Showing posts with label Christmas tree. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas tree. Show all posts

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas from Review This Reviews

 Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us here at Review This Reviews.

Merry Christmas Greetings


For me, Christmas is a time to be spent with the people you love and a wonderful time to create memories.  Everyone celebrates Christmas differently and has different Christmas traditions, one such tradition is the Christmas Tree.

Some people put the tree up as soon as Halloween is over and others on December 1st, when I was a child it was Christmas Eve in our household.   My brother and I tried to talk my parents into putting it up earlier and one year we thought victory was ours as mum relented and said okay we'll put it up on the Saturday before Christmas.

As it got closer to Christmas we realized that Christmas was on a Sunday which meant the Saturday before Christmas was, in fact, Christmas Eve!  When my daughter was younger we would put our tree up on the 1st Saturday of the school holidays.   This leads us to how you decorate your Christmas tree, there are lots of ideas that can be found on this Christmas Facebook page.   We used to have special ornaments that we put up every year, but some people like to create a new theme every year.

My brother and his family have a tradition of giving their children a present every Christmas Eve which is a pair of pajamas for them to wear that night.   They used to open the presents while still in PJs so it meant all the photos always looked good!

Growing up we would use pillowcases in lieu of stockings and when talking to some other ex-pats from the UK a few years ago we found that we had very similar things placed in our stockings each year!  There would always be an orange, a toffee dime from the Quality Street tin(how strange that this was the one that my parents didn't like from Quality Street - a must-have for any English household over the holiday season at that time!).   There would also be a book and/or a little game to entertain us and a nice outfit to wear.   

After waking our parents up at whatever time in the morning it was that we discovered Santa had been we had to go back to bed and weren't allowed up until 9am, hence the book/game.   Then we had to get dressed (hence the new clothes) and eat breakfast (which was usually porridge that took soooo long to cook!) before we were allowed into the front room to see the Christmas tree and all the gifts.   I can feel the excitement just recalling the moment when we could see the tree on Christmas morning. 

I have spent far more Christmases in the antipodes than I did in the UK so Christmas for me these days is in summer (I do still miss Christmas being in winter though I must admit).   Our family Christmases certainly look different to my childhood Christmases for one thing we usually watch Christmas movies (my daughter used to love Elf, whereas my husband and I are more Die Hard fans) in the lead up to the big day - when I was growing up we didn't watch much television.

Board games were a big part of our Christmases and I know they are for lots of other families as well.   I also come from a family of readers so there were occasions where after Christmas lunch was over we would all be stuck with our noses in books!  If you're after a book to read then be sure to check out our recommendations, and best of all most of these can be downloaded to your Kindle straight away (just in case no one gives you a book this year!)

Some people enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, others build Legos whereas others take walks as a family or for people Downunder it often means being in the pool or playing backyard cricket.   The first Christmas we spent in New Zealand we went down to the beach and tried out fly fishing rods that mum and dad had got, then found a log and tried our version of tossing the caber, I seem to recall a jandal throw as well.   Our very own Christmas games on the beach!

Whatever you're doing and whoever you're spending Christmas with this year make sure you are making some fantastic memories.   Keep safe, have fun and goodwill to you all.




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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Review of Christmas Season 2020


 Christmas 2020 will soon be "Christmas past" and it certainly has been one for the books.  We will remember it as the year of the pandemic, the year without large family gatherings, the year of wearing masks, the year without Christmas parties, and the year of live stream church services.  And yet....it has not been a year without joy for me.  I may have had to look a bit to find it in other activities but as this Christmas season draws to a close I find  that I feel peace even in these crazy times.

Photographing our Decorations

I thoroughly enjoy my photography hobby and this year has given me a lot of time to take classes on photography and Photoshop.  I used some of my new found skills to photograph our holiday decorations.  Here are a few of my favorites. The first two are our tree and the outside of the house.  On both of them I used some new filters I learned how to use on a Photoshop online class.



The next two photos were made for a photography challenge on a group that gives us a weekly theme and we come up with creative ideas.  The theme for this week was "bubble wrap".



Watching Christmas Movies New and Old

I have enjoyed watching movies I have not watched for sometime and also I've found a few new Christmas movies to enjoy.  Last week fellow reviewer Sam Monaco wrote a review on Bing Crosby and White Christmas and it inspired me to rewatch that classic Christmas movie.  Here is a link to Sam's review. Bing Crosby

I also watched a movie that was new to me, although it came out in 2013.  It is called The Christmas Candle and has a delightful story of a minister who comes to a church in a small English village.  

The True Meaning of Christmas


The photo above depicts one of our Christmas decorations.  It is one of my favorites.  It is a cross that holds within it the scenes from the first Christmas.  As in every Christmas it is important to keep our hearts on the seasons true meaning.  

Luke 2:11

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

King James Version (KJV)

May you and your family experience Peace and Joy during this Christmas and throughout the coming year! 



