Traditional recipes

5 Christmas Decorations That Will “Kill” You

5 Christmas Decorations That Will “Kill” You

Tinsel and Ornaments

Let’s face it: even as an adult, shiny objects are pretty enticing. While tinsel isn’t toxic, it can cause problems if ingested, especially for pets, as the foreign object could twist and tangle up in their intestines.

Poinsettias

Though they are less toxic to humans than once believed, poinsettias can cause extreme discomfort when ingested. If your toddler has a bite, it can cause a mild stomachache, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is likely that people with a latex allergy will be allergic to poinsettias as well, since they both share similar proteins, and a severe reaction shouldn’t be treated lightly. Animals that nibble on these plants will likely experience mouth and stomach irritation and occasional vomiting.

Mistletoe

Sure, it’s great for romance, but mistletoe shouldn’t be consumed — ever. Though the fatality rate of ingested mistletoe is low, eating the leaves or berries or making tea from this plant warrants a call to poison control.

Holly

Do not deck the halls with real holly if anyone (children or pets) in your house is liable to go for a taste of it. One or two berries won’t have too extreme of an effect, but more than 20 could actually result in death. Theobromine, an alkaloid related to caffeine that actually appears in low concentrated amounts in chocolate (which in even low doses is dangerous to dogs), is what makes this berry so deadly. Even the bark, seeds, and leaves are toxic!

Christmas Trees

As majestic and beautiful as your holiday tree is, there are a number of dangers lurking between its branches. When decorating the tree, be very careful of choosing lights (make sure they’re regulation) and keep your tree away from heaters and fireplaces (even if it is a fake). Pine needles may prove to be dangerous to pets, as they can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. Watering your Christmas tree is essential for its vitality (and actually reduces risks of fire), but your pets and children, particularly cats, may be tempted to lap up the water in the base. While it isn’t deadly, it may contain fertilizer, which can be poisonous to kitties.


Christmas Decor

Deck your halls with the best Christmas decorations for your home. From tree toppers and ornaments to stockings and collectibles, Balsam Hill offers a wide range of holiday decorations to suit your personal style. Start with a theme in mind or browse through our varied selection for inspiration.

Holiday Decorations that Make Your Christmas Tree Shine

Dress your tree to impress loved ones and guests alike. Choose from a range of Christmas tree decorations in different colors and designs to make your display stand out. Whether you prefer classic red and green, elegant metallics, rustic plaids and prints, or something in between, you're sure to find a match.

Stock up on high-quality ornament sets that allow you to mix and match throughout the years. Our themed collections make it easy to achieve your desired look and may be used on their own or layered with your basic pieces. To bring texture and sparkle to your tree, add your choice of picks and sprays. These versatile holiday decorations may be scattered throughout Christmas tree branches, tucked into wreaths and garlands, or simply placed in a vase or bowl.

Picture-Perfect Finishing Touches

Ribbons and garlands are a great way to tie your theme together. Drape them around your tree, then use the same ribbons to style presents and brighten up different areas of your home. For a complete top to bottom look, wrap your Christmas tree stand with a luxurious tree skirt or give it a contemporary twist with a unique tree collar.

Finally, crown your tree with a beautiful Christmas tree topper. These are available in timeless styles such as angel and star tree toppers, as well as more modern floral bouquets, lighted snowflakes, and Santa figurines.

Festive Holiday Accents for Your Home

Bring cheer to all corners of your home with Christmas decorations that inspire memorable celebrations. Balsam Hill offers Christmas decor that dresses up any space and brings instant charm to your gatherings. Make guests feel at home with a charming tabletop tree, or combine trees of various sizes to create your own winter wonderland. Christmas scents fill the air with nostalgic aromas of the season.

For a cozy ambience without the risk of fire, arrange flameless candles on tabletops and mantels. These are the perfect companions to vintage-inspired snow globes and other collectibles that bring back treasured memories. Keep favorite traditions alive with Christmas stockings that hold little treats for your children to discover. To add pops of color to your mantel, choose from our unique stocking holders.

Outdoor Decorations that Spread Joy

Turn your front porch into a heartwarming holiday display with outdoor Christmas decorations. Whimsical life-size Christmas characters make a big impression on guests and passersby. Line these playful animal figures and ornaments along your entryway or lawn as a merry greeting. Come nighttime, brighten up your porch with lanterns and lights that set the scene for festivities.

