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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Real or Artificial? The Debate over Christmas Trees

Which tree should you buy?

Artificial tree lovers perpetuate the argument that once-living 
trees contribute to deforestation. Tree farmers, in turn, point out that the first artificial tree was made by a toilet brush manufacturer, thus making artificial trees nothing but big green toilet 

Now, the Farmington Hills Fire Department isn't about to tell you which tree to buy,
 since that is a personal decision. But there are more than a few factors to consider when buying 
a tree or before you set up the one you've already bought.

Here are some facts about both trees that you may find helpful in making 
your decision:

Artificial Trees

Pros: Many are very durable lasting 6-10 years.

 They're easy to set up.  Some models are like an umbrella -- open it right up, and you're done.
 Some models come with the lights already installed in the branches.

 No maintenance. Water isn't required, and you never get that "Charlie Brown tree" look.  Most of these trees look perfect.

Cons: Many models are initially expensive, costing over a $100 dollars and up. Although, 
if you continue to use it for many years, it could save money.

 Eighty-five percent are made in China – no supporting of local business here.

 Most are made from PVC (polyvinylchloride), which is not bio-
degradable. Branches are made from lead, which is a toxic metal that can cause
 damage to the brain and nervous system. Most end up in a landfill.

 With artificial trees, there is no natural scent, and as you will soon see, they are the worst choice with regards to fire safety.

Real Tree


 Environmentally friendly. As many as 45 million trees were planted last year in 
North America, providing great habitat for wildlife, removing dust and pollen from 

the air, and producing oxygen. Real trees can be recycled, and when decomposed,
 provide nutrients to back into the earth. 

They smell natural and great.

 Because they are grown in all counties of the state, real trees help local businesses and farmers.

 If properly maintained, they are the best choice with regards to fire safety

. You can make getting your tree a family tradition and cut your own



 Depending on the type and size, real trees can cost $20-$200

. Trees need to be watered daily, or needles start to fall, and the tree can present a


The definitive safety test

In 2004, the Farmington Hills Fire Department conducted a test of various Christmas trees to determine how they would fare in a house fire. The artificial tree, which was advertised as "flame retardant," did 
resist flames for a few seconds, but once ignited, was engulfed in flames in under a minute. It filled
 the room with thick black, toxic smoke and hydrogen chloride gas. Even with a smoke alarm to
 give you an early warning, members of a household would be seriously challenged to get out 

A "live" Christmas tree which was not maintained and allowed to dry, also ignited after about 
a minute. It, too, produced smoke, but not nearly as thick or black as the artificial tree. A family 
would have to have an escape plan in place, and react quickly to escape their home safely.

The "live" Christmas tree, which was maintained and watered daily, would not ignite. The boxes
 around the tree ignited, but the tree itself would not burn. Early warning from a working smoke
 alarm may notify a family long before the fire was able to grow, allowing for a quick, safe and
 easy escape from the home.

From a fire safety standpoint, it was obvious that the Christmas tree providing families with the
 best chance to escape a fire was the "live", well maintained tree.

Regardless of what you buy, always have working smoke alarms in your home. One should be
 provided for each level. Also purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is known
 as the "silent killer", as it is odorless, colorless and tasteless.

Have an escape plan. Go over it
 and practice it with each member of the family. Know where to go outside and dial 911 once safely 
there. Never go back inside for any reason.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday season!

Lieutenant Denny Hughes is a fire and safety educator with the Farmington Hills Fire 

Everblades Christmas Decoration Jerseys

Greg Wyshynski, otherwise known as Puck Daddy, questioned whether the jerseys the Blades wore last weekend - a lime-green, red and blue concoction with palm trees, Christmas decorations and the words 'Happy Holidays' - were the worst a hockey team donned in 2010. His description suggested he believed they were.

"Please do not adjust the contrast on your screen: The ECHL's Florida Everblades wore these adventures in color ... losing the game and their dignity."

The Florida Everblades' specialty holiday uniforms didn't put a popular Yahoo! Sports hockey blog in the Christmas spirit.