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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Tree Alternatives

Christmas Tree Wall Decal - A Fathead
More Here
Last Sunday we talked about the convenience of Pull-Up-Christmas-Trees, and this week's feature is another Christmas Tree alternative that's even simpler...Christmas Tree Wall Decals.

TIME - The Gift We Give Ourselves

How many times during the holiday season have you heard someone say, "I'm so busy, I don't know how I'll get everything done"

If you haven't heard it yet, congratulations, you're surrounded by a bunch of calm people!

Christmas is just around the corner, and I personally know a few people who will either skip putting up a tree or are still undecided.

There's no need to skip the holiday season entirely: Christmas Tree Wall Decals are an excellent alternative to putting up a standard tree. Best of all, they're not expensive, making them easy to feature throughout the home.

Most Wall Decals Go Up Easy, and Come Down Easy

Although most decals go up easy and come down easy, one of the better brands is manufactured by a company called 'Fathead'.

Fathead's are a superior graphic that use a low-grade adhesive making them easy to remove without the worry of wall damage.

They're also made from tear resistant high-grade vinyl. However, you will be paying more to get this kind of quality, but they're still reasonable in comparison to putting up a fully decorated tree.

There are other manufacturers, styles, designs and price-ranges to choose from. When you visit the link under the above photo, you'll be taken to a page that features several other artsy choices.

Find a wall, put up a tree, then store it away til next year .... doesn't get much easier than that!

Have a Merry Christmas NOT a Harry Christmas!


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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Photography Tips for the Holiday

Christmas at Missouri Botanical Garden

Everybody enjoys looking at photographs from the holiday season.  It is the time we gather with friends and families, decorate for the occasion and celebrate the birth of our Savior.  What a great time to document these wonderful memories with photos.  Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Before the season is upon us check out your camera.  Make sure it is in good working order and that all your lenses are clean.
  • Make sure your batteries are charged and recharge them after each use.
  • You may want to consider purchasing an extra memory card to use for your holiday photos.
  • Make a list of things you want to photograph during this Christmas season.
  • Every year I try to photograph something different for the holiday.  This year I plan to go to my church after the decorations are up and take some photographs of the nave.  I'm thinking they may make a nice card for the following year. What can you try new this year?

 

Special Events


Special events are always a great time to take photos.  In the photo at the top of this article I photographed a tree at Missouri Botanical Gardens.  Since the photo was taken in the evening I used a tripod and a remote shutter release.  If you don't have those items available to use try to find somewhere to stabilize you camera.  A post, the top of your car, a bench and other stationary items will help you to avoid camera shake and capture some beautiful evening shots.


Try a Photo Walk


A photo walk through a decorated area is a great way to capture some street shots and decorations.  In the photos below I walked through historic Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri. This historic town on the banks of the Missouri river served as the first capitol of the state.

Below are a couple of the photos I shot.


Click Here for Zazzle products from these photos

 

Group  Photos


Group photos are a great way to preserve the memories of the people that attended the gatherings during the holidays.  Although candid shots can be fun, a planned group shot is a great way to include everyone.  Take the time to check the background in your photo.  You wouldn't want to end up with a candle sticking out of someones head.
Also make sure to check your lighting.  I prefer natural lighting, rather than flash, so in these photos I used a lens with a lowlight capability and a 1.8 aperture on the camera.  If I end up with a yellow tone, I can always adjust it in post processing with a slight slide of the tint or exposure slide.

For both the lighting and the background you may have to move your group to a better location in the room.  The first photo below is of my sister and her family.  Although the tree is in the background, I zoomed in on the people.  I see too many photos where someone has tried to get the whole tree in with the people.  That is usually not a good combination so my motto is decide what your focus is (the people or the tree) and set up your shot accordingly.

The second shot below is a group of high school friends of my husbands (he is in red sweater).  These guys have known each other for over 55 years and I wanted to capture them all in the photo.  They were somewhat patient with me as I moved them around to make sure everyone was seen in the photo.


 

Special Moments


Be sure to have your camera ready for those special moments.  Here is my husband with our oldest granddaughter, Rachel.  In these shots the background are not always perfect but I zoom in on the faces and capture the moment.

 

 

Kids and the Tree


Kids under the tree is always a good shot for Christmas.  Remember to take some shots before the presents are unwrapped.  In these photos you see our youngest granddaughters.


 

Zoom in on the Ornaments and Decoration


Along with the photos of family, friends and events, I like to take some artsy photos.  Christmas decorations and ornaments are always good subjects.  I like to use a little Bokeh ( a term that refers to keeping what is important in focus and blurring the rest).  In the first photo I was sitting on the sofa right in front of the candle in the foreground.  I set my aperture to 1.8 and zoomed in on the candle.  I was hand holding the camera so I steadied it on my knee.  I got the effect I wanted with the candle in focus and the fireplace blurred.   The second photo used the same principal but was taken of an ornament on the tree during the daytime.



Another fun Christmas shot is to take a photo and then edit out all of the color except the red.  I did that in the photo below of our Christmas tree and fireplace.




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