This season, create magical moments with your loved ones by choosing Christmas decor that will last for years. Shop the Balsam Hill website today to find the best Christmas decorations for your home.

To learn more, read our Know-All Guide to Christmas Decorating. Find inspiration for your upcoming holiday decorations through our Christmas Decorating Themes page and our blog.


Planet-friendly Christmas trees

Up to 8 million Christmas trees are bought every December in the UK alone. That's a lot of intensive production, and potentially a lot of waste.

It's true that fake plastic trees last for years – and nowadays they can look very realistic. But they take enormous amounts of energy to manufacture. And it's yet more synthetic waste to be disposed of in the future.

So let's look at the options in more detail.

6. Tree rental

More and more places, such as garden centres and plant nurseries, now offer a Christmas-tree hire service over the festive season. They'll often even deliver and collect the tree to save you the hassle. And the tree can carry on growing after it's returned. Sounds like a good solution.

Just make sure it's grown sustainably by looking for either the FSC or Soil Association logo.

7. Use (or grow) your own

Using or buying a tree with roots lets you grow it outside and use it again next year, reducing its environmental impact and costing you less. Holly, apple, pear, bay and Japanese maple trees can all be bought in containers (though for best growth, ground planting is preferable).

They will need some looking after, and you'll need a big pot, so read these expert tips on caring for Christmas trees in pots.

Alternatively, get a large perennial indoor plant – like a yucca, palm or ficus – and just decorate it at Christmas time.

8. Artificial trees

If you've got a fake tree already, keep using it – make it last as long as possible. But look into more environmentally-sound options when it eventually comes to replacing it.

If you do want to get a fake one, for whatever reason, try Freegle, Freecycle, eBay or Gumtree for a pre-loved one.

9. Real trees

If you want to be reassured that your tree has been grown sustainably, not in a way that's environmentally damaging, look for the FSC-certification logo. Just like the rented tree, if you want one that's certified as organic and pesticide-free, get one that's approved by the Soil Association.

10. Recycling real trees

Far more Christmas trees get recycled now than even 10 years ago. Most councils have allocated locations where people can leave their tree after Christmas (take the decorations off first). Or you can usually take them to your nearest municipal tip/recycling centre.

The trees are shredded, then used as mulch on plants in parks, or on woodland paths (for a lovely instant pine-forest smell). Or else rotted down and recycled as compost.


Materials and tools to make faux bleached pinecones.

( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )

  • pinecones: after collecting some pinecones, dry brush them clean using an old tooth brush, or wash them and let dry. Some pine cones will close up after they get wet, and open again once they are dry, so plan ahead if you decide to wash them.
  • non-toxic acrylic or craft paint: here’s one of the secrets: DecoArt brand “Buttermilk”paint colormakes the pinecones look like bleached.
  • container to mix paint and dip the pinecones in, and (optional) rubber gloves

The Best Indoor Christmas Decorations

  • Ornaments
  • Backdrops & Scene Setters
  • Centerpieces
  • Candles & Votives
  • Stockings
  • Lighting
  • Wreaths
  • Religious Decor

Spread holiday cheer to your neighbors and with outdoor Christmas decorations. You'll find a great selection for your yard like luminary bags, Christmas yard flags and decorative outdoor string lights. You'll find holiday yard stake decorations including a Nutcracker, ornaments or poinsettias. Our religious yard stake decorations include the nativity scene, the wise men and an angel. Your family will love our grapevine, lighted snowman or sleigh decorations, as well as an assortment of adorable outdoor decorations too.

Plus, Oriental Trading has hundreds of ornaments to decorate trees. Choose a theme, a color palette or simply chose the Christmas tree ornaments you love. You can't go wrong with a selection this big! And guess what? There's a wonderful assortment of Christmas stockings too, so be sure to match your tree with some new stockings this year.


30 Patriotic 4th of July Crafts Your Family Will Love

It doesn't get more patriotic than a red, white, and blue corn hole set.