Blades public relations director Kevin Reiter said the club was led to believe the uniforms would be darker green. The team auctioned off the jerseys following Saturday's game, raising more than $12,000 for the Deb Kelsey Foundation, which helps underprivileged children play hockey.

While the jerseys made money for a good cause, there certainly were mixed reviews.

"We talked to a lot of people and most of the fans thought they were horrendous," long-time Blades fan Butch Goble said. "But my wife Michelle thought they were cute."

Goble's response when his wife got one in the auction? "Your money, dear. Not from my money, your money."

Everblades coach Greg Poss, who read Wyshynski's blog, admitted his players weren't that excited about wearing the jerseys.

"Well, they're definitely original," he said. "I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. It's definitely something I haven't seen before."

"Funky is a good word," added Everblades forward Drew Larman. "We were kind of joking when we saw them. It was, 'What, are you serious?'"

See the jerseys here -  bilde

(c) /


Provide your best pal with their own Christmas present.... Why not give them a new dog treat jar this Christmas??

Gourmet Dog Treats as a reward?

There are many choices when it comes to rewarding your dog with a treat for obeying your commands, and these treats make a big difference in your dog's attitude towards you in learning new tricks, and why wouldn't they? To get anything in life you have to give something back and dogs are no different, you help them and they'll help you. Simple.

But what are the best rewards and treats to give your dog in times of good behavior? Well for starters you won't be short of treats to try, the markets as it is now is full to the brim of all the fancy rewards and treats you could ever think of.

One of the favourite for dog owners is to treat their dog to homemade treats from recipes that can be found across the internet in many places, some of my favourites and personal recommendations are listed in the products page of along with other tips on dog training there.

Consumer products are also a good choice when rewarding your dog; these include chewing toys which can be very rewarding for puppies and dogs alike. Saving one of their favourite toys for when they behave well makes everything more exciting for your dog and causes them to want to perform more for this reward.

If a chew toy is not to your dogs liking then they may instead enjoy a tug toy, tug toys are good for your dog's teeth the same as chew toys are and it enhances the relationship between you and your dog as you play with them. Be careful while using these toys as some dogs may think of this game as good behaviour and will start tugging on trousers or other annoying or destructive things.

The last toys I am going to talk about are the throwing toys; these are good to calm your dog down when they are over active or if you just want to reward your dog with quality playing time for their good behavior. These toys range from a simple tennis ball to special durable dog Frisbees and help you to react with your dog wile also training playing the 'fetch' game.

There are lots more dog toys available, probably at your local pet shop. It is a good idea to keep in mind what textures and current toys your dog likes to play with or chew before making your choice but as long as your dog enjoys it, it can be used as a good reward and training method.

Retrieved from ""

Friday, 10 December 2010

Should I buy an artificial Christmas tree or a real one


With less than three weeks left to go before Christmas, people who haven't bought already are looking around forChristmas trees to take home.

I guess we are used to living in times of abundance because, when I was a kid,a Christmas tree was a real live fir tree, grown in some nursery or forest specifically so it could be sawn or chopped down in time to be sold for a Yuletide decoration. I would go out with my dad to buy a tree and bring it home, and then we'd bring it home triumphantly on top of the car and install it in a corner of the living room. There, my parents and I would get out the boxes of Christmas decorations and lights, stored from the year before, and we would spend an hour or so festooning the tree with all the fancy bits and bobs that turn it into a Christmas tree.

There were the strands of colored lights that were draped all over the tree. When I was very small each of these lights was a screw-in type that could be replaced if a bulb went dead. Grandpa told me that in his day, they still used little candles in clip-on holders to decorate the tree. But they were much too dangerous and could easily set fire to the tree and burn the whole house down. Modern Christmas tree lightsare so much more civilized, they are made from tiny colored LED lights or even colored strands of fiber-optics. Much easier to set up and take down, and infinitely safer for the family home!

The other kinds of Christmas decorations would be the fragile colored balls, made of very thin glass. These were clipped with springy wire to the tips of the branches of the little fir tree.

