Monday, December 15, 2014

Pre Christmas Tidbits

Time flies so fast, it'll be Christmas in ten days! Each year I tell colleagues at work that we should have our Christmas work party early in the month (which we did) as no matter how much preparation or psyching up one does, it always seems to get manic in the run up to the the big day.



Before I proceed further, first things first, many thanks again to the Telegraph for the little mention on their gardening section last Thursday!

Second, a couple of days late but lucky thirteen it was as we were featured on the thirteenth day of Cision's Advent Calendar, yay! There's a little q&a there so if you fancy a little glimpse of what we'll get up to during Christmas do check it out.

Now back to the preparation for Christmas, as an adult it was seems to take awhile for the season to sink in and it finally did last weekend which meant there are lots of preparation to do, which includes decorating and buying presents. We haven't even bought presents to each other yet. But there are the weekday evenings too to do things and I'm sure by end of the coming weekend we're all settled and fully ready for the day itself.

Relating this post to gardening, we still haven't made a decision yet whether to go for a real tree or a fake one this year. On previous years we go for a real one as the scent of it in the house is wonderful however they are so messy to get rid off after the festive season so practicality may reign supreme this time. Bringing up this topic in real life conversations, it still amazes me up to now how many people have strong feelings about using a real tree to decorate for Christmas,in that how unnecessary it is now to sacrifice a living tree just for decorative purposes that will only last for a few weeks. For that reason only fake ones are acceptable for those who feel that way. I understand the point and I'm still on two minds about it, seeming that trees coming from reputable sources are now farmed.


Real or not, that's the question...
I suppose a good fake tree is a one off purchase and will last for a long time. What about you, what are your thoughts about it?

Anyway, apart from Christmas the quarantine shed is finished (bar a few finishing touches) and the pond inside is now set up including the filtration. So it's something we're very excited about at the moment on top of everything else. Hopefully we'll move some fish in there soon!



How is your preparation for Christmas going? Whatever your plans are or what you're up to hopefully you're enjoying the process!

Mark :-)

36 comments :

  1. How is my preparation for Christmas going -you ask ? Well let me say I rather admired Scrooge before he became nice :-) As for fake/real trees-Well, as you say, real trees are farmed and are part of a massive timber industry which provides a nice habitat for some creatures. I guess you will go for a fake tree because "Darling we just can't do with all those nasty needles." :-)

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    1. Leaning more towards fake tree this time Don, feeling lazy with just the thought of tidying up all those needles post Christmas :)

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  2. I'm still not truly in the Christmas spirit. Work always seems to pick up at this time of year as clients clean out their (virtual) drawers and/or spend whatever money they have left in their budget, meaning I'm very busy and don't have time for much else. But that will change this coming weekend. Fortunately Christmas itself is on a Thursday, which gives me a few days next week to get into the mood.

    We've had a fake tree for nine years now and I'm yearning for a real tree. I'm tired of hauling the fake tree in from the garage, setting it up, dealing with branches that break off and lights that don't work anymore, and after Christmas taking it down, packaging it up, and stowing it away again. Looking purely at convenience, a single-use tree is much easier!

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    1. Actually that's a good point Gerhard, a fake tree will probably take just as much effort to tidy up as a real one. Hmmm....

      Christmas seems well placed this year, with it being Thursday then the following day a bank holiday here means it joins nicely to the weekend. The days prior to that should get you in the mood for it hopefully. Glad to hear though that you're busy with work as on the scheme of things that's a good thing :)

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  3. We have used a fake tree for a number of years. It is work to set up and take down so not all free and clear plus you need space to store. I like a tall tree for my ornaments and since trees travel a long way they are expensive and not very fresh so we switched to fake.

    You can add fresh greenery to a flower arrangement for the scent of the holidays.

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    1. That's a good suggestion Shirley, will do that if indeed we go for a fake one and still want that fresh scent in the air :)

      Speaking of real trees, they are rather expensive for what they are and for something so temporary too. A combination of a luxury to have in Christmas as well as a festive rip off are perhaps the reason for this (leaning heavily on the latter). You can get a really good fake one for the same price as a real one, hmmm....

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  4. See Danger Garden for building a fake(ish) tree with fallen boughs. We very often bring in a live tree in a big pot. It doesn't like to be indoors much over a week, but it's kinda the best of both worlds.

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    1. Funny enough I was thinking of Loree's creation this morning Ricki :) a potted one with rootball intact sounds like a good compromise

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  5. Well, look at it this way, a real tree in my case supports a tree farmer in Oregon, while a fake tree comes from a factory in China. I feel better about the farmer !

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    1. That's another good case put in for a real tree Kathy :))

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  6. Still have to get all my presents, too. Tomorrow is the boyfriend's birthday, so that has taken precedence so far as gift buying and preparations are concerned. I am all for real trees as long as they come from a tree farm not too far away - supporting the farmers! - and just love the smell in the house - it just does not feel as Christmassy without that scent.

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    1. The scent is just wonderful CG :) I'm sure you'll get fabulous presents for your other half!

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  7. My family and I spent this past weekend making cookies. Christmas cookies of course! So our Christmas is well underway. The inside of my house is all decorated and yes I have a fake tree. The only reason is the only reason isthat I am allergic to the real ones. Lol

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    1. That's great to hear Candice, with the Christmas cookies and all :) not so much with the allergy but it's an absolute reason not to go for the real one

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  8. #1 UK garden blog - congratulations! I don't know how or why Christmas always seems to sneak up on me in recent years. There was a time (long ago) that I finished the main part of my shopping by Halloween so I could enjoy a leisurely holiday season. Now, it's a mad dash, with more and more gifts ordered on-line and direct shipped to recipients spread all over the place. And few handwritten cards - I use e-cards almost exclusively. But despite the conveniences, the season still feels rushed. The tree (real, supporting the Oregon tree farmers as Kathy mentioned) is up and decorated but I've done less with the rest of the house than in the past. A family smorgasbord is scheduled for the coming weekend, after which I can crash.

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    1. Thank you Kris! :) iy's amazing isn't it, that no matter how one seems to psyche themselves up to have a calm festive season it still ends up being a manic run up. I'm sure all will fall into place for all of us but can definitely emphatise with the rush. Have to say we haven't done any cards yet too, oops!

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  9. As you probably know my trees run the gamut from real and potted, real but constructed, aluminum, branches, and on and on...I say do whatever makes you happy! Then again I guess I should also admit I can't imagine spending a chunk of change on a fake imitation of a real tree that you then have to use year after year to rationalize the cost. Where's the fun in that? You guys are so creative you will come up with something. Now I'm off to read those links you provided...

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    1. Your creativity seems endless Loree, and very inspiring! You're making us lean towards the real thing again, hmmm...

      Wish we had lots of spare time at the moment to be extra creative as its so fun to be so. We'll see :))

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  10. We've a real tree with roots this year. I'm not sure it will survive but we'll try to keep it alive for next year.
    We buy our tree from a local business - so I see it as supporting a small business. They in turn get the trees from a farm that has diversified into tree growing as they can no longer make a living from dairy farming. There will be a succession of trees being grown and they provide good habitat for wildlife.
    Hope you 2 have a lovely Christmas xx

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    1. Very good points to consider Celia! :)

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  11. I transitioned over to a really good fake tree many years ago; it's a black one and doesn't even try to pretend it's real. The question now every year is when to replace it! It sheds a few fake needles every year as it has to be fluffed up after removal from its box but has given very good value for money. Real or fake, trees for christmas are very expensive, and that's before the baubles go on. I think I'll stick with my old tree for a couple more years. Gorgeous wreaths in your top pic - I thought you were going to say that you'd squeezed in a bit of wreath making in your 'spare' time!!

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    1. Not much spare time going on Caro but perhaps we can buy one or two fresh wreaths :) that's the advantage of a fake one, for re use every year but they have their shelf life too, albeit a long one. I find white trees attractive as well, black sounds elegant, and inverted ones fun!

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  12. I've never had a real one (it's just not common here) and it does seem wasteful. I do understand the appeal though! If they could stay small and you could keep it in a pot outdoors for the rest of the year it would be perfect!

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    1. Real one is fab Amy, the scent of the fresh foliage is wonderful :) The only thing is that only small ones come with a rootball and big ones are much more preferred

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  13. I bought a rooted tree last year. It was in the house for maybe 10 days then I put it in a well lit outhouse for a couple of weeks to reduce the shock of going straight back outside. It seems to have worked. It lost a few needles, gained a few more over the summer and is now ready to come back inside next week. I don't know how many years I'll keep it going this way, but it seems the best of both worlds.

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    1. Sounds like the rooted one you bought last year works well for you Jessica. Hopefully it will last for a long time, and if it does the tree itself will be kept for sentimental reasons too :)

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  14. Congratulations on both the Telegraph and Cision mentions! We love real trees for their fragrance and beauty but for practical purposes, we've gone to using artificial trees. This year we have a new pre lit tree. Yesterday, Tom found a couple of bins of my favorite ornaments that were hiding in a different room of the basement so we may have to put up a second tree to use them.

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    1. Thanks Peter! Two trees sounds like a great idea especially if you have the space for them :) One real and one fake sounds like a great compromise and the best of both worlds!

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  15. I love Loree's creativity in the realm of Christmas decor, I wish I had her energy and imagination. We have a big fake tree, but we never use it any more. I have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Love all the accolades and attention you guys have been getting, congrats on that!

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    1. Thanks Alison :) same here, Loree's creativity is so admirable and inspiring and wish we had the time to emulate her ideas. Don't worry too much about not getting the Christmas spirit, focus on the coming spring instead :))

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  16. Was anybody else disappointed that the first photo was actually of wreaths and not of succulent plantings (which is what it looked like at first glance)? I guess that tells you that I'm not in the Christmas mood -- I'd much rather hear about the quarantine shed. :)

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    1. Ahhww Alan. In fairness though I much prefer succulent plantings too :) past Christmas day we can all go back to normal thoughts about plants other than meant for the festive season

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  17. I like real trees but dont have much space and don´t like to see needles falling everywhere so I have a fake one. They never look as good as the real ones.

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    1. Pros and cons on both sides Lisa. Still thinking about which one to go for here :)

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  18. I love real trees, they are one of the pleasures of Christmas (along with Baileys of course!) Merry Christmas. Helen

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    1. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Helen!

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