Showing posts with label Raintree Annie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raintree Annie. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Reviewing How To Store Wedding Dresses And Special Clothes


 Two Wedding Dress Storage boxes

We were married many years ago and I had a truly beautiful handmade silk and lace wedding dress which I always wanted to keep.

While we were decluttering and cleaning I noticed how the box it was in was showing its age and was concerned the dress may suffer. 

For me and for many other people your wedding dress is one of the most precious and sentimental items in your wardrobe. Some people may not want to keep it and make it into something else or give it away, but for those of us who want to keep it a safe place is important. You want to preserve it for years to come, maybe even pass it on to your daughter, niece or granddaughter if you have them. So if you decide to keep it we have to store properly to prevent damage and fading.

Other special clothing items, such as christening gowns, communion dresses, graduation robes and precious baby clothes also require special consideration if we decide to keep them.

These type of clothes may hold very special, precious memories, so if we decide to keep them they need special care. They may not fare very well if we just keep them in a drawer or wardrobe. 

It is important to clean these clothes before storing them to prevent any stains from setting into the cloth or odours and mould from ruining your special clothes.

In order to preserve your wedding dress , christening gown, baby clothes or other special clothes at their best for longer it is important to choose the right storage box.

  Ideally we should not use cardboard boxes, plastic bags, or vacuum-sealed bags or even just hang up in a wardrobe. These can cause the fabric to discolour or even damage the clothes and certain containers may trap moisture and create mould. 

Wedding Dress Storage box showing place to identify contents
Wedding Dress Storage box showing place to identify contents


The best option for storing your wedding dress or other special item is one that is large enough to store your garment with minimal folding and which has acid free paper to use to protect it and to use in between any folds necessary to prevent creasing.   

So after cleaning and drying it is important to fold and wrap the item of clothing carefully. Before placing your wedding dress or other special item in the storage box, wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or unbleached muslin. This is in order to protect it from dust, light, and insects. 

It is not a great idea to use mothballs, as they may have chemicals that can harm your clothes. If we wish we can add some lavender sachets or cedar balls to repel moths and add a pleasant scent.

Once you have your storage box and have folded your special garment carefully with acid  free tissue paper, it is a good idea to label what is inside and ideal to store it in a cool, dry, and dark place. This would ideally be in a wardrobe, or an under-bed storage container that is away from direct sunlight, heat, or humidity. We do currently have ours on top of a wardrobe, but it is out of direct sunlight. 

It is vital to avoid storing your precious garment in a garage, attic loft area or basement because those places can expose your clothes to extreme temperatures, moisture which may create mould and damage, or even mice which may chew and damage your clothes.

 Once your beautiful clothes are safely stored it is important to check perhaps annually, to make sure they are still in good condition. 

Every two the three years it is a good practice to get them out and air them out for a few days and then refold to prevent any permanent creases. It is good practice to air them out once every so often to prevent musty smells.


Wedding storage box showing handle
Wedding storage box showing handle

The storage box we bought came flat packed and well protected. It was very easy to put together and appears pretty sturdy. It was really just a matter of getting it out the packaging, opening up and laying in the base insert and it was done in a couple of minutes. It is available in small, medium and large sizes and has a hinged lid. 

We bought two in the large size, one for my wedding dress, shoes and veil and one to store my bridesmaid dress I wore for my sisters wedding and some baby clothes my Mum had made and kept along with some lace we had inherited. 

There was plenty of room for all these clothes. They are quite large boxes so could easily fit all these items. I would imagine for most wedding dresses the large size would be the most practical. We stacked them on top of each other on our wardrobe and we think they look lovely.

I like that the storage box had ten acid free sheets already for me to use. This was enough for me, but if you need to you can always buy more acid free sheets.

I like that it has a handle for ease of moving around and this handle feels fairly secure for its purpose. As I have not travelled with it I cannot say how it would stand up to the rigors of travel. As it is intended just for storage in my case, I feel it meets my needs. 

It has straps as well which are fine for the purpose of securing the box. These are fitted with plastic clips which work, but time will tell if they are as strong as I would like them to be. If moving it around a lot I would handle it carefully.  

The box is study enough for most wedding dresses and light enough so that it can be carried around if need be. I also appreciate that it has a space to place a reminder of the contents of the box. 

