Tag Archives: christmas

Give That Old Christmas Tree New Life This Year

Now that Christmas is over and we’re feeling the let down of gifts given, visitors come and gone and turkeys carved, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with that beautifully smelling tree in your living room. While most of us will be sending the tree to a recycling center to be mulched, here are some more fun, do-it-yourself options for disposing of the tree.

Recycle It Yourself. Cut the branches and trunk into smaller portions and put them in a wood chipper (or borrow a neighbors). Use the mulch for increasing the health of your soil in flower beds, around shrubbery or in your garden. Additionally, you can use the wood for kindling in your outdoor fire pit. Average sized trees can provide up to 13 pounds of firewood. Remember, do not burn evergreens inside because they are highly flammable and full of sap.

Make a Bird Sanctuary. Attract the local wildlife by building a Christmas tree-sized bird feeder. Decorate it with homemade popcorn garland, orange slices and pinecones or stale bread smothered in peanut butter and birdseed. Secure the tree to a support with wire or twine to keep it from blowing over and use stakes in the ground for extra stability. The birds will come for the food and stay for the refuge in the branches.

Perfume Your Home. Allow the needles to dry out and brush them off the branches. Separate them into small, decorative bowls or cups and mix them with cinnamon sticks, cloves and dried flowers or fruit. The result will be a creative, eco-friendly and aromatic potpourri that will leave your home smelling of the holidays even after the tree is gone.

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Decorate for the Family and the Planet

As we decorate for Christmas this year, we are reminded of the joy of togetherness, the fond memories of Christmases past and the love we feel for all the friends, family and opportunities in our lives. However, we can also get carried away with the stress of hunting for presents in the overcrowded malls, scheduling and attending dinners, parties and other events and making sure the house properly reflects all of our Christmas spirit. Here are some ideas for Christmas decorating that can double as quality family time and your karma points for saving waste from the landfills.

Got old cardboard boxes laying around from a recent move or from shipping Christmas presents? Convert this thick paper into ornaments using a stencil, sharp scissors and some creativity. Cut out stars, snowmen, reindeer or even Santa shapes and decorate them with scaprs of paper, ribbon, glitter and paint. Your tree will be most creative and eco-friendly on the block! Additionally, you can make your own ornaments with odds and ends from around the house. Wrap a tennis ball with colored twine for an original family ornament or sring together old spools of thread to create a hanging Christmas tree shape. With a little imagination, there is really no end to the things you can convert into decorations.

Rather than buying the same old gift tags and place cards, cut up old greeting cards. Cut cards into small pieces and tape them to gifts as name tags. Use Hallmark’s sparkle and glitter over and over again rather than buying new tags every year. Additionally, you can use them as place cards for big family dinners. No need to throw all last year’s Christmas cards away or leave them collecting dust in the garage – give them new life this year.

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What to Do with Your Chirstmas Tree

Decorations, guests, presents, eggnog and December 25th have all come and gone and now we are just left with the holiday memories, leftovers and general debris. We know to save our bows and wrapping paper for next year, to keep boxes and packaging for future presents and to reuse what we can for other creative projects. If you have an artificial tree, you’re beginning to think of taking off the tinsel and ornaments and packing it safely away for next year. But if you bought a tree from the lot, you may be a little lost as to what to do with it.

Placing your tree on the side of the road and crossing your fingers is not the best way to go. This year earth 911 has put together the most comprehensive list to date of local recycling centers, reaching out to every city in America with a population of over 30,000. Remember, that just because someone hauls your Christmas tree away, does NOT mean it has been properly recycled; it may still end up in a landfill.

Many cities have curb-side pick-up options, but most have size and condition requirements (all trees must be void of lights, ornaments, tinsel, etc). In other cases, local volunteer organizations, such as the boy scouts, will pick up trees for a small donation. If all else fails, you can cut up the tree yourself and place It in your organic waste trash bin.

Other ideas on how to keep your tree out of a landfill include placing it in your backyard as a bird feeder/refuge, using small branches in your fish tank or aquarium as fish habitats and feeding areas or chipping it yourself and turning it into mulch for your garden.

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Happy Holidays!

To all our wonderful readers, customers and followers,
All of us here at Backyard X-Scapes would like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas weekend. We hope that your holidays will be filled with the love and joy that this magical season is all about. Whether you are making a big trip or just staying at home, be safe this season.  Remember that no matter what, the most important things about Christmas are telling those that are special to you that you love them and taking time to appreciate all the blessings in your life.
As always, we would like you to remember the environment during your holiday season and if your situation permits, do something nice not just for your family and friends, but for the planet we all share as well.
Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!!


Cheers,
The Backyard X-Scapes Team

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5 “Green” Gift Ideas

Christmas is this weekend and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t bought a thing. At Backyard X-Scapes we are always looking for ways to help our customers “go green” without breaking the bank or pushing too far outside the box. We believe that Christmas gift-giving can be meaningful, generous and eco-friendly. The following are 5 of our favorite ideas for green gift-giving.


iTunes or Amazon.com Gift Cards – While it goes without saying that digital gifts cut down on waste by eliminating packaging and carbon emissions by eliminating production and shipping, they are also in high demand in today’s tech savvy society. We all know that both iTunes and Amazon offer gift cards for downloading music, but they can also be used for video streaming. Instead of buying DVDs as gifts, give your loved ones the gift of waste-free entertainment; they can stream almost any movie as well as entire television series.