The final touch was to place a star or an angel on the very top of the tree, and thus turn it into a real Christmas tree… a Christmas tree just waiting for all the family's gift-wrapped presents to be placed on the floor underneath the tree.

That's the kind of Christmas tree I remember from when I was a kid, and the ind of Christmas tree that I and my wife would assemble each Christmas when our own children, who were boy and girl twins, were little and still believed in Santa Claus. There was one change though, my wife and I used an artificial Christmas tree that was stored away at the top of a cupboard until it was that time of year again.

So when you go out looking for just the right Christmas tree to bring back to your home, you will find a wide variety of tree types to choose from.

You can still opt for a real live Christmas tree, but they drop pine needles all over the floor. I would urge you to go with a modest-sized artificial Christmas tree of some kind. These range in size from trees a couple of feet tall to trees that are high enough to reach your ceiling. Take your pick, choose whatever color you want too, because the tree doesn't have to be green any more. It can be red or white. It can have built-in LED lights or fiber optics.

Take it home, and I hope your tree brings you and your loved ones all the good cheer and togetherness that Christmas-time is all about. Because, when you boil it all down to the core of things, whether you are religious or if you are not, Christmas is all about love.

©  David Harvey

Kick Off the Holiday Season With Your Pets

One of the first major events of the holiday season is picking out your Christmas tree.  If you aren't going for a half christmas tree and going to the  Christmas Tree farm to pick out your fresh tree why not take your pooch along.  Tthere are several great spots where you can pick out your tree with your pet. As these farms have  over 100 acres of Christmas trees to choose from. In most of them, your pet is more than welcome to sniff around those 100 acres with you, picking out the perfect holiday tree.

Stop dreaming of a white Christmas

I've just read an article where you can have snow, with the pull of a spray gun trigger.  This is from Brevan County in Florida but I'm certian will apply elsewhere even if you just need a top up to the natyral stuff.

If you were hoping for a white Christmas in Brevard County, the chances weren't good -- until now.

Spencer Services, a pest control company, will spray artificial snow on your lawn this year, giving the impression of frostiness.

"You can walk on it. It doesn't come off on your shoes or anything," manager Roy Powell of Spencer Services said. "It doesn't wash off. It grows out and it will last from two to four cuttings. As the grass grows, you cut it and it slowly disappears."

The artificial snow actually is biodegradable acrylic latex turf paint, which also is used to mark lines on athletic fields. The liquid is applied with the company's pest control sprayer, which has been cleaned.

"There's no residue of any (pest control) chemicals," said Spencer salesman Chuck Hoot, who has marketed the product by delivering fliers to homes with elaborate Christmas decorations.

"There's a lot of neighborhoods where people really get involved with Christmas and see who could outdo who," Hoot said. "Most people want to know whether it will it grow out or whether it will hurt the grass."

Americans spent an estimated $16 billion on Christmas decorations in 2006, according to Unity Marketing. And while the figure likely will be down this year, the estimate is still in the billions.

And Brevard residents are lining up to spend $150 to $200 to have their lawns given an artificial frosting. The company charges $100 per 1,000 square feet, which is slightly larger than 30 feet by 30 feet.

Making The Xmas Dolar go further

Australians cutting mates form Xmas list to save after interest rate rises

CONSUMERS are dumping mates from their Christmas gift lists to stretch their dollars further, according to research.

Only a third of Aussies will put a present under the tree for their pals this year - half the number of last year - a survey has found, reported the Herald Sun.

Australian National Retailers Association boss Margy Osmond said friends were being bumped towards the bottom of the pressie pile as consumers cut any spending considered unnecessary.

The industry is steeling itself for a potentially dismal festive season as cautious consumers reeling from recent interest rate rises concentrate on saving money and buying only bargains.

Experts predict only modest sales growth at what is traditionally the bumper time of year.

The ANRA and American Express study of 1000 people found the lion's share of gifts will flow to immediate family and children.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Christmas LED Lights Are The New Way To Go Green

A new green way to light up your house is fast becoming the norm for homeowners. They are called LED lights and the new technology that runs them is cleaner and greener.