I like the pattern which also distinguishes it from our other storage boxes, but it also comes in plain ivory and plain white. You can also find plain boxes or those with other patterns in different styles. Really you can pay any price for a storage box for your wedding dress and some are very expensive indeed. For the price I paid I am very happy with my storage boxes to keep my special clothes clean and safe. There are also many more to choose from for your precious clothing items


 

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Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Reviewing The Romantic Story Of Valentines Day Cards

White, pink and red roses


I love Valentines day and enjoy the romance and fun of it. My husband and I still celebrate it 
and while we do not generally do anything very expensive, often we go for a lovely walk and a coffee somewhere in the countryside or at the beach. Perhaps a picnic if the weather is good enough, occasionally a dinner out or we cook a delicious meal and we often watch a good film in the evening. 

Each year we buy or make each other a Valentines Day Card. We have kept all our cards to each other and over the years it has made a lovely nostalgic collection of our life together.

The history and traditions of valentine cards is interesting, though maybe the early history a little imprecise and seems to have started in ancient Rome.  There is some debate about who was St. Valentine with several  men competing for that title. However, according to some sources, the first Valentine card was sent by St. Valentine of Terni. He was a  Christian martyred in the 3rd Century, imprisoned for performing marriages, especially those of Roman Soldiers at a time when Emperor Claudius banned his soldiers from marrying so as to keep them battle ready and free from family obligations. 

He apparently wrote a farewell letter to the daughter of his jailer who he had befriended and healed. When he wrote the letter he signed it "your Valentine". Of course other versions of the Valentine story may well exist!

White and pink roses in soft focus


Valentine cards became more usual in the Middle Ages. This was a time when people began to celebrate  romantic love and courtship. Of the earliest valentine cards some were poems or songs written by famous poets, such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles d’OrlĂ©ans.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, valentine cards became more popular and people started to make them by hand, using paper adorned with lace, flowers and ribbons. Being handmade individually many of these cards were very expensive to produce and time consuming to make, often being very intricate and people must have had wonderful crafting skills.

Many declared messages of love as we would expect, but others were humorous or even surprisingly insulting!

I enjoy making Valentines cards from photographs of flowers and animals and nature in our garden and surrounding areas, some of which I have posted here. Most are messages of care and love. I have not made any insulting ones!


Here is one from made from a photograph of a gorgeous Labradoodle playfully and lovingly gazing up at us.


However, It wasn't until the late 18th century that the first printed valentine cards appeared in England but once they did they soon spread to other countries, especially the United States.

By the mid 19th century the penny post made it easier and cheaper to send Valentines cards. Gradually over time valentines cards became more accessible and less expensive to buy and send. 

Today it is again becoming more expensive to use the post to send cards and with the growth of digital communication we can now increasingly send messages and cards electronically via our technical devices. On most of my cards there is the option to have it as a printed card or downloadable to a device. 


This one is made from a gorgeous bouquet of very soft pink roses and delicate ferns.

I recall at school and University many Valentines cards were sent anonymously causing great intrigue and excitement as to who your secret admirer could be!

I think these days Valentines cards can be sent to someone you love or who you admire. However, depending on their content and picture they do not always have to be sent to a love interest, but rather to anyone who you care about and want to brighten their day.

I doubt St. Valentine of Terni could have imagined the development of Valentine cards as they are today!


Here is one made when we visited the beach and saw this "I Love U" inscribed on a rock! 


I wonder where Valentines day traditions will go in the future and whether young people will carry on the tradition or change and modify it. 

Today Valentine cards are still a kind and lovely way of expressing care, love and affection for special people in your life.


I thought these pale pink waterlilies were so beautiful sitting next to each other, so took a photo and made them into a Valentine day card. 









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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Reviewing Benefits and Considerations Of Heated Throws

Heated Throws


We absolutely love our heated throws and in cold weather we would not be with out them. I was not initially sure if it was worth it to buy a heated blanket or throw but I have to say that there is no way I would be without one now. 

 A heated blanket or throw is a blanket with wires inside to heat it up. You plug it into  a mains electrical socket and use it as a blanket cover over your body. 

