Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The great tree debate: real or faux?

Hello there! Thanks so much for the suggestions to get rid of this cold faster! I've been downing Vitamin C and trying the Zicam stuff. It's not completely gone but close. I was trying to get rid of it fast because I'm heading out to Georgia today to tour the HGTV Dream Home...and I'm SO stinking excited! I can't wait to share photos with you soon! 

Because I've put up a few trees over the past few days, they're on my brain. Up till about six years ago we always had a real tree as our main one. For literally all of my life! Then one year the cats knocked over the tree...twice. And soon after that we got hardwood floors. I didn't want to chance them getting wet so we got a huge faux tree from Lowe's that year. 

Sometimes I'll still get a smaller, real tree for another room, but not as often as I'd like. This year I was determined to go back to a real one for our main tree and hubby was on board. But I soon realized with all of the traveling we've had and have coming up, it just wasn't a good idea. That thing would be crispy within days. 

Since I consider myself an expert on both real and faux, I thought I'd share the good and bad about both, in case you're considering one or the other this year. First up...the real beauties! 

Man, I LOVE a real tree. I have many friends that make picking out their tree (and cutting it down) a family tradition. We've never done that but I think it's a fun idea. We always went BIG for our real trees so we went to a local nursery to get them:
pros and cons to real and fake trees

PROS for a real tree:

The scent! It's amazing. (I've been using these Scentsicle things the past few years on our fake trees and they do help add some of the pine scent.) But nothing beats the real thing! 

The natural shape is what I miss -- it's a natural look that is hard to replicate in a fake tree. I've seen some that are hard to tell but they are usually expensive. 😊 Real trees are truly beautiful. 

CONS for a real tree: 

The MESS. It's a mess when it's fresh and it's a huge mess when it's not. You will vacuum up needles all. day. long. the day you take it out -- no matter how much you water it. It will only last so long. There are additives you can add to the water (and always get a fresh cut on your tree) that help. 

You can only have it up for a certain time. For those of us who like to decorate early (well, I always say I'm going to and don't), or who like to keep it up till past the new year, real won't work as well. It will not last that long (and not become a fire hazard). 

You have to string the lights every year. I think the key to a beautiful tree is a ton of lights...so that took me forever. Easily a couple hours to get them all on there. 

You MUST water it well and keep up with it. If you let it go dry you're kind of screwed. It won't take up much water after that and will start dying a quick death. 

The cost. Even if you don't go big like we always did, it's an added cost every year. And you definitely need to invest in a good stand -- especially if you have cats. I know this. 

These outweigh the pros for us now, hence our move to fake. I've always had one or two smaller fake trees in the house over the years, but as I said, we've moved to all of them. 

Our big one is 12 FEET tall and it is a beast. It's hard to even get it all in a photo: 
12 foot fake tree

My husband is not picky about decor in our home but the tree...the tree is his thing. He LOVES a ginormous tree at Christmas. So I go with it...even though I would not have gone this tall. I love that he loves it. 

PROS to a fake tree: 

The lights are on it! I mean, if you buy it that way. And you should. :) I do have a couple trees that don't have lights on them and I string them when I put them up and keep the lights on when I store them. It helps cut down time tremendously!

Minimal mess. You will still get some needles on the floor when you put it up, but it's nothing compared to a real tree. You'll also see some needles on the floor when your cats scale to the top of it every. single. day. 

tree with photos

It's sturdier. At least in our opinion. If you want a TALL tree I recommend going fake. The taller your real tree, the harder it is to keep up. I know this as well. ;) 

You can have a bunch and there's no upkeep after you get them up -- I can't imagine trying to keep up with a few real trees. 

There are also so many styles to pick from -- we have a flocked tree in our basement that I LOVE: 
flocked tree

It was the first one I put up this year -- it's beautiful! I've seen gorgeous real flocked trees but they are a lot more expensive. 

dollar store ornaments

CONS to a fake tree: 

You have to fluff! You'll need to spread the branches apart to make the tree full after being in storage. This takes time, but not nearly as much time as putting on lights. 

You'll need a place to store them. Thankfully we've added shelving to our garage to hold all of ours but it's definitely something to consider. And I feel like we risk our lives trying to hoist the big one up  into it's storage, so we may be moving where we keep it. 
tall fake tree

And finally...no pine scent. :( This one is hard to get used to when you've had real for so long. But I add the pine scented jobbies to the tree and burn pine candles and it helps.

What do you think? Do you go faux or real at Christmas? Or both? My heart tugs for a real one every year...I always want to do it but the convenience of a fake one usually wins out. 

Someday...we'll have a completely stress and travel free holiday season and I'll do it then! Ha! Never gonna happen. :) 

Is there anything, good or bad, that I left out for either one? Bottom line is both are beautiful and you can't go wrong for what your family loves!

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Monday, November 28, 2016

My favorite Christmas spot in the kitchen!

Hey all! I hope you all enjoyed our favorite things round up last week! I found so many new cute items for my Christmas list! 

How was your Thanksgiving week? We spent most of it in Disney World and had a blast! Disney has such a special place in our hearts -- we really disconnect and just focus on having fun as a family. It makes me so sad to leave, but then I'm always happy to get home too! 😊

Between running through Disney nonstop, flights, and now trying to get all of our Christmas decor up in just a few days, I'm exhausted and sick. EVERY year I say I'm going to start decorating earlier and every year...I don't. I don't know when I'll finally do it -- I'm already swearing it will be next year, ha!! The first room I finished this time was our kitchen, and this spot was a little self serving because I needed the hot liquid to sooth my throat. ;) 

I think this is one of the cutest Christmas vignettes in our house so I thought I would show you how easy it was to put together -- because everyone needs a hot chocolate station this time of year! 

I added a bigger tray to the island this year so it holds everything perfectly. I always add a couple festive mugs and then put the packets of hot chocoloate out in a bowl for easy access: 
hot cocoa station

I'm not a big peppermint fan, unless it's during the holidays. I absolutely LOVE it in hot chocolate!

Usually I keep the peppermint Hershey kisses handy and drop one in, but then I found these peppermint sticks at HomeGoods instead:
hot chocolate station ideas

How cute are those? Perfect! Of course you need the tiny marshmallows! And I know, I know. Nobody drinks hot chocolate with a straw, but they are cute, right? We do use them for margaritas and there are a few of those made this time of year as well. 😉

I found this hot cocoa sign at Hobby Lobby and it looks pretty darn cute in the kitchen as well: 
hot cocoa sign

It took me less than ten minutes to pull it all together! It's my favorite spot in the kitchen this time of year! I go through my stash and find Christmas jars and containers for everything, so it doesn't cost me much. 

By the way...the hot chocolate station is such a fun and easy gift too. You can see how I pulled that together last year here

Because we really do drink a lot of it right now, this tray is as functional as it is cute! That's my favorite part: 
hot chocolate station in tray

I'm really trying to simplify my decor this year. A friend and I were laughing last night at how we say that EVERY year but this time I mean it! I love how the hot cocoa station feels so festive but doesn't take a lot of time or effort:
Hot cocoa area in kitchen

It's also nice that this doesn't need to take up much space in your kitchen! It would be a cute addition in a butler's pantry or on a buffet too! Have you added one of these to your home? 

Now...any tips for getting rid of a cold FAST? I'm heading out of town again in a few days and flying with a cold is pure torture. I'll take any tips you can offer!