"It emits very little heat. It's very soft and warm to the touch. It's much more efficient light." Phil Watson, a lighting expert, says LEDs are the next big thing.

"We're told that in the next five to ten years it will be the dominant lighting," explains Watson. LED stands for light emitting diode. It's a kind of wafer like computer chip you sometimes see in newer street lights and traffic signals. "Incandescent light has a filament in it. LEDs do not. They are just flat chips."

While these lights are a little more expensive now, the payoff comes in energy savings. "The average led today is estimated to have a life of 50,000 hours." That means leaving the LED's on for four hours a day will give you 45 years of light...but they are not quite ready for all of your lighting needs.

"They're not decorative, so you wouldn't want to put them in a chandelier unless you had a cover over them like a shade."And as for using LED's for your Christmas lights... "You don't have any heat if you are using a live Christmas tree. You are not generating any heat and they are a very long life."


Courtney Love Posts Half-Naked Pics on Twitter ...again

In this ever-changing world, there are still a few things we can always count on -- like Christmas decorations at the mall, Fox News saying bad things about Obama, and Courtney Love over-sharing on Twitter. Love, 46, has a history of tweeting about topics that should really be between her and a therapist. This weekend, the Hole singer over-exposed herself on Twitter yet again -- and we do mean that literally. 

On Saturday, Love posted a series of racy pictures to her Twitpic account, without providing any explanation to her 78,000 followers. At some point, Love thought better of her display and took most of the pictures down, but of course, they'd already been scattered across the internet. A few of the photos  show Love reclining on an armchair wearing only heels and a t-shirt, her butt exposed to the camera. Two more show the singer stretching her limbs and in a matching bra-and-panties set

What was Courtney Love thinking by sharing these photoswith the world? Normally, we wouldn't be too surprised, given Love's well-established history of inappropriate public behavior. (Remember the incident with the homeless guy at Wendy's? If not, don't worry -- it's probably better that way.) But this year, she's made a big show of trying to change her public image: telling David Letterman that she was sober, telling the New York Times that she was tired of being "perceived as a train wreck." Most of Love's Twitter oversharing, of late, has been passionate pleas urging her daughter Frances Bean to give her another chance -- which, while it makes Love seem a little coo-coo, doesn't necessarily scream "train wreck." Unlike, say, posting half-naked pictures of yourself making out with a strange woman. 

Why does Love keep doing this? Is it a pathological need for attention? Does she have some kind of self-destructive impulse she can't control? Maybe it's just a desperate bid for more Twitter followers. We'll try to look on the positive side: at least she left her daughter out of it this time. 

© Donna Kaufman

Black Friday deals come early

Waiting until Black Friday is so 2006.

Retailers seem to be pushing an increasingly early start to the holiday season, and shopper Nasha Kohler is one of many Yorkers to notice.

She was working at Macy's before Halloween, when the Christmas decorations started rolling out.

"It just seems like everyone is doing it," she said. "Everybody already has their trees up. I guess maybe they want to make more money."

As consumers are stretching their dollars, retailers are stretching the season.

Area stores are hoping to inspire more shoppers earlier, offering extended hours and steep

discounts that start before the biggest shopping day of the year.

Target is advertising "Pre-Black Friday" deals on toys with a four-day sale that started Sunday and goes until Wednesday.

Boscov's is pushing "After Thanksgiving Pricing NOW," encouraging customers not to wait until after Thanksgiving to get "great buys."

The Bon-Ton's pre-thanksgiving sale started Sunday, as did sales at Kohl's, Toys R Us, and Fashion Bug.

Thanksgiving, too: Some stores that started to open on Thanksgiving when the economy was entering recession are keeping the new tradition alive.

Among those to swing open their doors for turkey-sated customers are Sears, Big Lots, Dollar General and Old Navy.

York Galleria General Manager Lucinda Hartshorne said a few of the anchor stores at the mall have always opened earlier than the mall's 6 a.m. start of business on Black Friday, but smaller mall stores are pushing to open even earlier this year.