You must not lie on top of it and must not put it under your mattress, other blankets or duvet.  It is only for use over the top of your body. It is excellent at providing warmth and comfort during cold weather. 

 However there are a number of considerations to bear in mind before purchasing a heated blanket.

 The Benefits of a Heated Throw Or Blanket.


 Saving energy Costs. We have found that we can keep the heating either off for longer or lower the temperature on the thermostat by using our heated throws. Energy costs are so high that this is an effective way to help reduce the cost of heating the home and heat ourselves instead. Heated throws do heat up much faster and give out much more warmth than a normal blanket. We also find that the room itself is a little warmer when we have been using our heated blankets. 

 Improving mood. In the winter months when it is invariably cold, dark and with long nights our mood can suffer. A heated throw encourages relaxation and a feeling of cosiness and comfort which is always lovely. On a practical level it can also lower the amount of energy we need to keep us warm and this in turn can help reduce stress and anxiety. If you are cold you are unlikely to feel very happy!

 Pain relief. A heated blanket can help if you have minor aches and pains as the gentle warmth can ease muscle tension. It is also lovely if you are feeling ill with flu or other viruses and keeps you cosy warm. However, it is always best to check with your doctor if it is safe if you have any prior health conditions and best not to use if you are pregnant.

 Sleep. We sometimes use our heated blanket over the bed at night to provide additional warmth. While we don't keep it on all night, just for a little while on the timer,  it can help us drift off to sleep. If it gets very cold during the night and wakes us up, one of us can just switch it on again on the timer for an hour to warm us up. It is also very useful if one of us is warm enough or too hot and the other is cold. That way the cold person can have the heated blanket on just their side. Only use a heated throw in this way if it has an automatic shut off feature. 

 General warmth. I love gardening and walking that does not stop for me in winter, but I am often really cold by the time I come in. Sometimes I feel really cold and need to warm up and now I can just throw my heated blanket over me and it gently warms me up. Previously I would have needed a warm bath to get my core body temperature right again.

In the event of heating breakdown.
While everyone hopes this will never happen, if it does it is bound to be in the depths of winter! If you have central heating and the boiler or other mechanism breaks down you have lost your heating. However hopefully you will still have electricity and so can still keep warm if you have heated blankets.

Faux Fur Heated Throw


Important Considerations Of Heated Throws 


Heated throws and blankets can also have some considerations it is important to be aware of.

A poor quality heated blanket can pose a fire hazard if it is left on for too long, damaged, or used improperly. A poor quality one can also overheat. So it is very important to buy a good quality heated throw and carefully follow the safety and washing instructions. It is also vital to periodically check it for any signs of damage and do not use it if it is damaged in any way.

I would strongly advise to buy one with a timer and an auto-off feature so that there is peace of mind that if you forget to switch it off, it will switch off and cool down automatically and safely. 

I would advise buying a heated throw that can be washed in a washing machine. Otherwise it is very difficult to keep it clean and hygienic. It should have a detachable lead so you just wash the blanket, clearly never with the lead and plug itself attached. If you buy one that is not washable it would be best to cover it with a washable cover. 

 Some people with certain serious health issues may be advised against using one, so do check with your doctor. Anyone pregnant should consult with a doctor before use as well. It is not suitable to use one with a small baby or anyone who is unable to say if they are getting too hot, or if someone cannot regulate their temperature very well. 

So if you have any serious health issues, pregnant or older check with a doctor and do not use with a baby or small child.

 Points To Consider When Buying Heated Throws


 Price point : Heated throws can vary in price from relatively inexpensive to a very high price. This tends to depend on several factors such as the quality and luxury of the materials used, the range and quality of features, and its size. There is an initial outlay but we feel we have saved more money on heating, so in the end they have paid for themselves.  A less expensive blanket may serve your needs but do also bear in mind how long it might last and what safety features it has compared to a higher quality one. 

 Features: A heated blanket can have various features, such as a controller, a timer, an auto-off function and a temperature setting. We love the auto timer which means we just set it for an hour or 3 hours or 9 hours and do not have to think about it. Also it is very handy if you forget its on there is no worry about overheating as it just switches itself off safely. We also love the temperature control which can be from very low to really warm.
I would advise to buy one that is washable with a detachable lead and and control.

