The 2017 Basic Christmas Decorations and their Historic Origins.

I absolutely LOVE the holidays! Decorating my house, planning ahead for the celebration, listening to carols, watching all the malls light up their trees… it makes me feel so joyful! I really enjoy doing all the “chores” that come with Christmas celebration! Especially I truly enjoy choosing my new decorations. Here´s what I think are the most important things to consider this 2017!

How Traditional is the Traditional Christmas Tree?

A Christmas Trees is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in early modern Germany (where it is today called Weihnachtsbaum or Christbaum), in which devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany, during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes. The tree was traditionally decorated with roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, and sweetmeats, with the apples and round ornaments representing the fruit of knowledge of good and evil from the Book of Genesis in the Christian Bible. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification.

Enjoy untangling x-mass lights? Not Me!

Do I like untangling lights every year? NO! That`s why I think this tree is THE BEST invention EVER! . I know most people like to go and pick up their tree every year, but I do truly believe having a reusable tree not only saves money but also time and the environment!. You don´t have to worry about it drying up before Christmas… plus it comes with a guarantee!

Save Money!

Now if we talk about saving money and getting a reusable tree this is what you need! It has a good rating and it is under $50… now that’s a deal you don´t want to miss! .

Best Value Tree! 7ft tall at $29

Do you love trees so much you want a ton of them placed around your space, outside, inside, in the bathroom? Well, for less than $30 per unit
this is the tree to use.

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The Mistletoe!

It is a Christmas custom for a couple who meet under a mistletoe to kiss. Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration, though such use was rarely alluded to until the 18th century. The tradition has spread throughout the English-speaking world but is largely unknown in the rest of Europe. It was described in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.: The Mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.

Some claim that the origin of the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe goes back to ancient Norse mythology. According to the myth, a goddess named Frigg had a son named Baldr. When he was born, she made all plants unable to hurt him. Yet she overlooked the mistletoe plant, and a god known for his mischief, Loki, tricked another god into killing Baldr with a spear made of mistletoe. The gods eventually brought Baldr back to life, and Frigg declared that mistletoe would bring love rather than death into the world. People then kissed under the mistletoe to obey the goddess, as well as to remember Baldr’s resurrection.

Another theory is that the tradition originated in the ancient Babylonian-Assyrian Empire. Single women apparently stood under mistletoe hung outside the temple for the goddess of beauty and love. They were expected to bond with the first man that approached them – but they did not kiss. Historically, mistletoe was seen as a supernatural, healing plant. It was believed to promote fertility, and its leaves were said to be an aphrodisiac. Mistletoe was once a part of marriage ceremonies for this reason, and was placed under couples’ beds for good luck. The tradition later was found in England, when young men would kiss women standing under the mistletoe, and would pluck a berry from the bush after each kiss. After all the berries were gone, it was bad luck to continue kissing under that bush. It is important to remember that during this period a kiss was taken very seriously – it was usually seen as a promise of marriage!

Mistletoe Hat Anyone?

I thought this Mistletoe Hat was one of the most hilarious things ever! I’m going to throw Christmas party and have all the guests wear one! Fun fun fun!!!
Mistletoe Hat

Kissing Ball?

I believe this Kissing Ball Ornament is very elegant and a classic on any Christmas party! So classic!

classic mistletoe

The Classic Mistletoe is an elegant and thoughtful ornament to place… if you ask singles, on as many places as possible ;).

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The Stockings

The stockings are the most humble of the gift-related items of Christmas and a very important indicator of how “Well” some children behaved. Stockings scream cozy loving Christmas to anyone who sees them. So here are a few choices.

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as Stocking Stuffers or Stocking Fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece or pile of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel. Some people even put their Christmas stocking by their bedposts so Santa Claus can fill it by the bed while they sleep.

Cheaper by the Dozen

At a little over a dollar per stocking, this gorgeous Christmas stocking set, is my first choice.

Modern-Classic Christmas Stockings?

These Modern Christmas Stockings are gorgeous. They are elegant, simple and sophisticated at the same time. I’d love to see these in modern minimalist interiors or classic colonial houses with modern fusions.

The Stocking Choice for the Christmass Fanatic

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The Nativity Scene

Christmas is a Christian holiday and for those of you who identify with any of the Christ-centric religions, having a Nativity Scene to commemorate the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ is almost an obligation as much as it is a joy. Either way, its a Christmas must.

