Archive for July, 2010

The Traditional Christmas Angel


If you like the traditional Christmas angel tree topper to pass down the generations and give unlimited joy to your family, you may want to consider Swarovski, who make an annual collectible crystal Angel ornament which is very beautiful as part of the Christmas collection. There are also several regular Christmas ornaments, so for a tree that really sparkles, this may be your choice. Each year they come out with just a few unique ornaments with the year engraved on it.

Establishing Traditions

You could even add new crystal Christmas angels each year, perhaps with crystal snowflakes to also hang amongst the branches. It would leave quite a spectacular collection for your family to share out and would ensure your children and grandchildren had a vintage Christmas angel or other crystal decoration each, to carry the tradition of the Christmas tree angel long after you after you have gone. What a wonderful way to ensure the traditions you started are long lived and your memory becomes a mainstay of the festive season as the tale is retold year after year.

Crafting Christmas

Of course Christmas tree toppers may not have that significance in your family and for you it may be more about using your craft to ensure a new and different cute Christmas angel adorns your family tree each year. You may prefer to make a Christmas star for the top of your tree or any number of other ornaments that you connect with the festive time. It’s amazing what an old egg box a bit of glue and perhaps some tinsel can transform into, and with the range of craft materials in the shops a truly professional finish is easily achieved. You can download Christmas angel patterns to make toppers or Christmas greeting cards to keep the children busy in the run up to the festive period, perhaps writing there own little poems to really personalise the card.  Of course it will all have to be sprinkled with glitter, which you will still be finding in the spring clean.

Alternative Ideas

Be different and daring with the Christmas angel banished to yesteryear and the Gothic or Emo angel taking pride of place. Have a Kylie or Lady Ga Ga angel dancing in your festive season. Or why not dress the tree all in black, with silver lights glittering away. Be a little risqué and have a red Christmas angel to set the tree alight, or perhaps try popping a baby Christmas angel into the Nativity crib. Or why not forgo the traditional tree in favour of an eco solution such as reusable Flat Pack Plywood Xmas Tree; a truly effective and terribly adult alternative, or perhaps a recycled cardboard Christmas tree may be more in your field of vision. There are no hard and fast rules, and if the traditional way is not for you, bring out those Christmas bells and ring in the changes as you set the trend for your very own imaginative ideas.

Sprinkle a little magic with this 15″ animated, fiber-optic angel. Synchronized movement with wings, head and arms.
Price: $24.99
Photo Courtesy of CreativeCommons

swarovski christmas angel

Christmas Plates: A Real Treat


If you are looking for Christmas plates, whether it is to eat your Xmas dinner off or to add to your collectables or decorate your home, you will be almost certainly looking for something a little unusual or spectacular. Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates are one of the many manufacturers you will probably encounter; decorative dinnerware really says something about your style and to eat off luxurious plates like these is really a rare treat.

To be able to present your guests with amazing food is only one aspect of dinning, to have a truly beautifully laid table full of the most wonderful china tableware is often out of the reach of the average family, so why not start now and begin your collection and lay the foundations of your Xmases to come on the tables of the next generations?

The Classics

What about classics such as Spode Christmas plates are well known and the Christmas Tree plate has got to be such a universally recognised festive pattern, you have probably encountered it along the way. My children adore my center piece plate in the range but they did not realise there is a full range of tableware, all with the beautiful tree and presents. You can purchase just the place mats or gravy jugs and anything in between so if you are looking for a full dinner service to build up over time for a family Christmas table, this enormous range will have something to suit the fussiest eater and will fascinate the children and adults alike.

The Rare, The Popular & The Affordable

Bing and Grondahl Christmas plates have been around since 1895 and are highly sort after; some are extremely rare and really are an investment that only serious craft collectors would contemplate. You can start your collection for a lot less though and if you love the blue designs many auction sites will have affordable platters to adorn your festive table. B & G Christmas plates price ranges are right across the board and really can be an affordable way to begin a collection if you shop online with care. A Copenhagen Christmas plate is certainly a great place to start your collection. Bing and Grondahl was merged into the Royal Scandinavian Group in the late 1980′s; Royal Copenhagen continues the production of many of the most popular and adored Bing and Grondahl collectibles.