Homemade Gift Coupons – Give the special person in your life many gifts in one without costing you a dime.  Coupons for massages, breakfast in bed and babysitting are all great options that only require time and effort on your part. This gift is ultra-personal, won’t drain your checking account and doesn’t produce an ounce of waste, especially if you use recycled paper to craft each coupon.

Sony Ericsson GreenHeart Cell Phone – The techie in your life will love Sony’s new GreenHeart line of cell phones and accessories. These phones create 15% fewer carbon emissions than traditional phones by eliminating the paper manual (it is stored digitally within the phone), utilizing recycled plastic in the phone’s structure, employing an energy efficient display and waterborne paint. The packaging is also eco-conscious.

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Have Christmas in the Tropics Without Leaving Home

If you have yet to start decorating your home for Christmas; join the club. Whether your reasoning for getting a late start on the holidays this year stems from a complete lack of time or you have just been avoiding exerting the effort or dreading the inevitable start to January and the daunting task of UN-decorating, there are only a couple of weeks until the holiday and if you are going to decorate, it is now or never. However, if you have been avoiding holiday decorating because you can’t stand another year of nutcracker figurines and gingerbread houses, try something new in 2010. Here are some tips for creating a tropical-themed Christmas right in your own home.

The Tree: If you can’t get around the idea of a traditional pine tree in your home, jazz it up this year with a beach theme. Substitute your red and green lights for more yellows, oranges and blues. Then decorate with a tropical vacation in mind; cocktail umbrellas, seashells, plastic sea life, sea glass, paper pineapples and even mini bottles of rum make great ornaments. Use brightly colored ribbon or string to tie individual pieces on to the tree or create long loops using many pieces. Top off the tree with a dried starfish instead of a traditional star or angel.

Décor: Remember that when decorating for an island-style holiday that everything can be substituted. Santa needs a Hawaiian shirt and swim trunks and to be pulled in a canoe by dolphins rather than in a sleigh by reindeer. Wreathes are made of palm fronds instead of pine or fir branches. If you are really committed, you can substitute a palm tree for a pine tree and roast a pig instead of cooking a turkey.

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Happy Holidays from Backyard X-Scapes

Wow did time fly by!  It’s that time of year again to look back, give thanks and reflect on everything 2009 has brought us.  Our re-launched website, Inc5000 Award, and new products are just a few of the exciting things that have happened this year.  We’re hoping 2010 will be an even greater year.

With that Backyard X-Scapes would like to take this moment to wish you a warm and wonderful Holiday season and an amazing New Year in 2010.

Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to be a part of your projects, designs, decor and more.  We will continue to strive to bring you quality products and provide ultimate service to you in the New Year.

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Create a Holiday Table Centerpiece

Although eating and drinking are considered to cater to our sense of taste, it is undeniable that we eat first with our sense of smell and sense of sight.  How a dish smells and how the food is presented, greatly affects the eating experience.

For centuries now, people have used the experience of eating to bring people together, celebrate important events and join in happy festivities.  With the holiday season now here, we wanted to give you some no fuss, quick and easy tips on spicing up your table setting.

We always talk about how lighting is key to any home or garden design.  Candles have been used for centuries as a source of light and to accent tables.  By grouping candles together of different heights or colors, you can create a visual landscape across your table.

During the holidays, between wrapping presents, decorating the tree and your home, there is always excess material around.  Ribbons make wonderful accents to table settings by inducing a bit of decorative flare.  You can also tie ornaments to the ribbons and lay them along your table or around the candles.  These cute little ornaments with ribbons can also be used as party favors for your guests to take home as a sentimental holiday treat.

No matter how hard we try to efficiently utilize wrapping paper, it seems that there is always so many strips wasted, that are either too narrow or too short.  Grab a pretty vase, and with your excess wrapping paper, crumple them into small balls and fill the vase with them, to create a popcorn color effect.  Complete the vase with a ribbon around the neck, or mix in holiday ornaments for added dimension.

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Tropical Holiday Decorating Ideas

One of the greatest things about this time of year, that can also be stressful is the back to back holidays.  Right after Thanksgiving, in addition to tasty leftovers and an abundance of sales, comes the bittersweet task of planning for Christmas and New Years.  Prepping your home for the holidays doesn’t have to be an expensive, time consuming or brain wrenching project.  Here are some ideas on how to get the most out of your holiday decor and save money at the same time.

Bright Lights

White twinkle lights are a perfect way to dress up your home or garden accents for the holidays and the best part is that they can be re-used all year round.  Many gardens, restaurants and trendy neighborhoods use white lights to dress up trees and create a magical atmosphere.

To create your own backyard “candy cane lane”, line your thatch umbrella kit with lights to not only create a tropical holiday look but also light up a table setting or walkway.  White lights, unlike the colored ones, are versatile to use all year long.

Decorate Creatively

Instead of going the traditional route, merge classic iconic holiday items with a tropical twist.  Add Holly or Poinsettias to Tiki Statues to accent an area, or make a wreath out of Bamboo and Thatch for your front door.

Don’t want to clean up after the holidays are over?  The classic popcorn garland can bring the family together to make a yummy decorative treat.

If you don’t have a fireplace to hang stockings from and don’t want to put holes in the wall, line your wall with bamboo fencing and use hooks to hang decor and various items from it.  This way you can re-use the bamboo for both indoor and outdoor purposes.

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