The mall's department stores are opening at 4 a.m., she said, and the Galleria's Web site is being updated with the extended hours of internal mall stores that are hoping to catch the traffic.

"Smaller shops never wanted to open before the mall," she said. "And a few years ago, nobody was open on Thanksgiving. Everybody wants to get those dollars. People only have so much to spend, and (retailers) are trying to get them to their stores first."

Despite the pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day deals, "we're still going to see very large crowds on Friday," she said.

'Gobblepalooza': York's Old Navy store is pitching a three-day "Gobblepalooza" from Thanksgiving to "Black Saturday" in place of the one-day Black Friday sale.

The chain has had a hearty turnout when opening select stores for Thanksgiving over the past two years, so the hours were extended to most stores this year, said Sarah Glazier, district manager for central Pennsylvania.

She said the York location has done exceptionally well on Thanksgiving, apparently providing an outlet for people who don't like football or post-consumption napping.

"There's nothing else really in that shopping center that's open," she said. "There are too many people in the house and it's like, 'What should we do? Let's go to Old Navy.'"

She said the biggest draws this year will be jeans starting at $10 and "puffy" coats for $15.

The York store is among those providing giveaways and video game kiosks to keep people busy while others shop. It will be open Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., then reopen at midnight for Black Friday, she said.

A gorilla costume? Best Buy in Springettsbury Township is noted for its lengthy line and creative customer behavior on Black Friday.

General manager, Cindy Kemmerly said she has seen "just about everything" from bargain seekers since the store opened a few years ago.

People grill food, play games, and watch portable televisions in front of the store, she said.

One couple who wanted to purchase a washer and dryer waited in line from noon on Thanksgiving until 5 a.m. Black Friday, she said.

There was a man who wore a gorilla costume to keep warm, and some people last year left a futon and a recliner they used to make their waits more cozy.

The store opens at 5 a.m. this year, with its entire team of 130 employees working a minimum of 12 hours each, except minors, Kemmerly said.

Dignified bargain hunting: The store tries to keep people happy, safe, and dignified, she said.

"We have a porta-pottie placed out back," she said. "We think that's a good investment. People know that it's there, and they don't have to do other crazy things."

Around 3:30 a.m. each year, the staff hands out tickets to the people in line, she said.

"You don't have to run. You don't have to push. You don't have to injure anyone, and you know you're getting that item," she said. "We do it right, that we have enough people to maintain control."

She said there's no one single item that's expected to be most popular this year, but there are deals on televisions and other home theater equipment.


Homes tour to benefit charities

The Young Matrons of Independence celebrate 70 years of caring for the community by inviting the public to the unforgettable and festive annual Holly and Mistletoe Tour.

An annual fundraiser for this civic organization, the tour features four homes, open to the public on Thursday, Dec, 2, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Each home will showcase the owners' personal Christmas motif with ticket-holders enjoying self-guided tours throughout the day and evening.

The first Holly and Mistletoe Tour was held in 1959 and featured special and unusual Christmas decorations and now 41 years later has grown into what is considered an annual outing for many as to kick off the holiday season.

Steve and Terri Morgan began decorating their 1950s home a month ago and are excited to share their traditional Christmas d├ęcor with others.

From handmade Santas to decorated trees in all shapes and sizes, the Morgans' share treasured family heirlooms intertwined with the warmth of holiday cheer. Working at the Scandinavia Place on the historic Independence Square, Terri enjoys the unique and unusual, as well as traditional.

"I enjoy sneaking unexpected pieces into the mix of it all," she said. "It's a surprise around every corner."

The monies raised through the tour and other IYM fundraisers help fund many civic and local organizations. This year alone, IYM provided more than $18,200 in grants and gifts to Andrew Drumm Institute, Boys and Girls Club, Cancer Action, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Dental for Kids, Tabitha's Closet and the Jackson County Free Health Clinic.