A Bareuther Christmas plate beautifully hand-painted with pink flowers may not be your idea of the classic Xmas plate, but G. Johl, the artist, has written on the back “Christmas 1956” so if you do not want the fir tree scenes and are looking for something vintage, more eclectic and in keeping with the theme, this type of Christmas plate may be more to your taste.

A Hummel Christmas plate collection is another superb range often depicting angelic children in various poses that really will delight and add festive imagination to your home. The sets are extensive and a real treat to buy the collector as gifts each year. The beauty being that the prices do fluctuate from year to year so there will always be an item in your price range.

There are also plate sets with themes such as The 12 days of Christmas, these timeless classics look beautiful year after year as they come out of the attic to adorn the walls or sideboard in the dinning room. This year just don’t settle for the paper plates and dishes, but of course do have a fine stock of them in the cupboard, just in case you really do not want to trust the visiting children or tipsy adults with your very beautiful china.

Photo by Le Petit Poulailler **Courtesy of flickr.com

royal copenhagen christmas plate

Christmas Tree Toppers


If you are looking for novel Christmas tree toppers to give your tree that wow factor crystal Christmas party decorations may be on the expensive side but for a one off statement for the main focal point of your decoration, such as a Christmas tree topper it is well worth the investment as with care it will keep indefinitely and you will be able to pass it down the generations.

Decorations as Gifts

Angel tree toppers, for Christmas presents are also good ideas as you can really invest some money and thought into the article in much the same way you would a piece of jewellery. The important factor is that it is a keepsake to be used again and again whether it is glass or gold. It does not have to be an Angel of course tree toppers for Christmas trees reflect personal taste, so you may want to buy your loved one an old Disney fairy or other character that will grow in value as it brought out year every year to be the talking point unique to the family tree as they all grow up in its presence.

Do it Yourself

Handmade Christmas tree toppers are another idea to keep the children occupied in the run up to Xmas and Grandma will delight in getting out the Christmas tree toppers, stars fairies and ornaments the little ones have made over the years. Try Michaels a store that have a great range of art supplies and ideas to consider. You may want a country Christmas theme and ideas from the simple angel or bow to the resplendent finial are all available if you look hard enough. Western tree toppers such as rusty tin stars can be made at home, taking care with the safety aspect if it involves the little ones and will bring out the cowboy in you all. Macys is another store worth looking at for ideas on Xmas decorations

New Traditions

Whilst angel Christmas tree toppers may be the standard fare that most of you immediately think of to pop on top of the Xmas tree, with a little imagination and creativity you could start the new family trend by doing something a little different. You could ensure that your ideas go down in history and the seasonal rituals you thought up and instigated will live on in the family for many generations to come. Don’t be limited by convention, introducing new concepts that update the theme or add a new aspect to your family traditions all adds to the sense of belonging.

As we Grow

The teenagers may well be cringing at the Christmas photos and homemade decorations as they are revealed each and every year, but once the embarrassing years are passed they will love the rituals associated with the festive season and happily pass on the established traditions. The family Christmas video will also one day hold fond memories for you all with your old fashioned outfits and hairstyles, so make sure you collect all the memorabilia over the festive seasons to play back on those precious moments when you are together again. Some faces may not be present but the sadness of the passing will be replaced by the joy the new additions to the family bring.

Photo: CreativeCommon Results (Black Market Antiques)

christmas tree topper


If you are considering vintage Christmas lights to adorn your home this winter, your head may well be full of the romance of recreating displays from past eras. As you look through the old Christmas photos and see the shinning examples of real candles with actual flames adorning Victorian fir trees, you will probably dismiss this idea as a dangerous impractical solution for your home and you will be correct. Can you imagine the ensuing carnage of having real flames on your tree? Please do consider the insanity of such an idea and look to alternative solutions. There are some effective electric candle lights that look good and will certainly conjure up the image you require for the Christmas video. There are a number of highly practical aspects you will need to consider before you splash out on your old fashioned accessories or purchase your retro Christmas party decorations as well as any indoor or outdoor string lights or any other type of lighting.