Heated Throw controls



 Safety Features Whatever price point you buy at, I would advise to make sure it includes important safety features, like a timer, heat control and most important auto switch off. 

Material: A heated blanket can also be made from different materials, and it is really down to personal preference what you would like. I would advise easy care and something that you like that goes with your living room, office or bedroom colour scheme. We have one that is heavier and thicker with a Faux fur furry feel and one that is much lighter with a soft sherpa feel. 

The Size: A heated blanket can come in a variety of sizes. We chose two single throw sized ones so that there are not unwieldly to use on the sofa but still big enough to place across the bed. However you  may prefer a larger one to cover a bigger area.

Blue sherpa heated throw



 I think a heated throw like this Sunbeam  Royal Luxe Heated Throw is an essential for winter, especially if you are wanting to save heating costs and still feel nice and warm and cosy. 

 I believe a heated throw is a lovely gift for many occasions and one like this Sealy Faux Fur Heated Throw would be lovely perhaps for a winter birthday, a housewarming or wedding present and these heated throws and blankets are always suitable for a Christmas gift.

We feel that our two heated blankets are one of our best purchases for the colder weather. They have saved us money on heating bills, look lovely in our living room and bedroom. They have been fantastic when I am working and sitting still for periods of time to keep me warm or when we are watching a film at night and do not want the heating on. We have had them for two years now with no issues and we would not be without them. 


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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Reviewing the Stunning Snowdrop In Gardens And Home Decor.

 

snowdrops flowers

I adore Snowdrops. From the end of December I start eagerly searching for signs of snowdrop life. To see those tiny green shoots really lifts my heart and brings such joy. To me Snowdrops epitomise beauty, strength and overcoming adversity.

They are the first flowers to bloom in the year and  are a symbol of hope and renewal after the long wet, cold winter.

 Snowdrops appear so fragile and delicate yet they are so resilient. The exquisite white flowers are a beautiful sight I look forward to every year.


snowdrops


Snowdrops are a Spring flower and part of the amaryllis family. They are classed as a hardy perennial mostly flowering in January and February. They are small and close to the ground growing about 3 to 6 inches tall yet are perfectly capable of growing up through snow and ice.

 

There are many varieties of snowdrop each with their slightly different height and shape and size of flower. I enjoy making home decor items and greetings cards from photographs I take of snowdrops in my garden and the parks nearby each year. 


 Snowdrops are very easy to grow. They enjoy partial shade and moist soil. If they are happy they will grow into stunning drifts of white flowers and look amazing. Equally they look gorgeous in small or large pots.

Mostly I grow snowdrops as an outdoor plant but I have heard of people growing them indoors to use as table decoration and an alternative or addition to buying cut flowers in winter which sounds a great idea I may try. 

Snowdrops are so delicate looking and beautiful that they make great subjects for home decor and you can buy many snowdrop related items. For example from cushions to hand painted glass or this lovely Glass Flower Snowdrop Glass handblown  or snowdrop scented candles. 

 

Snowdrops are a  fleeting flower but by having them in home decor items you can have snowdrops all year round. 

Being with white flowers and green stems they fit in with most home decor schemes and always look fresh, clean and appealing. 



Snowdrops always leave me feeling joy and smiling perhaps more than any other flower. Perhaps it is their tenacity and resilience wrapped in such delicate beauty having come through winter with all its challenges ready to charm us all and bring happiness.

I would never be without them in my garden and  in pots and in my home in one way or another. 






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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A Review Of The Holly Tree A Symbol Of Winter and Festivity

 Holly Hedge In Garden with red berries


I hope you all had a wonderful, Peaceful Christmas.

Now feels like the time for me to start the gardening year. At first the feeling is slow, almost imperceptible, but its there and each day the days are getting just that little bit longer and the prospect of getting out there more appealing. 

The shortest day in terms of daylight hours where I live is over and despite the cold weather and seemingly bleak outlook, if you listen and look carefully you can feel nature starting to wake up.

Now is the day if I am home, that I venture out into the garden. During most of December I rarely go into the garden, we have heavy, wet clay soil and when rainy it only gets muddy and then compacted if I tread on it. In freezing weather it really is hard like a stone. I can do a lot more harm than good gardening at this time in our garden.  So generally for most of December the garden and I have a break from each other. 

