Tag Archive 'Christmas'

Dec 02 2013

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Holiday Safety Tips for You and Your Guests – The House Plan Shop

Clearing the SnowThe days grow shorter and the nights become colder, and before you know it the holidays are upon us. Even small household accidents become tragedies when they involve your family or guests. Entertaining overnight guests may create a little extra stress for the household. Take time to prepare your home for the holidays, so everyone can be nestled all snug in their beds.

1. Prepare the Family – With all the excitement of pending visitors, every household member needs to know what to expect. Try to keep the everyday routine as normal as possible. Remind everyone of the changes that may have to be made to keep the guests comfortable and safe. This may mean giving up a bed or room to grandparents or putting toys with small parts away where toddlers can’t reach them. If guests will be coming and going while you are not home, you may need to inform the neighbors so that there will be no problems with mistaken identity.

2. Prepare the Guests – Once your visitors have arrived, review your family emergency escape plan with them. Show them where the fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are kept. Keep essential phone numbers nearby or program their cell phones. If it’s necessary to use a space heater, instruct them on its safe operation. If they will be on their own in the kitchen, review the workings of appliances like the stove, toaster, and coffee pot.

3. Prepare the House – Keep the outside walkways clear of snow and ice and also well lit. Remove any hazards that could cause tripping like throw rugs or runners. Locate nightlights to help nighttime navigation. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and install grab bars if necessary. To protect youngsters, lock up anything toxic, like cleaning supplies and medicines. If you are not used to having children around, you may need to seek help in childproofing the house. Inspect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working.

4. Prepare the Decorations – Consider using flameless candles. If you must light up, keep candles high enough that pets and children can’t reach them but away from draperies and curtains.  Place extension cords away from foot traffic, but do not place them under carpeting or area rugs. Be aware of the placement of glass ornaments so they are away from both pets’ and toddler’s reach. Refrain from using tinsel around pets and children as it can be toxic. Be aware that some holiday plants like poinsettias can be poisonous. Check with your guests about allergy information.  Your beautiful live Christmas tree could cause them constant sneezing and wheezing.

Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

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Dec 18 2012

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

8 Tips for Storing Christmas Decorations – The House Plan Shop

Christmas OrnamentsAfter the winter holidays have passed you’ll face the enormous task of packing and storing all of your holiday decorations for next year. Below are eight tips that will make the task go more smoothly than before and make it easier to decorate your home next Christmas.
  1. Christmas tree – The box your artificial tree came in seems like the most logical storage box, but repacking your tree in that box will seem like an impossible task. You’ll have to smash and bend all the branches in order to squeeze the tree back inside it. Also, the cardboard box can deteriorate if subjected to moisture and could also be prone to insect infestation. Instead of using the Christmas tree box, try a Christmas tree bag or a commercially available plastic Christmas tree storage box.
  2. Christmas lights – Get rid of the tangled mess of light strands you deal with every year. Dispose of any strands of lights that no longer work properly. Then, roll each good strand of lights into a ball and place each ball in a separate plastic bag or empty coffee can. Another option is to wrap each strand of lights around an empty wrapping paper roll or a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then place all of the bags, cans or wrapping paper rolls together in a plastic storage container to prevent moisture damage.
  3. Decorations that you’ll have to reassemble next year – Before taking down decorations that you had to assemble, take pictures of them the way you set them up so you can remember how to do it next year. Then take everything down in the reverse order of the way you set it all up.
  4. Christmas candles – Wrap each candle in an old sock, tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to prevent scratching. Be sure to store away from heat sources such as an attic where heat could melt the candles.
  5. Holiday wreaths – Most department and home stores sell Christmas wreath storage boxes of various sizes. However, boot boxes often work well for small and medium-sized wreaths. Just remember, whatever you use to store your wreaths must be able to maintain the shape of the wreath until next year.
  6. Christmas ornaments – Many ornaments come in individual boxes that work well for repacking and storage until next year. Try using other small boxes for homemade ornaments or wrap them in tissue paper and store in a larger box. For small ornaments, use an egg carton.
  7. Holiday linens – Store each Christmas linen in an individual Zip Lock bag if possible, and then put all of them in a plastic storage container together to prevent moisture damage. Or you might consider dedicating the top shelf of your linen closet to holiday linens, towels, blankets, pillows etc. Place a few dryer sheets in between your items to keep them smelling fresh until next year.
  8. Label the storage boxes – Tape a detailed list of what is inside each box to the outside of the box so you can quickly determine what is inside when it is time to decorate next year. Clearly number the boxes so you know how many you have (for example, Box 2 of 9). Use the number order to identify which boxes should be unpacked first next winter. Box 1 should be prominently labeled and contain all the things you’ll need at the beginning of the holiday season like your advent calendar and the holiday greeting cards that you’ll be sending to family and friends if you bought them on clearance this year.
With a little planning and effort, you can organize and store your holiday decorations in an efficient manner that will be easy to find and display next year.

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Dec 28 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Post-Holiday Tips: How to Store Holiday Lights – The House Plan Shop

How to Store Christmas LightsNow that the holidays have come and gone, it is time to start packing up those holiday decorations and get them ready to store for next year. Below are a few simple ideas to help you store holiday lights so you don’t find a tangled mess of light strands next holiday season.

