How to Put Away Your Christmas Tree If It Came in a Box

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Taking down the Christmas tree can be a real bummer. There’s that sudden void in the living room that wasn’t there before. Your hopes that you’ll find one more present will be unmercifully dashed. And of course, there’s the dilemma of packing that beast up for storage.

We may not be able to do much about the first two, but we can help you with that last one.

Back in the box?

FrugalGinger.com

Fancy tree cases are either expensive or hard to size up to your exact tree, so putting your tree back in its original box may seem the most logical way to go—until you try it. You could probably sing the entire Twelve Days of Christmas song before you even come close because the reality is that your tree only fit in that box in the first place because a machine specifically designed to pack it put it in there. Humans may be a lot of things, but we are no match for tree-boxing robots.

If you are determined to pack your tree in its original box, go for it. What we’re going to do is talk about how to pack up your artificial tree if you don’t have (or don’t want to fight with) your tree’s factory box. 

Hold the tree super tight.

Once you’ve taken everything off the tree and taken it apart (some fake trees come in separate sections), give each extended piece a big gentle bear hug to get those branches compacted. Do take care to avoid putting undue pressure on the points where the branches connect to the tree stem. Otherwise, common sense will say how tight you can hug your tree.

This is all you need to get the branches to start pointing downward (sometimes upward, depending on your tree). Naturally, the branches will loosen up some when you let go, so consider tying them up tight again with some basic string. And since we’re tying up tree branches, not our shoes, it’s a good idea to make a slipknot, not a bow. (Here’s how to do that.) Or simply tie a loop in one end of the string, bring the other end through the loop (don’t forget to wrap the string around the tree) and pull it tight. Either method lends much more mechanical weight to your string than a shoelace bow.

Protip: You can try a rubber band if you’ve got some big enough, but don’t overdo it. They can deform the shape of your tree that way! Plus, they’re just hard to get off a year later.

Think outside the original box.

Now instead of wrestling our tree back into its original box, what can we use to pack it up?

One option is a mattress bag, durable and likely plenty big. Another is a wardrobe box, which is obviously sturdier than a mattress bag and may end up offering you plenty of extra space to pack away much, if not all of your Christmas decorations. Your tree and all the trimmings in one sturdy box—how cool and convenient is that?

If you don’t need a box quite that big (they usually run from 46 to 60 inches tall), see if your tree will fit into the kind of extra-large boxes movers use, which are around 18” x 24” x 24”. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowe’s, most self-storage facilities or from your local moving company (who will probably have those wardrobe cartons available as well). Home Depot also has a wardrobe box measuring 24” x 24” x 34”. What size you get depends on how big your tree is— and how good a slipknot you can tie!

One more and somewhat more expensive option is getting a bag designed specifically for packing artificial trees. Check Lowe’sHome Depot, or the fancy-schmancy bags at Tree Classics.

More durable and flexible than cardboard, they can come with various features like interior tie-downs, wheels and bases to allow you to store your tree upright.

Keep it safe until next Christmas.

However you pack up your tree, you’ll want to keep it away from moisture, dust, heat and critters for the next eleven months. Seal it up good and put it in a cool dry place. (Especially those frosted trees.) Lay it down if at all possible. 

Then when you’re all done, make sure you go fill up that void in the living room!

This Is How Easy It Is to Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas

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We love all of the amazing smells associated with this time of year … cookies in the oven, peppermint hot cocoa and fresh pine from a new Christmas tree. But because we’re holiday obsessed, we like to take things one step further. Yes, we have our own recipe for a potpourri to make your entire house smell like the holidays, and it works extremely well.

Plus, it’s a cinch.

Now we know what you’re thinking. Potpourri? Isn’t that the dried up stuff in my Grandma’s bathroom? Fear not, potpourri has made a comeback. And the potpourri we’re talking about is a mixture of fresh ingredients and spices that are warmed on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. Heating things up makes the concoction that much more fragrant, so it can fill your house with heavenly aromas!

Stovetop potpourri ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 6 cinnamon sticks (break them in half)
  • 1 T. cloves
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and simmer over low for as long as you want. If the water gets low, add more and toss in some more ingredients. There’s no exact science to it, so add more of anything that you like. Personally, we love adding a few extra cinnamon sticks to really let that smell permeate throughout our homes.

That’s honestly it!

Enjoy the holiday smells all day long.

If you don’t want to leave your stove on all day long, we highly suggest using a slow cooker! Just place all of the ingredients in the pot and put it on low for a couple of hours.

We actually did this when we put our Christmas decorations up this year. With Christmas tunes blaring, and this heavenly concoction in the slow cooker, our day of decorating was that much more enjoyable.

But it doesn’t just smell amazing, this concoction is also a feast for the eyes. The cranberries add such a beautiful pop of color, along with the orange slices.

If you’re hosting any holiday parties this year, we suggest you get this potpourri going a few hours before the party begins. When guests enter they’ll be greeted with the amazing aroma of the season. If that doesn’t get you the title of “hostess with the mostess”, we don’t know what will!

Cheers to a magical and fragrant holiday season!

9 Awesome Gifts That Give Your Money to Charity

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The craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are officially behind us and we must admit, we scored some awesome deals! But it’s really easy to get swept up in to the “buy, buy, buy” mentality of the holiday season, especially when sales are constantly in your face.

So today, while we’re still going to talk about buying gifts, we’re highlighting gifts that give back in some way or another. Every one of these gits are not only great in their own right, but they are tied to a worthy charity. That way you can feel much better about your holiday shopping. Here are nine of our favorite gifts that give back this holiday season!

Gifts for Him

LSTN Earbuds

Both of our husbands can’t workout without their earbuds providing the motivation. With that in mind, we love the idea of upgrading their headphones to these noise isolating ones from LSTN. Not only are they made with real wood (say what?!), but proceeds help provide hearing aids to people in need.