However today I look and listen and I can feel my soul wanting to reconnect with the garden. There is often not too much to look at now and all the winter jobs are done. However, as I gaze around I look for tiny signs of growth and appreciate the bones of the garden. The evergreens that are always there, are so reliable, so constant and without the distraction of colour and flowers, they come into their own right now. 

Holly red berries

Holly Types And Growing Needs

The best at this time of year is the Holly. Although Holly can be deciduous, we grow only the evergreen type. The Holly tree is a symbol of winter and festivity and many of us cut and bring in Holly branches to decorate our homes in winter. 

The holly tree, common Holly, or to give it is rather pretty Latin name Ilex aquifolium, is an  evergreen shrub or tree that can potentially grow up to around 15 meters plus or about 50 feet tall though you can prune to keep it more manageable.

There are also many smaller varieties reaching up to half that size such as Ilex aquifolium 'Silver Mermaid' 6m x 4m (approx 20 x 13 feet) or even smaller sizes suitable for a pot like Ilex aquifolium 'Hascombensis' 2.5m x 1.5m (approx 8 x 5 feet). These are more suitable for a small garden or if you simply want a smaller tree with less maintenance. Some even have lovely variagated leaves such as Ilex x altaclerensis 'Golden King' 6m x 3m (approx 20 x 10 feet), which is a female variety and does produce red berries.

Holly Berries can be colours mostly from red to yellow and orange on different varieties. A Holly Plant is generally either male or female so to get those beautiful berries you will need a female tree with  male tree nearby. However some of the male varieties even though there are no berries, have really gorgeous leaves and habits and are worth growing.

Holly is grown in gardens both domestic and stately, woodland and hedgerows mainly. It can be a specimum plant glorious on its own or grown as part of a pretty inpenetrable spiky hedge which is excellent for security. We grow it alone and as part of our mixed hedge. It is also found in the wild where the common Holly can grow very tall and wide indeed if unchecked. 

Male holly hedge growing through iron fence


Holly is beautiful with often very dark green, glossy, and usually very spiky sometimes variagated leaves. It can have small white flowers in Spring, though most will not be grown for the flowers. The main feature of the female Holly is the beautiful berries that really brighten up the day and look spectacular against the dark green leaves.  

It prefers to grow in a sunny or semi shade position on moist but well drained soil. It is not fussy about soil being happy in loam, chalk, sand or clay and acid, neutral or alkaline soil type. It can cope well in an exposed site or a sheltered position and is content to face any way except north. 

I have only space to mention a few varieties of Holly here. If you want Holly in your own garden there are so many varieties offering different sizes and features it is best to research what is suitable for your garden and needs. 


Uses Of The Holly Tree

The Holly tree is a very valuable tree for its many uses.

As the wood is hard, heavy, and fine-grained, it is good for making furniture, carving, and inlay work. Leaves and berries are wonderful for crafting projects whether it is using real Holly or artificial Holly.

It can be used for Christmas or New year decorations including wreaths, and table centre pieces or a winter display to brighten up a dull corner.

At a time when flowers are rare in the garden and expensive to buy, a display of Holly in a vase is a beautiful alternative through out winter. 

Holly For Nature 

For nature Holly is an extremely valuable tree. The spiky leaves provide safe shelter all year round and nesting sites.

The Winter time berries are food for birds and small mammals and the  flowers in Spring attract bees and pollinators. 

Even its roots help to stabilise the soil and prevent erosion.

 

Wild yellow berry Holly

Holly In Mythology and Symbolism

The Holly tree has a rich history of mythology and symbolism.

For many of us Holly is a part of the Holiday festivities bringing in boughs of Holly real or artificial for home decor and is a  symbol of joy. When we bring in Holly into our homes it is also supposed to protect from evil spirits and lightning, and to bring prosperity and good luck! 

Holly has associations with the sun god and the winter solstice, and was considered a sacred plant by the Druids, Romans, and Celts. It was believed to have magical powers, such as healing, protection, and fertility. It was also a symbol of peace, joy and goodwill, and was used to make crowns and gifts. 