 

  1. Cardboard Square – Cut a square of heavy duty cardboard. Cut a slit in one side of the square. Then, secure the end of a light strand by threading it through the slit. Wrap the strand of lights around the cardboard and thread the other end of the strand back through the slit. 
  2. Plastic bags – Wrap each strand of lights in a ball and place each ball in an individual plastic bag (any type will do.) Then store all the bags together in a clearly labeled box.
  3. Empty Wrapping Paper Tube – Simply cut a slit in both ends of a wrapping paper tube. Secure one end of the strand of lights by threading it through the slit. Then wrap the lights along the tube. Thread the other end of the light strand through the slit at the opposite end of the tube.

 

For more holiday ideas, check out our entire collection of holiday blogs.

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Dec 07 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Holiday Lights in a Whole New Light – The House Plan Shop

Filed under Holiday Information

LED Christmas LightsAre you still decorating your yard and home with incandescent holiday lights? The St. Louis County Health Department says it is time to make the switch to LED lights. Often, strings of incandescent lights are wrapped in a hard plastic coating of PVC to protect the wire. This coating can take up to 500 years to breakdown in our landfills. Furthermore, PVC is heat resistant and may contain metals such as tin, lead and cadmium which can become harmful once they make it into the ground.

 

Using LED lights for you holiday decorating and light displays has plenty of benefits. Consider the following facts about LED lighting:

·         LED lights last twice as long as incandescent lights – up to 20 years!

·         They use 1/10th of the energy of traditional holiday mini-lights, which saves on your electric bill.

·         LEDs are cool to the touch reducing the risk of fire.

·         Their brightness does not fade over time.

·         LED lights are durable and harder to break than traditional lights.

·         They can withstand moisture, heat and cold.

·         LEDs are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers.

 

Before you throw away those strands of incandescent Christmas lights, check with you local hardware or home improvement stores to see if any are sponsoring a collection/recycling mission for broken or non-functioning incandescent holiday lights. Some places even offer discounts on the purchase of new energy-efficient LED Christmas lights for each strand of old lights you recycle. 

 

So, go ahead and make the switch to LED Christmas lights. You’ll save energy, have a more environmentally-friendly holiday light display and save money on your electric bill.

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Dec 29 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Home Organization: Packing and Storing Holiday Decorations

Storage ContainersWhile many of us enjoy decorating for the holidays, almost all of us can agree it is not as near as much fun taking it all down, packing it up and putting everything away. The following tips come from various organizational experts and are sure to help you clean up and store your holiday decorations so they are easy to find and display next year.

 

1.    Purge what you have. Before you pack everything up, go through what you have. It’s OK to get rid of things you really don’t like or items that no longer match your decorating theme. Get rid of things that are broken, strands of lights that are burnt out and things you don’t use anymore. Be sure to recycle what you can and donate usable items to charity. Consider decorations of sentimental value. You might not be able to part with a particular item no matter what, but if something is in pretty bad shape but you continue to keep it because it reminds you of something special, maybe snapping a photo will be enough to preserve that special memory.

 

2.    Gather and take inventory. Before you can organize and store your holiday decorations you have to know what you are going to keep. Collect all holiday decorations and related items in one place. Group similar items. Take inventory. How many boxes of ornaments do you have? How many wreaths?  Does each child have his or her own stocking? Count everything you have and be aware of sizes, especially anything oversized or oddly shaped.

 

3.    Keep track of what you have.  It is not a bad idea to keep track of new holiday items you buy throughout the year whether you find a deal on wrapping paper at a clearance sale or find something special at a craft show you attend in July. One way to do this is to keep a small notebook in an easy-to-find place such as in a drawer in the office or on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet. Record anything you buy that will be part of the coming year’s décor and holiday festivities. Furthermore, you could do this with other Christmas and holiday related items such as keeping a record of gifts you’ve already purchased, recipes that friends have shared with you, or the dates when your cousins plan to be in town to celebrate the holidays with you.

 

4.    Select a storage space – Look around your home. Select a storage space that is big enough to hold ALL of your holiday decorations and other Christmas related items safely without being in the way all year long. (ALL means everything from gift wrap and cookie cutters to lights and the artificial tree.) This could be a space in the attic, a storage closet, a corner of the basement, etc. Measure the storage space and purchase containers that will fit in the given space. If you have a limited storage space, this may help determine what items you purge in Step 1.

 

5.    Label everything – Make an effort to label every box and storage container with the exact contents inside. The labels don’t have to be fancy. Simply write on the outside of the box or tape an index card to each box listing what is inside. You can even color code them if you choose. Labeling will make decorating a lot easier next year.

 

6.    Store it together – Move all boxes, storage containers, etc. into the storage space you selected. Safely arrange the boxes so they will not fall. Whenever possible, stack your storage containers with their labels facing forward or up so you can quickly identify what is inside each box next year. Keep everything together in one place whenever possible. This makes it easier to get your decorations out next year. There is an exception here. Make note of special items such as highly breakable pieces, linens or antiques. These may need to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment within the main living areas of the home. Keep track of these types of items in your notebook from Step 3 since you won’t be storing them with everything else.

 

Though cleaning and packing up after the holidays is not much fun, and sometimes a lengthy process, these home storage tips for your holiday décor will help cut down the amount of time you spend putting things away and make decorating a little easier next year.

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