In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene is also known as a manger scene, crib, crèche or in Italian presepio or presepe is the special exhibition, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the birth of Jesus. While the term “nativity scene” may be used of any representation of the very common subject of the Nativity of Jesus in art, it has a more specialized sense referring to seasonal displays, either using model figures in a setting or reenactments called “living nativity scenes” (tableau vivant) in which real humans and animals participate. Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph.

Other characters from the nativity story, such as shepherds, sheep, and angels may be displayed near the manger in a barn (or cave) intended to accommodate farm animals, as described in the Gospel of Luke. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, and the Magi and their camels, described in the Gospel of Matthew, are also included. Several cultures add other characters and objects that may or may not be Biblical are included based on local traditions.

Nativity Scene For Kids

This Nativity Scene for Kids is perfect to set the holiday mood before talking to kids about the origin of christmass. This Child’s first Nativity Manger Set is made from fabric with safe unbreakable pieces, all the pieces are stored in the sturdy stable with a Convenient handle for travel. Just the right size for toddlers- lost pieces are replaced free.
This Unique Manger set is hand-crafted with the quality that only Pockets of Learning provides. This item has become a treasured piece of Christmas celebrations in family homes for generations.

Modern-Classic Nativity Set?

This Willow Tree Nativity 6 piece set is a safe, smart and elegant choice for almost any setting. It includes a Sentiment on an enclosure card that reads ‘Behold the awe and wonder of the Christmas Story’. It consists of Six hand-painted resin figures, the tallest is 9.5”h. Includes Mary, Joseph, shepherd, donkey and two sheep. We recomend you dust with soft cloth or soft brush and avoid water or cleaning solvents. Artist Susan Lordi hand carved the original of each Willow Tree piece from her studio in Kansas City, MO. This piece is cast from Susan’s original carving and painted by hand.
Willow Tree is an intimate line of figurative sculptures that speak in quiet ways to heal, comfort, protect and inspire. Sculptures communicate through gesture… to represent an emotion.
Since 1999, Susan Lordi has worked in partnership with DEMDACO to produce, market and distribute Willow Tree, her line of carved, figurative sculptures.

The Nativity Set for Fanatics is a Very classic Nativity Set!

This Classic Nativity Set is a foolproof choice on any “Reasonable” environment. This Nativity set Comes with Stable and Hay, Nine ceramic pieces, the Stable measures 12.50″W x 9″H x 4″D. The figurine measurements range between 5″H x 2″W (Wise man) & 1″H x 2″W (Baby Jesus).

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The Christmas Wreaths

In English-speaking countries, Christmas Wreathss are used typically as household ornaments, mainly as an Advent Decorations. They are also used in ceremonial events in many cultures around the globe. Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength, as evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Bay laurel may also be used, and these wreaths are known as Lauren Wreaths.

Best Value Wreaths

These Best Value Christmas Wreaths are beautifull and at less than 3$ per piece ( 3 piece set), this is a great option for your Christmas decorations. This particular set includes 3 glittering tinsel wreaths with green leaves, mounted on plastic frames. Hang them on your door to give a warm welcome to guests and friends during the cold time of the year! The tinsel wreath reflects light and the glittering effect brings a festive Christmas spirit to your house or apartment! Add this decorative ornament to your front, windows or place it on your dining table as a centerpiece. Its a made of durable plastic, the wreath can last the whole winter season. MEASUREMENTS: 11.8 x 11.8 inches.

Blank Wreaths

Want to decorate the door’s Christmas Wreath yourself? No problem! You can buy Undecorated Wreaths here. Thes are 24″ in diameter that mimic Canadian Pine, but is artificial Christmas Wreath, so it will last more than a few christmas seassons.

Why Not a Wreath Decoration Set?

If you want more than just your door to be decorated with a beautiful wreath, say adding some decorations to the staircase for example, you can always think of buying beauties such as this one.

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The Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights (also known as fairy lights) are lights used for decoration in celebration of Christmas, often on display throughout the Christmas season including Advent and Christmastide. The custom goes back to when Christmas trees were decorated with candles, which symbolized Christ being the light of the world; these were brought by Christians into their homes in early modern Germany.