Supporting life enhancing services, IYM donated to the Center for the Study of the Korean War, Shepherd's Center of Raytown, Re-Discover, IBS Industries and Mother's Refuge. They also have helped the Puppetry Arts Institute and William Chrisman High School Theater and Broadcast Department along with scholarships and bus transportation for children to special cultural events.

The Young Matron's history of making a difference in the lives of the community ranges from securing the first library and kindergarten class in Independence to forming a Children's Theater.

Along with the four homes on tour, patrons will also have the opportunity to stop by the Sweet Shop located inside Noland Road Baptist Church. Along with sweets and treats for purchase, raffle tickets will be sold for the chance of owning one of five holiday decorations, which will be on display at the church.

Three of the homes on tour are located in Independence and one in Blue Springs. Tickets are on sale now for $10 or $12 at the door the day of the tour. For a list of locations to purchase tickets visit or for more information contact the Tickets Chair at

Christmas Tree Allergies

For many people, it is not truly Christmas without a fresh and adorned tree standing in the middle of the living room. The smell alone can instantly shift people into the holiday spirit. But for those who suffer from allergies, the thought of a live Christmas tree can put a damper on even the most festive of days. I must admit its something thats never affected me but nodoubt brings a whole new meaning to "Bless You" over the Christmas period

Thursday, 18 November 2010

2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route & Tips

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returns for the 84th year, kicking off the holiday season once again. 2010 promises to deliver even more fantastical giant helium balloons, floats, marching bands, performance groups, celebrity guests, and of course, the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.


If you're fortunate enough to be in the NYC area this Thanksgiving, trekking down to Manhattan with 3.5 million other spectators will be an experience your family will never forget.


The 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route is the same as the 2009 route.


* The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West, heading south on Central Park West.


* Once at Columbus Circle and 59th Street, the parade will turn east along Central Park South.


* When the parade reaches 7th Avenue, it will travel south until 42nd Street.


* The parade then travels east on 42nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue.


* At 6th Avenue (Avenue of Americas), the parade turns south to 34th Street.


* Finally, at 34th Street the parade heads west to Herald Square, ending in front of Macy's.


The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade officially begins at 9:00am on Thursday, November 25th. If you want to view the parade, you'll need to get there early. Many start lining the streets at 6:00am. Public transportation is the only way to travel as many roads are closed and parking will be hard to find and expensive. 


Parade Day Tips


* Dress warm and in layers.


* Leave strollers/chairs at home.


* Bring snacks and a thermos for hot drinks.


* Use the restroom before staking your spot. Public restrooms are very limited.


* Your best bet is to find a spot closer to where the parade begins along Central Park West.


This years performers include, Kylie Minogue, India Arie, Miranda Cosgrove, Big Time Rush, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Gladys Knight, Mannheim Steamroller, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Jessica Simpson and Kanye West.


Two new giant character balloons will join the parade this year- Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Kung Fu Panda. This is in addition to returning favorites including, Buzz Lightyear, Hello Kitty, Kermit the Frog, Ronald McDonald, Sailor Mickey, Shrek, Smurf, Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants.


If you're just interested in viewing the balloons, you can get an up-close look at inflation on Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, Nov. 24) from 3-10pm at 77th Street and 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. This is just outside the American Museum of Natural History and is a great way to experience the excitement and history of the parade, with fewer crowds

Guess this all helps make Macy's one of the favourite Christmas Tree Stores.

Ho, ho, ho ... it's off to Santa school we go

Britain's wackiest school has opened its doors, devoted entirely to educating a class of Santas.

Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset will instruct 50 students at its Santa and Elf Academy. And lessons on the course are being led by the real Santa Claus – at least according to the Wookey Hole staff.

The day-long course included the history of Santa Claus, zoology of the reindeer, costume and make-up essentials, fitness – to ensure the Santas can get down the chimneys in one piece – and acting.

The student Santas who attended the course were graded and, if they passed they received an official Wookey Hole Seal of Santa, qualification and certificate.

Students got to meet reindeer, learn how to feed and ride them, and studied the history of Santa Claus, how he evolved from St Nicholas in green robes to Father Christmas and Santa Claus dressed up like cola bottles.