Vintage Christmas Tree Lights

You will probably be scanning old photography collections for classic ideas for
old style vintage Christmas light display ideas. Safety has to be your first consideration though and if you are scouring garage sales/yard sales or car boot sales if you are in the UK for original or antique lights you have to be realistic about safety. If you intend to use electrical items you must have a professional check them out for safety. In the case of vintage outdoor Christmas lights you really would be insane to even contemplate such an idea without completely replacing the inner electrical workings of the lights. Consider this additional expense and factor the cost in to your purchases.

You will also need a good supply of vintage Christmas light bulbs to replenish your lights. Remember the modern day lights operate in a totally different way to the old style classics and if one bulb blows you will lose all the lights, so do discuss the options with your qualified electrical contractor to establish what you will need. If a totally new electrical refit means you can use modern replacements you will be in a better position to maintain your display.

Reproductions or Collectables

There are reproductions around so if you are looking for a particular style like vintage Christmas bubble lights it is worth seeing what is available. Take a picture of what you want to achieve shopping with you. Sometimes you can find alternatives that will still give you the required ambience without all the hassle. It may be a more practical solution to collect used non electrical original decorations, like the classic Christmas bells that have the art of the era with none of the dangers. You may find your interest in collectable decorations for the festive period becomes a hobby as your knowledge grows and your interest in the rarer and most collectable items becomes your focus. Older decorations are extremely fragile and often complex in design and home made from cotton or maybe delicate glass. They require a lot of care when being handled and stored. Do not be tempted to pop your best ornaments on the tree if you have a cat that likes to explore the branches or your visitors have unruly children.

Photo by Wonderlane **Courtesy of flickr.com

vintage christmas


If you are looking a the possibilities wholesale greeting cards offer and are prepared to buy in bulk there are many companies out there that will be able to meet your needs. We are all aware of the offerings of companies such as Hallmark who really impact with thoughtfulness for all occasion cards. Nowadays with the electronic card personalising our choices so easily, purchasing cards is not always an easy option.

How to Approach Buying in Bulk

When looking for greeting card wholesalers, it’s a good idea to start on line and check out exactly what is available before rushing into any decisions. There are many wholesale greeting cards suppliers around, most with a web presence. Leanin Tree has a fantastic range to assist you in gleaning ideas. Most companies do have a wholesale section, but to get significant discounts you may well need to be purchasing a large quantity with some regularity and will almost certainly need to be a registered company. However we all have to start somewhere and trading relationships like all relationships are built slowly and on trust and reputation, so it’s always good to get your foot in the door. It is a good idea to have some fixed ideas before you approach wholesale greetings cards companies. Think about the size and type of card and paper you want, maybe papyrus is a word you have never previously heard of but if you are looking for paper types it will become part of your vocabulary. Research tends to pay off so get busy.

Business Christmas Cards

If you intend to send out a large quantity of the same card, approaching a wholesale greeting card company seems a logical thing to cut down on expense. You can also have printed Christmas cards made in bulk for your company showing the company logo. A large print run only requires the one lot of art work and set up which is a large part of the costs involved. If, however, you want Christmas greetings without the personalisation, it may be much more cost effective. Business greeting cards are important to express your thank all year round and blank cards are often a good idea to suit any occasion and can double as invitations if you have an in house printer to personalise the wording on the inside of the cards.

Specialist Subject?

For more specific areas such as African American greetings cards or perhaps cards to express sympathy, a boxed selection containing a few ranges is best. Cards suitable for Christian events, or other religious festivals such as Eid, or Passover are good investments to keep tucked away for when needed. Current Catalog is a website worth checking out to investigate what is out there and if you are looking for a UK company try searching on wholesale greeting cards UK or select the country you require to pop on the end of your search term. Remember that most people like to share their knowledge, so when approaching companies do not be afraid to let them know you are new to this area and need assistance.

Photo by wikimedia commons

christmas card

Christmas Lights – Outdoor String Lights


There was a time when outdoor string lights were quite a novelty item only seen in shops and Christmas light displays, or maybe on exotic holidays. Nowadays outdoor string lighting is a popular attractive and effective choice that you see everywhere and it is very accessible to the average person without breaking the bank. If you are worried about energy and in this day and age we all need to conserve energy and protect our planet, try solar string lights. Outdoor entertaining at night using the suns rays collected in the day should relieve a little of the guilt. No matter where you are on the globe, you should be able to make use of exterior lights without compromising your principles.