Bombas Socks

When you’re a kid, getting socks wasn’t the most exciting gift in the world. But now as adults, our husbands and brothers are always asking for cool socks! We love the variety of colors and styles from Bombas, but their mission is even better. Because socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in homeless shelters, for every pair of socks purchased, a pair of socks is donated to the homeless community.

Warby Parker Glasses

Bridget swears by her Warby Parker eyeglasses because they’re budget-friendly and totally on trend. Not only can you gift some upgraded frames to any guy on your list, but you can give the gift of sight through their “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program, which helps those in need around the world.

Gifts for Her

Mon Amie Watches

We each have one of these watches! They’re on trend and are perfect for everyday wear. And while we love the look, we are even more in love with their positive impact. You can choose from five watch styles, with each one directly benefits a unique cause. From clean water, to school supplies from students, you can choose the cause that is nearest and dearest to you when purchasing one of these watches.

TOMS Shoes

If you’ve heard of TOMS, you may already be familiar with the mission behind this progressive shoe comapny. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair of shoes goes to a person in need. That 1:1 ratio is huge! Even more, in the past few years this brand has really stepped up their game with on-trend styles. We’re both big fans of the TOMS wedge booties and think that any lady in your life would be happy to find these under the tree this year.

Charity Water Candle

You can never have enough candles! We absolutely adore gifting this fragrant home item to many people on our lists. This candle is extra special because all profits go toward providing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Plus, the scent is “crisp, clean white”, which would work in pretty much any household. Everyone loves this gorgeous gift that gives back.

Gifts for Kids

St. Jude Xylophone

How cute is this musically talented monkey? It’s colorful, makes noise, and helps kids with their hand-eye coordination. Win, win, win! This xylophone would be a special gift for any kid in your life, plus all profits benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Colored Organics Clothing

We recently stumbled upon the online store Colored Organics and are smitten with their gorgeous clothing for babies and kids. All of their clothing is made in a safe work environment, without child labor, and with fare wages for employees. But even better, up to 50% of their profits will go toward building orphanages for abandoned children in India.

State Give Back Pack

It’s official, if we were still in school we would totally rock one of these backpacks! With backpacks and lunch boxes in tons of cool colors and patterns (and even some Star Wars backpacks), you can’t go wrong gifting one of these to a child on your shopping list. Bonus points … for each sale, the company delivers a backpack stocked with school supplies to a student in need.


With these nine gift ideas, you can cross those final names off of your holiday shopping list knowing that your buys are helping more than just the lucky gift recipient have a joyful season.

Know a New Homeowner? This Is What to Get Them for the Holidays

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Spending the first year in a new home is a special time for new homeowners. Although this year may have been a bit stressful packing, moving, unpacking and getting settled, it’s this first holiday season that will be filled with extra magic and “first-time” memories.

To help keep this time extra special, we have rounded up 12 gift ideas for the new homeowners in our lives. But heck everyone deserves an extra special holiday so these gift ideas, with price points from $8 through $180, are the perfect addition under the tree for just about anyone on your shopping list this year!

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The 5 Hippest DIY Displays for your Holiday Cards

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Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we’re guessing your holiday cards are beginning to roll in. Isn’t receiving snail mail just the best? There’s just something magical about opening up your mailbox to find personalized letters just for you.

But don’t let it be one and done: keep that magical feeling going by displaying your cards in unique ways around your home. If you’re looking for a new way to showcase all of your holiday cards, then today’s post is just for you!

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Look Who’s Coming to Dinner: HireAHelper Invites Over 20 Syrian Refugees for Thanksgiving

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On one level, Thanksgiving can be interpreted as a “portmanteau”. That is, the combination of two words and both of their meanings to create something new; Think “Netflix”, “cheeseburgers”, or even a Puggle.

Just giving thanks? Sure. But for best results, combine both meanings to create something functionally different.

With this in mind, the offices of HireAHelper planned one unforgettable night where they gave to others in need while practicing profound gratefulness for all their company. And in doing so, they created something far more meaningful than just a dinner.

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The Holidays Are Seriously Less Than a Month Away, so Check out These Holiday Cards

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We’re still all about that snail mail (as evidenced by this post and this one.) We think it’s the pitch-perfect thing to do for all your favorite people. And guess what? It’s doubly impactful if you’ve moved recently because what better way to get your new address into the hands of everyone you know?

Last year we shared some of our favorite holiday cards. This year the list is back with the latest and greatest options available online, and boy are there some adorable ones! Almost makes us wish we moved this year… let’s check them out!

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6 Things to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

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Halloween has come and gone, but we’re guessing there may still be some Halloween candy lingering in your household. Your child may have brought back way too many goodies from their trick-or-treating run, or perhaps you simply overbought and weren’t able to fill as many trick-or-treaters’ bags as you anticipated. Either way … you’re probably stuck with a lot of leftover Halloween Candy.

Instead of indulging on stale candy for the next year, we suggest trying one of these six options to help make the most of your sweet stash!

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New Home Holiday Cards!

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New home holiday cardsSending out holiday cards to your family & friends can be a heck of a lot of work. But there’s just something about sending & receiving snail mail that makes the holidays a little brighter.

If you’ve moved in the past year, then we urge you to send out some holiday cards this year. This is a wonderful opportunity to give the people you love your new address, and let them know that you bought a new pad. Plus you’re knocking 2 things off that list…sending new home announcements & sending a holiday card! That’s snail mail efficiency at its finest.

Yes, finding the perfect card and them mailing out dozens is a time-consuming task. But we’re here to help make this holiday to-do a little easier. We researched and found some of the best holiday cards that you can send from your new home. Take a look at some of these good lookin’ options… (more…)

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