Archive for December, 2014

Happy New Years!

December 29, 2014

happy new yearSo we are going to go off topic for this weeks blog. No design secrets. No benefits posts. Not even a how to on anything. Shocking, right?

Instead, we are going to talk about New Years and the traditions it carries with it.

Just as the parties the holidays begin to dwindle, preparations are started for the celebration of New Year. It is a time when even the least-likely party-goer will ready himself for a night of booze, singing, and food. This list looks at the most common and interesting traditions of New Year from around the world. Enjoy, heck even partake!!

First-footing is an ancient European New Year’s custom that continues into the present in many areas. The first person to enter a home after midnight on the first day of the year should be a male, preferably with dark hair. Blondes may have been associated with Vikings – visitors who never brought good luck. The first-footer should carry a gift, such as a coin for prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavor, or whiskey to represent good cheer. The first-footer can be a resident of the house, but must not be inside during the hour leading up to midnight. No fair stepping outside and coming back in again!

There is an Irish tradition of predicting the political future of the country by checking which way the wind blows at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If the wind is from the west, there is a chance that good fortune will reign that year. If the wind is from the east, however, the British will prevail. Mistletoe was handed out to ward off bad luck, and single women put a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of catching a dream about their future husbands. Another tradition peculiar to Ireland is pounding on the doors and windows of the house with bread. This practice was to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the upcoming year.

Madeira, a Portugese island, holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most lavish New Year’s party. In 2007, 8,000 fireworks per minute made up the display in Funchal, the capital city, for a total of 600,000 fireworks. Visitors from around the world fill the tiny harbor, where the dazzle is reflected. In 2009, the government is spending 12,000,000 Euros to ensure the most spectacular celebration anywhere in the world. Other famous fireworks displays take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney harbor, and, of course, New York City, were visitors watch the descent of the giant six-foot crystal ball marking the last moments of the old year.

For African Americans, New Year’s Day has a special significance, and is often called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves from bondage, was read in Boston. Today, many African-American families hold “watch services” on January 1. Traditional foods include black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham hocks, and macaroni and cheese. The uniquely African-American celebration, Kwanzaa, continues over seven days starting December 26, so the New Year’s celebration is often part of Kwanzaa’s way of reconnecting people with their African roots. Kwanzaa began in the United States in the 1960s, and is not celebrated in Africa.

Here’s the biggest kicker to all of this and the bonus at the end of the page if you ask me. Ever wonder what the words actually were to “Auld Lang Syne”? It has been called the most familiar song to which nobody knows the words. But this year, you will!

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.
We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.
So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.

www.insideplants.net

The Truth About Artificial Trees

December 29, 2014

HDS Main 10' Tree 2If you have ever used a real holiday tree, you know just how annoying the cleanup can be. Pine needles and sap get everywhere. This is one of the biggest arguments of artificial tree advocates; there are no annoying pine needles or sap to clean up and you don’t have to water them!

While it usually works out that the initial purchase of a artificial tree is more expensive than that of a real tree, artificial trees can be used for several years , while real trees cannot. This makes using artificial trees more cost effective and environmentally friendly than real trees.

The problem with real holiday trees is that they tend to dry out, which can be a fire hazard. Wrapping electric lights around a dried out tree is a risk you just don’t want to take when it comes to the safety of your family and home. Artificial trees are designed with fire-resistant materials, meaning that the risk of a fire is exponentially decreased.  www.insideplants.net

Spread Holiday Cheer by Decorating Your Business for The Holidays

December 16, 2014

DSCF0547Last week we talked about why holiday decorations are right for your business from an employee standpoint. Here are a few that will effect your bottom line on a more direct level.

No business wants to be that one dark and dreary building set against the brightly lit businesses all around them. Get involved with the community by being a part a larger holiday community display. As you work with the other businesses around you, you may find that several businesses working together can have a huge impact on making your community feel integrated and festive.

Smaller businesses may also struggle with how to get customers to notice and remember where they are located and what services they provide or products they sell. Beautiful and memorable holiday decorating can solve this problem entirely. Brightly shining lights, a glittering festive tree, or other types of holiday or winter decorations can make a business stand out from the rest. The result is changing from a faceless storefront that blends in with the crowd to a business that customers notice and remember throughout the year.

While many benefits can be realized by decorating your business for the holidays, it is important that your display says the right things about your company. A poorly designed or executed holiday display can actually end up doing more harm than good. Instead of drawing in customers and spreading holiday cheer, a display that looks tired or unprofessional can make the wrong kind of statement. Customers may come to the conclusion that you don’t care about quality, are not committed to excellence, or are struggling financially.

Send the message that you care about your company, your employees, and your customers by hiring a professional company to install your holiday display. When done right, a business that is beautiful during the holiday season may enjoy the additional benefits of greater visibility and improved reputation all year round.  www.insideplants.net

Spread Holiday Cheer by Decorating Your Business for The Holidays

December 9, 2014

CENTERLAKE 1In 2012, the average America family spent over $850 on gifts for the holidays. This is up from the $646 spent on average on holiday gifts in 2011. Obviously, the holiday season is still big business. While major retailers may enjoy much of this holiday spending, just about any size or type of business can profit from a busy and lucrative holiday season. One way to attract customers to your business or just spread holiday cheer is by decorating your business with a well-designed, well-lit holiday display . By doing so, you may find that professional commercial holiday displays can not only help provide benefits during the holiday season but they can also jumpstart a very happy, and prosperous, new year.

What if you are a business that does not serve the retail customer? Can you just forget about the trouble of decorating for the holidays this year? Not if you don’t want to come off as a Scrooge to your employees. Many employees enjoy a more relaxed, festive feel during the holiday season. As a result, improved employee morale may translate into happier employees that feel valued, are more dedicated to their employers, and provide greater productivity. All of these benefits can start with a smart holiday display on the exterior of a business that welcomes employees in, makes them feel like their company is invested in their happiness, and inspires them to greater goodwill and holiday spirit.

Look for more benefits of decorating next week in our blog and you can always call us to ask. We’d be happy to answer all your questions and give you a free holiday design idea that works for your needs and stays within that holiday budget.  www.insideplants.net

Point of a Poinsettia

December 3, 2014

Poinsettias (2)

  1. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are native to Mexico and Central America. They are tropical perennial plants and grow as tall as 12’ tall in their native environment.
  2. They were prized by Aztec kings for their blood purity symbolism and used in winter celebrations. The sap (latex) was used to alleviate pain and treat skin & hair problems.
  3. Poinsettias were introduced to the U.S. by Joel Poinsett, the first Ambassador to Mexico.
  4. The brilliant red flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts. We can now get poinsettia cultivars with white, cream, pink, peach & variegated bracts.
  5. Poinsettias are not poisonous. Don’t eat them though. They can cause stomach upset.
  6. Poinsettias became associated with Christmas in Mexico in the 1600s.
  7. Place poinsettias near a sunny window away from cool drafts and toasty heaters. They prefer humid air and temperatures from 60F to 75F.
  8. Water them when their soil surface feels dry. They should be kept moist not soggy.
  9. They will freeze outside. If you place them outside in a sunny spot in the daytime please bring them in overnight.
  10. If you don’t want to throw away your poinsettias at the end of the season you can find plant care and re-blooming instructions online at websites like About.com. The process is meticulous and involved. Most people give up or forget about the plants throughout the year. Your next choice would be to compost them.

Poinsettias3www.insideplants.net


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