They were also coached to stay relaxed when a young mum in a ra-ra skirt wants to sit on Santa's knee and also taught how to stay calm when a naughty child pulls off your beard © Thisis

I wonder if they are taught what to do incase they come across a Half Xmas Tree

Some live Christmas tree preservatives have sugar in them which make them seem yummy to your dog.

Seems you learn something obscure everyday.  It makes a certian amount of sense as sugar would be fairly easy for a live Xmas tree to absorb bur would also to tasty to your best friend. I remember being slight amazed when one of my boxers set about some fresh geranium flowers that were very scented, she just ate the flowers nothing else.  I suppose a number of the other new items will be of interest including tinsel, ornaments, trees, electrical cords, candles, fake snow and Christmas lights so just ensure they are well protected.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Lease a Living Christmas Tree

I just read a report about a company in San Jose that lets you rent a Christmas Tree. The Plantman Company will rent you a tree for 20 days. And if you get attached to it you can rent it again next year as they will put your name on it. I think it's a GREAT idea. I really hate seeing trees on the sidewalks after Christmas. Now if they delivered it complete with a Christmas tree skirt and decorations that would be service

Potted Christmas tree for indoo

An  often-overlooked category of live Christmas tree can be the plants that can be "portable" – moved outdoors in Summers and returned indoors during cold Winters. Norfolk Pines spring to mind almost immediately, with their stunning patterns and symmetry. And looking for something different how about Bay Laurels – Bay Trees – also can provide endless great smells, both outdoors and inside for those seeking an aromatic option which can also supply great stew and meat herbal flavorings.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

More Live Christmas Tree Internet Shopping!!

 Following on from yesterdays revelation of Live Christmas Trees on Ebay I found this article today. 

You might imagine that a guy who works for the National Christmas Tree Association would be the type to cut down his own fir for the holidays. But not Rick Dungey."I point and click, and it shows up on my front door," said Dungey, a spokesman for the Missouri-based retail and tree farmers' association. "For me, it's a convenience."

With consumers' growing comfort with Internet shopping, it seems that even tried-and-true holiday traditions are changing.Target Corp. began selling fresh Christmas trees online Sunday for the first time, joining Costco as one of the few national retailers to use the Web to sell live trees. Target spokeswoman Jill Hornbacher said the retailer believes the online-only offering will be an added convenience, especially for city dwellers.

Family farmers Jim and Beverly Whorton said online sales now make up about 10 percent of trees sold at their "choose-and-cut" Chub Lake Tree Farm in Carlton, Minn."It started by customer demand, and we saw a niche there," said Jim Whorton, who started taking online orders more than a decade ago. Back then, he built shipping containers out of discarded appliance boxes. "We have customers who've moved away to Texas or Nebraska or to the Twin Cities, or who like our trees and want to ship a fresh one to their families," he said.

No one tracks the exact number of online fresh tree sales, mainly because there are so many individual retailers and farmers doing it on the side. But it's somewhere less than 3.1 percent of the 28 million to 30 million farm-grown tree sales, according to polls by Harris Interactive Inc. for the National Christmas Tree Association.

About 50 of the 1,100 members in the association take online orders, a slight increase in recent years, Dungey said.

Having a retailer with Target's broad reach entering the fresh tree game is a welcome development, said Dungey, who is blogging about the process of getting his tree from a New Hampshire tree farm shipped to his St. Louis row house. "It signals that retailers realize that not all consumers are equal," he said. " ... Not everyone wants to buy a tree the same way."

Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for market research firm NPD Group, said Target's online fresh tree sales are one more sign of how competitive the holidays have become. "We're watching the continuation of retailers try to figure out how to do they get any piece of the consumer spend as it relates to the holidays," he said. "Is it bad? No. Does it change the tradition of the holiday? Absolutely, yes. But guess what? That's not the retailer's issue. The retailer's job is to try to make your life better so you'll spend more money. If you want to go and cut a tree down, go ahead."

(c)  Jackie Crosby  Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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