How to Choose the Perfect Artificial Christmas Tree

Purchasing an artificial Christmas tree can be an effective and convincing alternative to decorating your home with a real tree. Compared to traditional Christmas trees, artificial trees require less maintenance and don’t create a sticky, sappy mess. When the first artificial trees entered stores, there were only a handful of models to choose from. Today, artificial trees can be purchased in all shapes and sizes to accommodate any living space. Pre-lit trees make decorating easier than ever before and branches that lock in place guarantee your valuable ornaments will stay hanging till the tree is boxed up in January.

The Right Price

Artificial trees generally cost anywhere between $100-$1000 depending on size, quality, and features. The first artificial trees were cheaply made and poorly replicated the aesthetic of a real tree. Today, even the least expensive artificial trees are relatively convincing. Although your artificial tree will never have the distinct piney aroma of a real tree, the more you are willing to spend, the more realistic artificial trees become. Some brands even offer trees that are made from the molds of real Norwegian spruce branches and various fir types. Cheaper artificial trees often carry two to three year warranties, with premium models insured for up to 10 years.

Lights all Night 

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Photo by allison.johnston via Flickr 

Pre-lit trees take away nearly all the hassle of decorating your tree, just hang up your ornaments and you’re done. Although pre-lit trees usually cost more than purchasing an unlit tree and going through the process of stringing lights, the time saved will convince most people to purchase a pre-lit tree. Pre-lit trees come in a variety of colors, and some even contain multi-color and white lights.

The Height of the Season

Have you ever bought a Christmas tree that scraped the ceiling once you brought it inside? Although artificial trees can be returned to the store if they don’t fit, assembling and disassembling them is a bit of a pain. Never purchase a new tree without first measuring the height of the ceiling. An average tree is roughly 7.5 feet tall, which should fit in most houses, but you can never be too careful. If you’re trying to deck the halls with a truly epic tree (10 feet or more) measuring the ceiling can become a do-or-die endeavor. Always measure twice, but only purchase once.

Handsome Firs
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Photo by Krystal B via Flickr

Artificial trees come in an array of styles. In fact, Christmas Lights Etc. offers 14 varieties of trees with different replicant firs including Fraser, Carolina, Noble, Balsam, Hunter, Douglas and more. Choosing the right fir and texture can help beautify your home without the use of lights, giving it a more natural aesthetic than your typical Christmas decorum.

A Place to Hibernate

Purchasing an artificial tree makes sense. With less mess, less maintenance, and no annual cost after the initial purchase, the artificial tree is theoretically superior to the traditional tree in nearly every way. However, there is one glaring drawback. When we’re done celebrating Christmas with a traditional tree, we throw it away or recycle it. Artificial trees have to be disassembled and stored, and they take up a lot of space. Designating a storage area before purchasing is important, otherwise that enormous box may end up in your living room come New Years Eve.

Purchasing the right artificial tree can save you from having to purchase another tree down the road. You wouldn’t pick the first real tree you saw at a farm would you? Shopping for artificial trees requires the same level of commitment and attention, but you won’t have to buy another tree next year.

Christ is the Reason for the Season

Christmas is just 14 days away and I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet. Anyway, I have noticed that the Christmas season seems to bring more stress to people now than the past years. Everywhere you go, the stores sell all sorts of items which could be possible Christmas gifts for your loved ones and friends. But as I take a moment to reflect, the gift giving isn’t the most important aspect of Christmas at all. It is Christ.

Most often than not, Christ is no longer the reason why people gather or exchange gifts. Christ is not even mentioned and remembered during the entire party or gathering. There is nothing wrong with all the merriment, but if Christ is not mentioned, everything is just meaningless. In our family, we are intentionally bringing back Christ into our Christmas.

I would like to share with you some ways to bring Christ back into Christmas:

Discuss the advent.  We read Bible verses together starting December 1 until December 25. We discuss, do crafts and pray together as we reflect on the meaning of the season. This year, we are using Why Christmas ebook as our devotional guide.

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Discover the meaning of Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, why Christmas is celebrated o December 25th, gift giving, Santa Claus and other details. We used the book  The Adevnture of Christmas the past years to do this.

Do the Jesse Tree. It brings a different kind of perspective into Christmas. We saw how God has been involved in mankind’s creation to salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ. We worked on the Jesse Tree last year.