 The Holly was adopted by Christianity, as a symbol of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection with the crown of thorns representing blood and eternal life. 

We even have songs about Holly such as "The Holly And The Ivy", perfectly performed here by Kings College, Cambridge UK.



So the holly tree is a stunning plant in nature and in our gardens that has history, mythology and many benefits for us and wildlife. 

 To step outside into the garden on a crisp cold day in the midst of winter or wrap up and enjoy a winter walk and see a glorious Holly tree covered in gorgeous berries is a highlight of the season and one I always look forward to.

 

 Here are some Holly related items you may enjoy.


 







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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A Review of The Christmas Tree And Traditions

Christmas Tree

One of the traditions I love is putting up and decorating the Christmas tree which we usually do in the second week or December. We usually play Christmas music and for us it feels like the beginning of Christmas! Closer to Christmas we put the presents under the tree. 

Our local towns and cities usually have a Christmas tree displayed somewhere central which look beautiful.

A Minster local to us holds a Christmas Tree celebration each December where all the local charities put up and decorate a Christmas tree in unique and traditional ways in the Minster. People visit and the money raised goes to the charities. It is a wonderful way of raising awareness for the charities, seeing beautiful decorations and having fun for all the family!

Every year an enormous Norwegian Fir tree is cut down in Norway and shipped to London UK to be proudly displayed as the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. This has been a tradition since 1947 when Norway has thanked Britain for its support during the Second World War. 

Whether its a real tree or an artificial one for many of us it is the centrepiece of Christmas decorating in our homes and a really fun part of Christmas for adults and children alike. 

Presents under the Christmas tree


History Of The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree has become a mainstay of the festive season, but it is not a new decoration. Its origins date back a long time when the tradition of bringing evergreen trees or branches into the home in winter can be traced all the way back to cultures such as the Vikings, Romans and  Egyptians.

These civilizations viewed evergreen trees as symbols of life and rebirth, and brought them indoors to ward off evil spirits during the winter solstice. They also served as a reminder during the depths of winter, of the life of Spring to come. 

However, the modern Christmas tree as we know it today has its origins in Germany.

Decorating a tree with ornaments, garlands and candles became popular in the 16th century and became a tradition in Europe and beyond. 

The Christmas tree was introduced to England in the 19th century. Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, brought the tradition with him to the royal court. Once people saw the Royal family with a Christmas Tree people aspired to have one for themselves. 

In America, the Christmas tree tradition was popularized by German immigrants in the 19th century.

By the early 20th century, the Christmas tree had become a firm favourite and treasured symbol of the festive season and it remains a beloved tradition for many people.

Decorated Christmas Tree

Christmas Trees In All Shapes, Sizes And Decor.

Some of us choose large trees, some small. Some people like a modern tree which may be made of wood or metal, a pre lit bare branched tree, or a full branched traditional one either green or snowy to name a few.

They can be small, large, real ones chosen from the fields or artificial and pre lit or not. They can be decorated with all manner of items from real pine cones to baubles, family pieces and handmade crafted items and lights which can be bright white, soft gold or colours. 

Some ornaments are handed down through generations, or new ones bought each year. 

We still have Christmas baubles and tinsel handed down to me from my parents which we display every year and we occasionally add to our collection. 

Close up of decorations on the Christmas tree

People site their Christmas trees in different places. For many it will have pride of place in the main living room, others may have it in the entrance hallway or in the dining room and some may have a couple of trees, maybe a main large one then a smaller table top one. 

A Christmas tree can be decorated in traditional red and green, or golds, bronze, pinks, silver and white or really anything you choose! 

Some people like it decorated in a restrained way while for others no amount of decoration is too much. 

Some people let their children decorate it in any way they wish, while others have a strict theme.

Its really anything you and your family desire and makes you happy! We love ours especially in the cold, dark winter evenings when the golden lights twinkle and it is just a really pretty, cosy look to our main living room. 

  

So in this way the Christmas tree whether real or artificial has evolved over time from a symbol of life and rebirth, to a cherished holiday tradition for Christmas celebrations. It is certainly a key part of our Christmas traditions and we love it ! 

Love to hear which Christmas Tree you choose for your home and how you decorate it!  

Wishing You Happy Christmas!!


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