Light Up Your Life

When you think of areas where you have seen outdoor string lights, restaurant, bar, or patio will probably spring to mind, or you may associate them with Christmas. As outdoor dining becomes more popular and you tend to invite guests to languish on the patio rather than in the dining rooms, you will want to find ways to make your outdoor areas more comfortable and inviting. Try coupling an outdoor string light with some candles, or tiki torches as the combination of the lighting can really change the ambience of the area. Pier One always have lots of brilliant ideas for outside entertaining so do check out the latest ranges. Bed Bath and Beyond also have a fine range of outdoor lanterns to compliment any garden yard or patio area.

Safety First

If you want to string Christmas lights outside in any weather but particularly in winter when rain or snow are much more likely, make sure to read the safety information as often you have to keep the transformer indoors or in a waterproof container . It can be easily done if you have a box or small table to put the transformer on, plastic is good to avoid the box drawing moisture from the ground up and then a simple bucket to cover the whole thing. Tree lights will also often need extension leads so again be particularly vigilant and ask for advice from the store when purchasing.

Lowes have a good range of smaller novelty string lights, but if you are looking for hanging lights for a large garden, you may have to go to a specialist lighting store. Bed Bath and Beyond do have a small range of party lights though. Bamboo lights are really effective outdoor patio string lights, and look good in most environments, be it cafe or patio. Pottery Barn have some really lovely items that could complete your theme, be it indoors or out.

Rope lights always look good indoors also and can have a really dramatic effect and make all the difference to a room wherever they are used. They are not just the domain of Christmas or youngsters bedrooms, so consider a string of rope lights around a mirror to add interest and reflect light. If you have an outdoor mirror, again this is a splendid idea for maximum effect.

Photo by Egan Snow **Courtesy of flickr.com

outdoor string lights

Christmas Greetings – Christmas Card Sayings


It’s time to think of Seasons Greetings and other Christmas card sayings and dittos to write the messages in all the cards that you will be sending out to all in sundry this time of year. If you make your own Christmas cards, and you may well want to utilise the new computer technologies and home printers available today. Many of you will be turning your hand to producing your own stylish individual designed offerings and you are probably looking for wording or Christmas greeting card sayings to pop into them to make each one personal but the question is where do you start to look?

Move Away From Tired Greetings

There are many standard Christmas sayings for cards which you can always fall back on but you will probably be looking for inspiration and ideas to convey your wishes in a more original way than just the standard festive thoughts, or seasons greetings. Christmas cards sayings can be bit tired; we have all seen Merry Xmas and a happy new year so many times, we do not even read the greeting, we just glance at it and pop it on the display. Do consider quotes from famous people as an alternative to the traditional Christmas fare. If you look on line there are wealth of sites that give you quotes on most aspects of life or emotions that are applicable to most situations.

Offering Comfort

Sometimes people are not that happy at Xmas, they may be recently bereaved or worried about a loved one, or recently estranged from a partner; verses that tell them how important they are and inspire hope for the future may be a good way to let them know you care at this difficult time, but in general standard merry Christmas card sayings will probably be a little insensitive. Try searching for religious or Christian inspirational poems or sayings; you will also get appropriate biblical quotes that you can pop into your cards for the more traditional aspect of the season and to offer comfort.

The Work Place

The suitability of the quote will depend on the friend or colleague you are sending the card to. Business Christmas cards will be a totally different approach to cards for friends, so whilst you may want your cards to business associates to be sharp and witty do bear in mind that not all your associates may not celebrate Christmas in the Christian ethos, so whilst you need to use this time of year to show them recognition for the value they bring to you professionally, it may be better to err on the side of safety and pop in a motivational quote.

Be Appropriate

There are many quotes that with a little thought and application can be appropriate and snappy for the work place. Great leaders or philosophers have inspired many before us and will inspire many to come. Funny Christmas card sayings might be best left to those nearest and dearest. Unless you really know the person really well you could end up hurting delicate sensibilities by trying to be funny but do search for humorous sayings or poems if you are sure they will be well received.

Photo by Martin Deutsch **Cortesy of sxc.hu

christmas cards