Come Independence Day, everything looks better with stars and stripes. Give your home the star-spangled treatment with these simple 4th of July crafts. We have ideas that will keep kids occupied, as well as some more advanced projects for adults that when completed, can double as your patriotic decor. Get your hot glue gun and your crafting scissors ready, because you're going to want to try these crafts out for yourself.

Whether you're an old pro at crafting, or you're just looking for something to keep everyone busy until the fireworks, there's something for all ages on this list &mdash including a DIY picnic blanket that you're going to want to use all summer. When you're done crafting, be sure to check out more of our favorite summer DIY ideas.


Christmas Lights

Best Christmas Lights selection available. Shop for incandescent or led mini lights, net lights, icicle lights, C7 / C9 Bulbs and Strings, Christmas tree and Outdoor Christmas Lights.

LED Christmas Lights with advanced technology offer 90% energy savings, worry free installation, vibrant colors and last 10x longer than traditional Christmas lighting. Create your professional LED display today.

C7 & C9 Christmas string lights offer a nostalgic Christmas look with either incandescent or LED bulbs. Terrific choice for outdoor lighting on roof lines, trees, walkways and more.

Christmas Icicle Lights are a great outdoor lighting option for roof lines, porches, fences and railings. Available in energy saving LED or incandescent lights.

Net lights provide quick, easy Christmas lighting for wrapping trees and bushes. Choose from many colors and sizes in incandescent or LED net lights.

Christmas Light Clips & Timers

Christmas light clips provide convenient installation for gutters, shingles, walk ways, windows, railings and more.

Outdoor Christmas Decorations

Lighted outdoor Christmas decorations and yard ornaments. Large selection of lighted topiaries and outdoor silhouettes.

Christmas Snowflakes & Stars

Lighted snowflakes and stars are popular outdoor Christmas decorations, illuminating the yard for winter holidays. Twinkle and LED available.

Hang Starlight Spheres and decorate the yard with Starlight Stakes, adding festive color with lighted balls to holidays and parties.

Artificial Christmas Trees

Prelit artificial christmas trees - choose from a large selection of premium PVC and PE christmas trees prestrung with christmas lights. From 2' walkway trees to 50' commercial christmas trees!

Artificial Christmas Wreaths

Large selection of unlit and prelit artificial Christmas wreaths are available. Beautiful predecorated wreaths are perfect for your front door or above your mantel.

Convenient prelit christmas garland and swags. Choose from a wide selection of prelit and unlit garland to decorate your stairs, mantel and columns.

Add a tropical dimension to your patio, deck or around your pool with a Lighted Palm Tree . Choose from LED coconut palm trees or best selling rope lighted palm trees to create fun summer party themes.

Hang popular outdoor patio string lights and illuminate decks, dining areas, tents and patios. Perfect for adding an air of festivity to weddings, parties, and special occasions.

Rope light offers brighter colors, wider selection, and more versatility. Shop our extensive selection of flexible lighting for interior decorating, landscape lighting and holidays.

*Shipping outside the continental 48 United States and over-sized items requiring truck shipping will incur additional shipping fees. Excludes Giant Everest trees and commercial decorations. Discount is off product's original list price.

Christmas Lights, Etc
Wholesale and Retail Christmas Lights and Trees - Wholesale & Commercial Sales

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66 Cupcakes That Will Make You Feel Like Ina Garten

If you thought you were addicted to cupcakes before, just WAIT.

Find out how to make these inspired cupcake recipes from scratch&mdashit's easier than you think!

Want more next-level sweets? Try these desserts hiding a surprise inside.

Stuffing cookie dough into cupcakes might just be the best thing we've ever done.

Sometimes, you just want something simple.

The cinnamon cream cheese frosting is to die for.

Pretending we went to Hogwarts.

Who said s'mores season ends when the summer ends?

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Cupcakes should always be made with champagne.

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All cupcakes should be boozy.

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The most decadent cupcakes for hazelnut lovers.

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You'll cry these are so cute.

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These cupcakes will take you there.

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Don't forget to pin for later!

Now you don't have to choose between your two favorite desserts.

Cupcakes the French would approve of.

As sweet as sweet potato pie.

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Sweet strawberry and tart lemon are seriously perfect together.

Your inner child called and specifically asked for you to make these immediately.