Develop a thankful attitude. Instead of talking about wish lists, make a thankfulness list and share it together as a family. We started a blessings jar at the beginning of the year and we plan to open this jar as a family come Christmas eve. There are many blessings through out the year and it is so easy to take these blessings for granted.

Christmas is all about Christ giving us the best gift which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Let us not forget that He is the reason for this joyous season.

Our Christmas Ham from Frabelle Foods

Christmas celebrations in the Philippines consists of family reunions, gifts and food! Of course when it comes to food, there will always be ham on the table. This year, I was blessed to try Premium Honey Glazed Ham from Frabelle Foods. It was my family’s first time to taste it and I can say that we loved it. The tenderness of the meat is just right and the taste makes you want to eat some more!

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What I didn’t know is that this Honey Glazed Ham is prepared the classic or traditional way. That is why the ham is tasty all the way inside.It is naturally smoked using real natural woodchips. According to Frabelle, they use pure honey that is blow-torched and the ham is made of whole-muscle meat that comes from the ham-leg which makes it tender but  doesn’t break when being cooked!

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If you want to find more information about Frabelle Foods and their other products, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/frabellefoods and their website at http://www.frabelle.com/

Keeping Christ in Christmas

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“I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”

Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Probably because every one is extra nice, and because I get to spend some time with special people like family and friends. But more than that, I love Christmas because we are celebrating the birth of Christ. But through the years, I have noticed that Christmas has become more of a “gift giving” season rather than celebrating the birth of Christ. Seldom do we hear families reflecting on who Christ is and what Christmas really means.

For our family, we have started to do different Christmas family traditions where we focus on Christ. This year, we started our Jesse Tree. Every day, we read Bible verses starting with God’s creation of the world until the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is how our Jesse Tree looks like right now.

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Last year, we went through the book The Adventure of Christmas. It is a good way to understand where several of our Christmas traditions come from. Like the Christmas tree, the Christmas lights, candy cane and why we decorate the Christmas tree. We get to be reminded why we do all of these fun fare during the Christmas season.

A few weeks before Christmas, our family sings Christmas carols which reflect Christ’s birth and life. We get reminded that it is all about his birth which makes Christmas special. We also remember that He came to earth to give His life for us. We do our share by giving our best to the poor and less fortunate people of our society. Giving and sharing is what makes Christmas really special.

How do you and your family keep Christ is Christmas? Share them with us!

Here are the links to the other blog carnival participants. I hope you’ll take the time to visit them and leave a comment on their posts! 🙂 The list will be updated throughout the day, so please do come back and check on them. God bless us all!
Homeschool Mosaics: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Joy: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interruptions
The Breadbox Letters: Interrupted by Glory
TwentyTuesdayAfternoons: Keeping Christ in Christmas/ The Season of Giving / A Wee Bit of Beach Holiday Angst
The Learning Basket: Staying With the Nativity Story
Tercets: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Ate Maui: Hoping and Bringing Hope
Written By the Finger of God: 12 Traditions for Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique’s Desk: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Felix at Fifty: What Jesus Wants for Christmas
Mommy Bares All: Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day
Between Now and Later: Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying…
Lique’s Antics: Family Antics: Christmas Reflection
Life of Fortunate Chances: Our First Ever Christmas: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Mommy Journey: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Roller Coaster Ride: How to Remind Your Kids of Jesus Christ This Christmas
Cymplified: Christ -Centered Christmas: Cymplified!
Mountain Grace: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Touring Kitty: Grown-up Christmas List
Mommy Chinkysoup for the Soul: A Very Special Christmas
City Girl, Country Home: Finding Jesus in a Flurry
Coffee Moments with Sam: Christmas Unwrapped: 5 Presents Our Kids Truly Deserve
Raising Lifelong Learners: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Celebrating the Golden Days
Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Truly Rich Mom: The Greatest Gift of All This Christmas
Joy-Filled Family: CHRIST in Christmas
Blueberry 010: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
Deeper Truth Blog: Keeping Christ in Christmas Carnival
Holy Ducklings: 10 Ways to Make Advent Special for Your Little Ducklings
Green Eggs and Moms: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Green Eggs & Moms Style!

Filipino Christmas at Meralco!

We visited Meralco Theater to watch Aladdin last November 30th. We were also there to witness the Christmas lights all around the Meralco compound. The decorations portray the typical Filipino Christmas. I was glad that the decorations and structures didn’t have any  retractable stanchions and that everyone can go and enjoy the decorations all around.

There was even a bazaar and some food stalls outside too. It is a great way to experience a Filipino Christmas!