Tag Archives: Christmas

Outdoor Holiday Decor Etiquette

Every neighborhood has one. You know, the house so bright with holiday lights that it can be seen from the space station. If your that guy or gal, who prides themselves with their over the top decor follow these rules of holiday etiquette to maintain peace on Earth with your neighbors.

James Wheeler

Put up the holiday lights the day after Thanksgiving. Even though all the stores are pushing Christmas before Halloween, follow the Black Friday to the Epiphany (January 6) rule for putting up and taking down your own holiday decorations.

Know your neighbors floor plan. If your neighbor’s bedroom windows overlooks the side of your house, be courteous and not shine the lights directly at them. Make sure your display is not in your neighbor’s line of vision either. You don’t want to temporarily blind as they pull into their driveway. Same goes for those inflatables, that could block visibility to the road. If you’re not sure, create good will and ask your neighbors if the decorations are a nuisance.

It’s OK to keep the lights on all night. Putting the lights on a timer is an easy way to save energy, however it’s fine to leave them on all night as long as no one complains.

Cut the music. A light display set to music may look and sound fantastic but you must resist. Even if you were to turn off your display at a reasonable time, none of your neighbors want to hear Tis the Season to be Jolly on repeat.

Wesley Tingey

Know your neighborhood. Take note of the level of decorations in your neighborhood. Festive as it may seem, a massive holiday display is going to attract visitors, possibly creating a traffic nightmare. Don’t land on your neighbor’s naughty list! Proceed with restraint in your your Christmas decorating.

Don’t be a Scrooge. If you find your neighbors are the ones with lousy holiday décor etiquette, approach with caution. If their multiple generators keeping the lights going or blaring music is keeping you up at night, say something. Do so in a polite way and offer a compromise, such as an ideal time to shut the party down. If it’s an aesthetic complaint, keep it to yourself. That mechanical Santa and eight tiny reindeer is filling your neighbor with holiday cheer and that is what this time of year is all about.

Mr. H says: Christmas lights makes us feel eight years old again-Enjoy!

10 things you need to host a holiday party

Pulling off a holiday party at home is made easier by having a few basic things on hand to make your soiree stress free.

1. The list

The key to any successful event is to make lists of all the elements that will go into the party. Include all the food and beverages along with glassware, tables and chairs, etc. that need to be purchased, borrowed or brought out of storage.

2. A coat rack

Clear out a space for your guest’s to stash their coats and purses. If you have the room, a temporary coat rack will eliminate having jackets draped over your furniture during your event.

Portable coat rack
Bed, Bath and Beyond

3. All purpose wine glasses

Stemless, dishwasher safe glasses can serve double duty for both wine and cocktails. Keep the boxes and store the clean glasses in a dust free space so they are ready to go for your next party.

Stemless wine glasses
Luminarc

4. Festive paper products

Cocktail parties call for themed paper plates and napkins, making clean up a snap while creating a lovely setting. Use a larger luncheon size for the food table and cocktail napkins at the bar for drinks.

Christmas paper napkins
Caspari

5. An easy menu

Keep the menu simple with a variety of five or six items. Create a festive spread utilizing both store bought items and home made. Stock up on crackers and cookies so that if the food is running low you’ve got back up. Forgo serving anything that needs a fork opting for pick ups, dips, and veggies.

Mini beef wellington bites
Wiliams Sonoma

6. The punch bowl

Turn any type of clean vessel into a serving piece. No punch bowl, no problem since a soup tureen can hold a libation with a matching ladle too. Bonus: Having a batch of cocktails premade will make serving easier than making drinks individually.

White soup tureen
Pottery Barn

7. Serving pieces

Take inventory of your platters and trays, designating what they will hold ahead of time. Don’t forget your cake stands or tiered trays for creating various heights on the table.

White cake stand
Frontgate

8. Holiday decor

You don’t need expensive florist’s arrangement to create a holiday setting. Snip greenery from your yard and intermingle with pine cones, berry stems and flame less candles for an easy table top design.

Christmas decorations

9. Holiday tunes

Never underestimate the power of music. Besides providing background noise, Christmas music elevates everyone’s mood.

10. Trash cans

Make clean up easier on yourself by putting out plenty of trash cans for your guests to dump their used paper plates. Ditto on creating a dirty glass station with a tray near the kitchen.

Decorative serving tray
West Elm

Mr. H says: Tis the season to jingle and mingle-Enjoy!

Real or Faux Christmas Trees-the Facts

The Christmas tree is at the heart of the season’s holiday traditions. But as we become more eco-friendly does it make sense to cut down a living evergreen for such a short-lived pleasure? An artificial tree made of plastic doesn’t feel too “green” either. So it’s time to unpack the facts of both kinds of trees.

The Real

As with most types of farm products, Christmas trees are grown as managed crops. They are not cut down on a large scale in the wilderness. Taking about a decade to grow a six foot tree, farmers generally plant new trees to replace the ones that have been cut down.

Taylor Rooney

As the trees grow, they provide animal habitats, clean the air, and prevent soil erosion. Rolling hills, that are unsuitable for other crops, are where Christmas trees grow best. At the end of the season, real trees can be composted returning them back into the natural environment.

Keep your real Christmas tree looking good through the season by making a fresh cut to the trunk and immediately placing in warm water. Set up your tree away from direct heat sources and be sure to check the water level daily. It is not unusual for a tree to drink 2 gallons of water the first day it is the stand.

The Fake

Most people that opt for an artificial version do so out of convenience. (Disclaimer: Mine is fake!) Since artificial trees are made of metal and plastic they are not biodegradable like real trees. Recycling is nearly impossible since the materials used to fabricate the tree would be need to be separated to do so.

Artificial Christmas tree Balsam Hill
Balsam Hill

The question of eco-friendliness depends largely on how long you keep your artificial tree. The more seasons you reuse it, the more environmentally friendly it becomes.

Artificial Christmas Tree Birch Lane
Birch Lane

Look for artificial Christmas trees made with polyethylene, or PE plastic, instead of PVC. PE plastic is more durable and also tend to look more realistic. Proper storage in the off-season is key to ensuring that you can enjoy your Christmas tree for many seasons.

So now onto the next debate: white or colored lights?

Mr. H says: It’s not what’s under the tree that matters but who’s around it-Enjoy!