How to Clean Pine Cones

The secret of successful pine cone art is the appropriate preparation. As all of them come from nature, they can often be dirty, full of bugs, and not so rarely wet. In other words, you need to choose the right tips to clean pine cones for crafts and to disinfect them properly.

There are a few approaches to the issue, including simple such as sinking them in warm water. On the other hand, you can always use traditional materials like white vinegar or bleach. Let’s see how to do that!

1. Dry approach

If you don’t use pine cone ornaments for setting the table or indoor decoration, it is enough to pick out a dry approach among all tips to clean the pine cones for crafts. Basically, you don’t need to disinfect these pieces thoroughly when you use them for outdoor decorations.

In this particular case, your goal is to use a simple method, which is not time-consuming. Take some soft medium or small brush and try to brush out the entire dirt inside of every pine cone you want to use. When all of them are clean, you can apply glue and desired colour spray much more comfortable.

2. Warm water

Since pine cones grow on a tree and have sap, they are usually quite sticky. Unfortunately, it is like glue for dirt and dust, and you can’t remove it with a brush. One of the best ways to solve the problem is to sink your pine cones into the warm water.

Firstly, you should remove the larger particles by hand or soft brush. Afterward, fill in the sink or a larger pot with warm water and dissolve a little dish soap or antibacterial soap into it. Keep pine cones submerged in water at least 20 to 30 minutes.

If you wash them in the sink, tub, or the washbasin, you should make sure to use a drain stop to pick up any leftovers. After rinsing them, you should check every piece in detail. If they are still sticky, it is necessary to repeat the action by adding different soap products.

In the end, wash out the soap from each pine cone thoroughly and let them dry. The simplest way is to put them on the flat surface to dry naturally for 2 to 3 days. If you are short on time, there is an option to bake them in the oven.

3. Warm water and white vinegar

One of the best tips to clean pine cones for crafts is to sink them into the solution of one cup of water and a half cup of white vinegar. Take care that the solution covers the pine cones entirely.

After sinking your pine cones into the water-vinegar solution for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse them properly. Then, leave them to dry naturally for a couple of days.

4. Baking

After removing the dirt, moisture, sap, and bugs from pine cones by brushing or washing, you can prepare them for baking. Turn the oven to 200 F (93 C) for at least 10 to 15 minutes before putting pine cones into it.

Don’t forget to use the baking paper to cover the tray, since the sap will melt and become sticky under high temperatures.

Bake all pine cones for approximately an hour or a little longer if necessary. Take them out from time to time to check if they are opened. If not, you should leave them up to 20 minutes more, but keep an eye on them since the stem can make a lot of smoke.

When you finish the baking process, leave all pine cones to cool off wholly. Only now they are ready for use in your creative process.

5. Paint

Paint style is a way to kill two flies in one move. I prefer this particular method among all tips to clean pine cones for crafts you can use. Keep in mind that this style demands a bit of additional craftsmanship.

It is crucial to brush off the dirt before you start painting. Then, make sure to protect the working area with newspapers or old clothes. Also, don’t forget to protect yourself. Put on the protective gloves and open the window to avoid possibly harmful paint fumes. Then, it is time for the best part!

Pick the right sort of paint and dip the cleaned pine cones into it. Please leave them in colour for a few seconds and take them out carefully. As soon as the paint drain, gently lay each pine cone to the flat surface to dry.

It will be enough to dry them for a couple of hours, but it will primarily depend on the type of paint. Put your pine cones in place with excellent airflow, but without dust, if possible. The best part of all is that you will have all pine cones painted and disinfected at the same time after the drying process is over.


1. The word Christmas is from Old English and is a contraction of the words Christ's Mass.

2. The first reference to Christmas trees found in print appeared in Germany in 1531 and Christmas tree lights first bgean to be mass produced in 1890.

3. The song "Jingle Bells" was originally written as a song for Thanksgiving but it became one of the most popular Christmas songs.

4. Xmas is not a short form of Christmas with the intent of removing "Christ" from Christmas. On the contrary, in Greek 'X' means Christ, which is where Xmas comes from.

5. The choice of December 25 as Christmas day was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD. This date was chosen because it coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the beginning of lengthening days. The intention was to replace the pagan celebration with a Christian one.

Free Christmas printables for kids are a wonderful way for kids to embrace the holiday season and all the fun and joy that Christmas brings.

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