Christmas trees displayed publicly and illuminated with electric lights became popular in the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights as along streets and on buildings; Christmas decorations detached from the Christmas tree itself. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with such Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960s. By the late 20th century, the custom had also been adopted in other nations, including outside the Western world, notably in Japan and Hong Kong. Throughout Christendom, Christmas lights continue to retain their symbolism of Jesus as the light of the world.

In many countries, Christmas Lights, as well as other Christmas decorations, are traditionally erected on or around the first day of Advent. In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days when Christmas lights are removed are Twelfth Night and Candlemas, the latter of which ends the Christmas-Epiphany season in some denominations. Leaving the decorations up beyond Candlemas is historically considered to be inauspicious.

LED Christmas Curtain Icicle Lights

Would you like to have a lovely, cozy and lit porch? Check you these beautiful Christmas Curtain Icicle Lights. These curtain lights (Length: 9.8 feet Height: 9.8 feet ) has UL approved plugin transformer and its very safe during use. It needs an electrical imput of 120V AC 60Hz and output of 29V 125mA, High Energy Convert Rate, Power 3.6W. There is no worry of overheat or fire. It comes with a remote to turn the light on/off and switch modes. The Light Remote on/off control range is about 32 feet (10 meters). It also includes a timer function that will keep lights on for 6 hours and then turn them off for 18 hours and then come back on automatically.The lighting patters include combination/twinkle/chasing/slow fade/steady on etc. The lights are made of high-quality material and include 12 strands in each set. The space between each LED bulb is 4.5 inches and the distance between each strand is 1 feet. It comes with a warranty that takes ful responsibility for customer dissatisfaction.

Christmas light projector

Christmas Light Projectors are still a growing trend this year. Its the kind of thing that you either love or hate, and we love this Christmas Light Projector more than the rest because of its 16 Multi-Color Switchable Patterns; Colorful projection images including Christmas Tree/Santa, Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, Snowflake, Love,Skeleton,Birthday Cake, Heart Shape and so on. They are suitable for any occasions of every season every year. Thye have the Ultra Safe Certification: CE, FCC, ROHS; The LED Projector Light is made of ABS and plastic, best light casing and with the best power adapter. No fear of rain, snow or strong sunlight. Its made for Outdoor and Indoor Use as its waterproof and can be set in the ground with a built-in stake(Even in muddy grass) or mounted on the supplied round plate (recommend for indoor use). It includes automatic time setting with Remote Control, a built-in timer function, the laser light will automatically turn off after 6H using and turn on again after 18H. But you can choose 2H, 4H, 6H, as you like.

What about solar powered Christmas Lights?

These Solar Christmas Lights are a great alternative to be both environmentally conscientious and also save on the electric bill. They practically pay for themselves. Just be smart about the angle at which you place the solar cells. They include 100 super brilliant LEDs that glow a warm white light. Ideal for decorating your patio, garden, lawn, porch, gate, yard, Christmas lights, wedding, party etc. With gorgeous lighting modes including Fireflies, Waves, Fading, Chasing, Fading slowly, Twinkle and Steady beam. The 33ft Ultra-Thin and high-quality bendable copper wire, the string lights conform to any shape you want. Also, they are easy to store and ready for next use. Powered by solar energy, working up to 10 hours after fully charged the strips light-up automatically at night and turn off during the day. The Mpow string light is IP64 waterproof and heat-resistant, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor without any worry of moisture, weather damage or short circuit.

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Most of the content in this page was taken from extracts found in www.wikipedia.org / Thank you Wikipedia ;).

Trends modern urban design: Peter Calthorpe

1 of every 2 humans live in cities and this will soon be 2 of every 3. The city defines the quality of life of its inhabitants more than any other factor at a mass scale, and on the individual. The impact of a city is huge. From climate change to economic vitality to our very well-being and sense of connectedness. How a city is designed matters. Peter Calthorpe is already at work planning the cities of the future and advocating for community design that’s focused on human interaction. He shares seven universal principles for solving sprawl and building smarter, more sustainable cities.

Where are The Most Fascinating Old ABANDONED Mansions?

Old abandoned mansions around the world! Once thriving castles, these old places are now abandoned! Located in Ukraine, Russia, Belgium and New York in case you are interested to visit them.

