would be fine.
Then, I couldn’t wait for Christmas!
Finally we’d fixed the problem.
Finally I would have a gift with a little tag that said, “To: Cheri From: Daniel”
Once a Non-Gift-Giver…
You don’t really need me to write the rest of the story, do you?
Christmas came and went.
Finally I asked, “What happened with the list I gave you?”
He responded, “Well nothing on it was the kind of gift I would get for you.”
(For the record, I did request and receive heavenly strength to avoid yelling, “There’s no such thing as ‘the kind of gift you would get me’ because you never ever get me gifts!”)
I was frustrated.
Finally, I accepted reality:
- He was never going to change.
- His lack of gift-giving wasn’t my problem.
- My continued expectations that he would become my kind of gift-giver was my problem.
Psalm 39:7 took on all new meaning, as I realized I had — once again! — been demanding from Daniel the kind of fulfillment only God can give:
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
A Generous Gift-Giver
On the job, Daniel makes dozens of decisions an hour.
But my disrespect for his Phlegmatic nature during the early years of our marriage laid down a foundation of fear.
He would rather do nothing than risk disappointing me.
Yes, I still feel a twinge of sadness when Valentine’s Day, my birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas come and go gift-free. I have to actively resist the urge to compare “my husband” to “her husband” as the photos go live on Facebook and Twitter.
But then I remember that
- every morning, I don’t fall down the stairs as I trudge down them at 5:30 AM because Daniel’s gone ahead of me and turned on the kitchen light.
- every 30,000 miles, Daniel takes time out of his life to drive my car to the Nissan dealership, sit and wait while it’s being serviced, and then bring it home so I’ll be safe.
- every time Daniel walks in the front door, and I call out, “Hello Husband!” he responds, “Hello Beautiful!”
So, four days out of the year, he doesn’t fit the profile of a Hallmark Man.
365 days a year he fits the profile of my gift-of-self-giving husband!