Muromtzevo Castle, Russia

The legend of this castle begins in the 1800s when a French and a Russian nobleman started arguing over whose country had the best architecture. After hearing the French nobleman go on and on, the Russian declared that he could easily Build a castle as magnificent as the ones in France. The French man said that if he built this castle he would go to Russia himself to see it and the bet was on. Colonel Vladimir Khrapovitsky went home and built Muromtzevo Castle.
5 years later he invited his French noble friends to his estate to visit his gothic castle. When they arrived they began complimenting him on his new home. “Oh no”, he said. “This is just the stable! The castle is a bit further!” The guests were amazed at the French style chateau complete with gardens and cascades. Khrapovitsky also built two schools and a church for the villagers.
When the Russian Revolution started, Khrapovitsky was forced to flee his castle and is said to have deceased in poverty. His beautiful creation was plundered and rebuilt in a way the owners would have hardly recognized. It was used as a college, and then a hospital, and then forgotten.

Pidhirtsi Castle, Ukraine
Built between 1635 and 1640, Pidhirtsi Castle has survived the trials of war and occupation. Part castle, part fortress, this castle has the reputation for being haunted. In the 18th century, one of the owners was said to have ambushed his wife because of his insane jealousy and had her body walled up in the basement. Known as the “Woman in White” she is said to wander the castle. A group of 20 Ukrainian psychics recently agreed that the place was filled with ghosts. Measurements of the electromagnetic field of the castle were off the charts, a pseudo-scientific sign for many that Pidhirtsi is most certainly haunted.
During WWII the castle was taken over and plundered by the Soviets until it was converted into a hospital for people suffering from sickness. A lightning bolt struck the building in 1956, Setting it on fire for three weeks straight, destroying everything left inside. It has now been converted into a museum, telling the story of the struggles of a region.

Miranda Castle, Belgium
Also called Chateau de Noisy, this castle in Belgium was Built for French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution. In 1866, Count Liedekerke-De Beaufort commissioned English architect Edward Milner to design and build them a new home. Even though Milner passed away,
the castle was Completed in 1907 once the clock tower was erected. The Liedekerke-Beaufort family lived in the castle until World War II, when it was occupied by the Germans after the Battle of the Bulge which took place on part of the property.
In 1950, the National Railway Company of Belgium took over the castle and turned it into an orphanage and camp for sick children. This is when it was renamed Chateau de Noisy. It was too expensive to maintain and in 1991, the castle was abandoned. Parts of the structure were heavily damaged in a fire and most of the ceilings have collapsed.
In 2014, the family applied for and was granted permission to demolish Miranda Castle. In 2015, A group of investors intervened to stop the demolition and petitioned to have it included on the Walloon Heritage Conservation List. As of June 2016, the castle is in private hands and is listed as private property. Rumor has it that the family finally agreed to sell, but no one knows who has bought it.
Miranda Castle was used as a filming location for the American series Hannibal. In the show, this Belgian castle is portrayed as Castle Lecter in Lithuania as the ancestral home of everyone’s favorite cannibal.

Halcyon Hall, New York
The image of Halcyon Hall is Used by many paranormal investigators to represent haunted places but most people don’t know what or where it is. This rotting relic in Millbrook, New York was originally built as a luxury hotel in 1890 when summer colonies like Newport were popular. H. J. Davison Jr. spent a fortune on the Victorian Queen Anne style building with 5 stories and 200 rooms.
Unfortunately, the resort failed and Davison was forced to sell. It was then purchased in 1907 by May Bennett for her Bennett School for Girls which later became Bennett College. The school had been founded in 1890 in Irvington, NY but needed a larger home.
The Bennett School offered 6 years of education to girls from prominent families in NY.

Urban planning legend Jane Jacobs is the subject of a new documentary

Jane Jacobs OC OOnt (born Jane Butzner; May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies, sociology, and economics. Her influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of most city-dwellers. In the book she introduced sociological concepts such as “eyes on the street” and “social capital”.

Jacobs was well known for organizing grassroots efforts to protect existing neighborhoods from “slum clearance” – and particularly for her opposition to Robert Moses in his plans to overhaul her neighborhood, Greenwich Village. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have passed directly through SoHo and Little Italy. She was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on that project. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto planned, and under construction.

As a mother and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs endured scorn from established figures. She did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning, and her lack of such credentials was seized upon as grounds for criticism by some. Learn more here: