• Red Wine Hot Chocolate Recipe (for the grown-ups!)

    Oct 10, 2016

    Touted as the “Ultimate Winter Beverage for 2016”, you can be the first of a very merry crowd when you try this lovely Red Wine Hot Chocolate recipe.

    Perfect for when you’ve tucked the kids in bed and it’s time for a very festive wind-down. Like a massive cuddle in a mug, this red wine hot chocolate is the perfect medley of wholesome Christmas vibes and Friday night relaxation, wrapped into one.

    red-wine-hot-chocolate

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    • 500ml milk (or soya)
    • 240ml red wine
    • 60g dark chocolate curls
    • Whipped cream (optional)

    Method

    1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the milk and chocolate until fully melted and thick (resist licking the spoon!)
    2. Pour in the best bit (the red wine) and mix on a simmer until combined.
    3. Pour out into mugs or glasses and top with whipped squirty cream or extra chocolate curls. Delicious!
  • White Hot Chocolate Recipe (for the kids!)

    Oct 10, 2016

     

    Nothing quite says Christmas like a steaming mug of hot cocoa and some snuggly slippers.

     

    Whilst we can’t supply snuggly slippers for you lovely lot, we do have something else up our sleeve – a white hot chocolate recipe, perfect for making with the kids on chilling winter nights!

     

    We love this twist on the traditional milk chocolate version, not only because white chocolate is super delicious, but also because even if it’s not snowing outside, you’ve got your White Christmas in a cup! Yum yum!

    white-hot-chocolate-recipe

    Ingredients (serves 2)

     

    • 150g white chocolate
    • 250ml almond milk
    • 250ml full-fat milk (or soya)
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • A squirt of whipped cream, a few tiny marshmallows, or colourful  sprinkles (for decoration)

     

    Method

    1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milks and chocolate until completely melted.
    2. On a low heat, whisk in the vanilla and cinnamon until fully combined.
    3. Pour into warm mugs (if you’re feeling festive) or into large glasses (if you’re feeling super sophisticated).
    4. Sprinkle your chosen decoration on top and sip up! (Be careful not to burn your mouth if it’s piping hot!)
  • Here's How To Have a Stress-Free Christmas 2016

    Jan 1, 2016

    Christmas already seems a long time ago, doesn’t it? We’re all back to work and the days of eating loads, drinking before lunchtime, watching too much TV and then eating some more seem like a distant memory.

    Some people are even glad of the fact that Christmas is gone for another year (yes, really!), but we’re not, and we think that now is the perfect time to be planning for 2016. With that in mind, here’s why you should be buying your Christmas tree and decorations right now so you can have a stress-free Xmas 2016.

    Get some great Christmas tree deals & offers

    Let’s start with the obvious one - saving money. By buying a Christmas tree and your decorations early, you can take advantage of the great deals and offers in the January sales.

    Related: Real vs Artificial Xmas Trees - Which will save you the most money?

    Christmas is a strain on the purse strings for many of us, so it makes sense to make the most of sales when they crop up, regardless of how far away Christmas actually is. You can then sit back smugly, safe in the knowledge that come the following Christmas, you’ve got your Xmas tree sorted.

    Just take a look at how much you could save in our Christmas tree sale.

    Keep that festive spirit going

    If you’re feeling a little glum about Christmas being so far away, then simply refuse to let it go and cling onto every last drop of festive cheer you can. Buy browsing and buying Christmas decorations now, you can live firmly in denial before the next step of the grieving process kicks in. Just be prepared from odd looks from the postman when you’re dressed in full Xmas getup when your new tree is delivered.

    Take away the hassle & stress for next year

    The buildup to Christmas can be pretty stressful, so it’s best to plan well in advance so you can focus your attention on enjoying yourself and eating everything in sight. This is a pretty important point for big businesses and organisations, such as hotels, that require a substantial amount of planning and actual volume of decorations.

    Related: The Guide to Buying an Artificial Christmas Tree for a Small Space

    You’ll no doubt have plenty of other responsibilities and festivities to organise, so don’t get caught out and risk what you want being out of stock.

    Because you’ve noticed your current Christmas tree is a bit shabby

    If your current Christmas tree is looking a bit past its best then throw it away. No messing. Don’t hope and pray that it’ll be OK in 11 months’ time; just do the sensible thing and sling it out. Or rather, see if you can recycle your artificial Christmas tree by contacting the council to see if they have any collections, or you could try upcycling it by turning branches into wreaths or garlands.

    If your tree is looking a bit grim, then something like the Green Princess pre-lit fir tree (shown below) will fill that Xmas tree-shaped void in your life perfectly.

    If your tree is still looking fabulous, however, then don't just ram it in the loft or it won't be long before it does look past its best. Popping it in a Christmas tree storage bag will keep it look pristine until next year.

    Are you missing that Christmas feeling? Grab yourself a new Xmas tree and keep that festive feeling going just a little bit longer.

  • Our top tips for beating the January blues

    Jan 1, 2016

    After the final chocolate has been eaten and the last bottle of wine has popped its cork, there is nothing but a sense of deflation as the cold, dull month of January rolls around.

    When the Christmas tree and decorations have been taken down and packed away, we’re left with with merely an expanding waistline and a ravished bank account. It’s not surprising that the January blues hit us hard.

    Whilst you may be feeling seemingly underwhelmed and sluggish, the new year is actually a great incentive to turn over a new leaf, make some lifestyle changes and perhaps aim for a new goal.

    Here at Christmas Tree World we have a few ideas to help you to shake the January blues.

    Eat well, be well…

    After a good few weeks of indulging in alcohol and festive food, it’s no surprise that we feel a bit grim and lethargic...perhaps that trusty old belt is no longer needed?

    It all starts with a break from heavy food and drink but forget gruelling weight loss fads; instead be realistic by working on eating a more balanced diet with treats in moderation.

    Get up and move…

    If joining a gym is too expensive, just getting up and walking in the fresh air everyday for at least half an hour will do the trick. Any movement is good movement to help get you back into shape and feeling more energised throughout the day.

    Catching those ZZZs…

    After one too many late nights and your daily routine out of the window, an easy way to start to get back to normal and feel better is to get a good night's rest. Re-establish your sleeping pattern and you’ll immediately feel more awake and ready for the day.

    Save money…

    After treating yourself and your loved ones over the festive period, purse strings probably need to be tightened. Set yourself a realistic amount to save per week and as you see your bank balance rising, you’ll soon feel a little more cheery.

    For those bargain hunters out there, you can get ahead of the game and take the pressure off next Christmas by checking out the amazing discounts in our Christmas tree sale, with plenty of other discounts available across the site, too.

    Plan something fun for the coming weeks…

    By planning something interesting, you will have something to look forward to in the midst of the January blues. Whether it’s a day out with friends or family or a treat for yourself, plan something into your diary and start counting down those days.

    Take up a new hobby…

    If you’ve always wanted to give something a go, the new year is the perfect time to try it. Whether it’s joining a class or exploring a life long interest, you’re bound to meet like-minded people and feel part of something which has to make you feel a little bit better.

    The January blues certainly don’t last forever and you’ll soon have the spring back in your step...But until then remember that it's only 51 weeks until Christmas!

    How do you battle the January blues? Tweet us @Xmastreeworlduk

  • 12 Bizarre New Year Traditions Around The World

    Dec 12, 2015

    New Year’s Eve is a fairly standard affair in most places in the UK. We tend to get a little merry, watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny because there’s nothing better on the TV and then maybe have a little sing song of Auld Lang Syne, but that’s usually about it.

    However, there are places around the world that have a whole host of crazy New Year traditions. Here are some of the most bizarre…

    Chile - Eat a spoonful of lentils for each month of the year

    We have absolutely no idea what lentils have to do with New Year, but in Chile they eat 12 spoonfuls of them at midnight for each month of the coming year for a year of work and money. 12! Hopefully they’re cooked and mixed with something and not just dry.

    Colombia - Walk around the block with an empty suitcase for a year of travel

    There’s a tradition of sorts here in the UK that you should walk out the back door and in the front door for some reason, but in Colombia they go a bit further and you need to take a trip right around the block with an empty suitcase if you want a travel-filled year.

    Related - Names For Santa Claus From Around The World

    El Salvador - Crack an egg into a bowl and leave it overnight

    It’s getting weirder! In El Salvador, it’s tradition to crack an egg into a bowl and leave it overnight. Whatever form the egg takes the following day apparently tells your fortune for the year. We imagine many people have 'circular' fortunes, whatever that means.

    Peru - fight your neighbours!

    Whilst this may happen in some parts of the UK at New Year anyway, fighting your neighbours is a tradition in certain parts of Peru at the annual Takanakuy Festival. The fighting (there’s dancing as well apparently) is to settle old differences and start the year with a clean slate.

    Spain - Eat a grape with each bell toll at midnight

    That’s 12 grapes in about 12 seconds. That sounds horrible and actually pretty difficult. If you’ve had a bit to drink then you might see those grapes again pretty soon afterwards.

    Related - The Ultimate Christmas Quiz: How Festive Are You?

    Romania - Talking to your cows

    Whether or not this is done under the influence of alcohol is unclear, but apparently if Romanians succeed in communicating with their cows, it’s a bad omen for the year. There are no doubt some very lucky people in Romania.

    Siberia - Jumping in a frozen lake with a tree

    In Siberia’s Lake Baikal, locals dive to the bottom of the chilly lake to ‘dance’ around a Christmas tree. Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof.

    Japan - Ring bells 108 times

    Whilst ringing bells to signal New Year isn’t that bizarre, the Japanese channel their Buddhist traditions by ringing them an oddly specific 108 times. This is said to bring cleanliness for the coming year.

    Related: Why Do We Decorate Our Christmas Tree? The History of the Bauble

    Finland - Melting metal

    Native Fins are said to melt down tin and pour it into cold water to solidify it again. In a similar way to the eggs in El Salvador, whatever shape the now-solid metal takes is said to symbolise fortunes for the coming year.

    America - Possum dropping

    This isn’t a US-wide tradition, but rather just for the town of Brasstown, North Carolina. Brasstown claims to be the possum capital of the world, and so they lower a possum in a see-through box over a noisy crowd. Why? We have no idea.

    Denmark - Smashing plates

    It may sound like something the Greeks might do, but Danes keep broken or unwanted crockery throughout the year before smashing it on New Year’s Eve. They don’t smash it on the floor, however, but against the front doors of their friends and neighbours.

    South Africa - Furniture throwing

    In the Hilsboro district of Johannesburg, South Africa, locals like to start the new year afresh by lobbing all their old and unwanted items out of the window onto the street. Not such a happy time for those who have to clean it up, however.

    Do you know of any other crazy New Year traditions? Let us know!

  • Customer Gallery

    Dec 12, 2015

     

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  • 20 of the Best Christmas Memes & Gifs on the Internet

    Dec 12, 2015

    You may think that some people have far too much time on their hands making gifs and memes, yet most of us still look at them anyway and have a good chuckle. We've compiled some of the best Christmas memes and gifs the internet has to offer so you can while away the time over the festive period if you're sick of what's on TV.

    1. Sassy Christmas cat

    cat-christmas-gif

    What sass this little fellow has. Strutting around like it owns Christmas. Such confidence.

    2. A wreath of franklins

    a-wreath-of-franklins

    So Aretha Franklin might not traditionally be the most festive of singers but it's an excuse to post this excellent Christmas pun. For those with a Christmas pun malfunction, 'Aretha Franklin' = 'A wreath of Franklins' ;))

    3. Poor Batman

    batman-xmas-meme

    We all know the song:

    Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin flew away, the Batmobile lost its wheel on the motorway

    In fact, most kids probably know the Batman version better than the original, but did we ever stop to think how it might make Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter ego feel?

    4. Haters Gonna Hate

    christmas-dog-meme-021

    Do Christmas like nobody's watching this festive season.

    5. A familiar Christmas Day

    christmas_day_540

    A sight that all parents have had to deal with at some point. You buy an all-singing-all-dancing piece of kit and then forget the batteries. Devastation.

    6. It wasn't me!

    christmas-dog-meme-151

    The abject look of horror in this poor dog's eyes. Something that many pet owners will be able to relate to over Christmas, we're sure.

    7. Christmas overload

    christmas-meme-016-christmas-harder-than-you

    For some, Christmas is a competition; a time to prove that you're more festive than anyone else, and we can't help but think that's what's happened with this house. Unless it's for charity; in which case, well done.

    8. Getting in the Christmas spirit

    christmas-spirit-meme

    Sometimes Christmas can be a little on the stressful side and we need just a little helping hand to get through it all.

    9. Goodbye ornaments

    christmas-tree-cat-meme-011

    Anyone who has a cat will know that there's no point in having baubles or any other low-hanging Christmas decorations as they'll soon end up on the floor and/or broken.

    10. Hello, Buddy the Elf, what's your favourite colour?

    elf-film-gif

    Elf has now become a Christmas staple in many households, and there's something in all of us that loves Buddy's innocent nature.

    11. Tree or Gaga?

    funny-christmas-memes-28

    Hopefully it's the former and you don't get the fright of your life when Lady Gaga suddenly comes to life in the corner of your living room.

    12. Have a grumpy Christmas

    grumpy-cat-christmas

    Everyone's favourite miserable moggy is predictably glum about the whole festive season and that's why we love her.

    13. Hipster Santa

    hipster-santa

    Well Santa's beard and hat are already quite hipster but we imagine he'll also turn up on a fixie sleigh listening to Christmas songs that you won't have heard of.

    14. Santa's been watching

    santa-facebook-meme

    We all know someone this applies to, don't we? And if you don't know someone, then chances are you are that person.

    15. Christmas!!!!!!!!!

    the-office-christmas

    Dwight from the American version of The Office knows where it's at.

    16. Santa judges you

    santa-meme

    When you think about it, is Santa really all he's made out to be? Of course he is; he brings us presents!

    17. Over she goes

    xmas-tree-falling-over

    This poor little girl, although there is something funny about a Christmas tree falling over.

    18. Over she goes x100

    christmas-tree-falling

    The previous gif may be unfortunate, but it has nothing on this monster of a tree.

    19. Dreaming of a white Christmas

    white-christmas_thumb

    Best have a few bottles of each in the house just in case.

    20. Tree-Rex

    trex-christmas-gif

    Known for having comically small arms, the T-rex always misses out putting the star on top of the tree. Not this time.

    We hope you enjoyed this plethora of Christmas memes and gifs. Merry Christmas!

  • Names for Santa Claus from around the world

    Dec 12, 2015

    Ah Santa, the jolly old chap with a red suit and a white beard. He really is a wonder, managing to deliver millions of presents globally, all whilst finding time at every house to stop off for a cheeky mince pie and a glass of sherry.

    Here at Christmas Tree World, we don’t think he gets enough credit as all of his duties are perfectly executed within 24 hours. It takes us longer than that to decide how to tackle wrapping that awkwardly shaped present.

    Now, we know the gift bearer here in the United Kingdom as Santa Claus...Father Christmas if you will, but have you ever wondered what he (or his equivalent) is called around the world?

    Nope, us neither so we’ll have a look shall we?

    Japan - Hoteiosho

    The Japanese gift giver is Hoteiosho, a large bellied, Buddhist monk depicted as a kind old man carrying a large sack filled with presents. Hoteiosho also has eyes in the back of his head so that he can see how well children are behaving.

    Sweden - Jultomten

    Let’s kick off with Sweden where the jolly old fellow is called ‘Jultomten’ which translates as ‘Christmas Brownie.’  He’s described as being no taller than three feet with a white beard and fond of wearing a red knit cap.

    Russia - Ded Moroz

    In Russia, gifts are brought by ‘Ded Moroz’ which is translated in Russian as ‘Old Man Frost’ or 'Grandfather Frost'.  He wears a heel length coat, a fur hat and walks with a staff. Ded Moroz delivers gifts with his snow maiden, his granddaughter, Snegurochka.

    Georgia  - Tovlis Papa

    In Georgia, gifts are brought by ‘Tovlis Papa’ which translates as ‘Grandfather Snow.’ He is known to wear all white clothing and a cloak made from sheep's wool. Children leave out a treat made of walnuts and grape juice for Tovlis Papa when he comes down from the mountains on New Year’s Eve to bring gifts.

    Finland - Joulupukki

    The Finnish Christmas figure is named ‘Joulupukki’ meaning ‘Christmas goat’ or ‘Yule goat.’ He wears red leather trousers and a fur trimmed, leather coat and drives a flying wagon drawn by goats. Instead of entering a house via the chimney, he knocks on the front door asking for any well-behaved children.

    China - Dun Che Lao Ren

    Both Dun Che Lao Ren or 'Christmas Old Man’ and the laughing Buddha bring the gifts at Christmas time in China. They both wear a red outfit and on Christmas Eve, the Christian children in China hang up stockings for Dun Che Lao Ren to fill with gifts from the wicker basket he carries.

    Iceland - Jolasveinarnir

    In Iceland, the gift bearer, or bearer(s) should we say, are thirteen Jolasveinarnir or ‘Christmas lads.’ These cheeky fellows show up on a number of days around Christmas and perform a prank or trick whilst delivering presents to the children.

    We’re sure that you will have learnt some interesting trivia to impress your friends and family with this Christmas.

    Which gift bearer is your favourite?

    Leave a comment below or tweet us: @christmastreeworlduk

    Time for more? Become a wrap God...How to wrap presents perfectly | The history of the humble bauble | The ultimate Christmas quiz |

  • Become A Wrap God: How To Wrap Presents Perfectly

    Dec 12, 2015

    Ever found your hand covered in mangled sticky tape with scraps of haphazardly cut wrapping paper strewn across your carpet?

    The awkwardly shaped present you’re wrapping is sat waiting to be covered and you’d rather just give the experience up as a bad job.

    Why bother?..Because after all...

    Wrapping paper only gets ripped off and binned within a nanosecond anyway.

    But if you’re serious about wrapping your presents perfectly and nailing it this Christmas...Then look no further than our ultimate present wrapping guide.

    Firstly, set the mood by playing some classic Chrimbo songs. Those foot tapping tunes from Slade, Wizzard and Elton John to suggest a few. Your festive mood can be further optimised by positioning your present wrapping station next to, or nearby your Christmas tree. 

    Step one: Place the present in the middle of the paper

    This is to determine how much wrapping paper you’ll need to cover the gift...No matter what size...or shape.

    Step Two: Mark the cut lines with a ruler

    If cutting in straight lines is nigh-on impossible - be diligent about this and use a ruler (or anything with a straight edge) to cut how much wrapping paper you’ll need to wrap your gift effectively.  Put the rest of the roll aside.

    Now it’s going to get tricky...

    Step Three: Fold the paper around the gift

    With your present placed nicely in the middle of the paper.

    1. Take one side of the wrapping paper and fold it over the top half of your gift.  
    2. Then take the other side, folding it over the bottom.
    3. Put both sides on top of the other end and pull it tight and tape together neatly.

    Step Four: Time for some origami...

    1. Start with the left hand side of your package.
    2. Fold both corners into a triangle and tape to secure.
    3. Fold the straight end over your gift.
    4. Pull the paper over the top of your gift and tape.
    5. Repeat on the other side.

    You seem to be really getting this now…

    Why not add a ribbon tied into a bow to really show off your work?

    You could also include a gift tag if you’re feeling really professional. And then there's always the option of a gift bag to present your thoughtfully wrapped gift in...Just don't forget to cut off last years gift tag from your Mum.

    And Voila! 

    You have before you, a perfectly wrapped present and the honorary title of 'Wrap God.' 

    You'll be able to wrap pretty much anything now from a motorbike to a cat.


    You have before you, a
    perfectly wrapped present and the honorary title of 'Wrap God.' 

    You'll be able to wrap pretty much anything now

    We’re sure our guide has helped.

    Do you have any tips for wrapping a present perfectly? 

    Leave a comment below or tweet us: @xmastreeworlduk

    Time for more? Kim Wilde talks Christmas songs and her new album |  How to decorate your tree according to science | Your Christmas tree decoration colour guide

  • Why do we decorate our Christmas tree? The history of the bauble

    Dec 12, 2015

    It has long since been custom to embellish our Christmas trees with ornaments, tinsel and lights, but just when did the idea to decorate a real or artificial tree at Christmas time become an annual tradition?

    Christmas tree decoration became fashionable in Queen Victoria’s reign, most notably in 1848 when a picture was published in the Illustrated London News of the Royal Family. In an elaborate image, Queen Victoria and her family were pictured at Windsor Castle stood beside a large tree adorned with glass ornaments hailing from Prince Albert's native Germany.

    What followed was the tradition of Christmas tree decorating as we know it today, as many homes in Britain followed suit by decking out their tree with sweets, candles, homemade decorations and fruit.  

    The humble bauble, a Christmas decoration staple...

    For centuries, baubles have evolved in design, material and cost and these days any Christmas tree would look a little lost without a few cheerful baubles hanging from its branches. But just where exactly did the first bauble originate from?

    These days you can pick up baubles from just about anywhere in the world.  However, the original bauble comes from sixteenth century Germany in the alpine town of Lauscha. This town would become infamous for its skill in glass-blowing and Christmas ornament production.

    By the 1800s, founder of the first glassworks in Lauscha, Hans Greiner, began producing fruit and nut shaped glass ornaments complete with decorative silver embellishment using mercury or lead.

    With popularity and interest in the bauble growing, other glassworks in the area also began to produce their own style of glass decorations, creating moulds of animals, famous saints and children.

    Eventually, the beautiful glass ornaments, renowned as a German invention, were discovered by the infamous F.W Woolworth on a visit to Germany. Sensing an opportunity within the rise of global commerce, he began to import the glass ornaments to the United States and the rest they say...is history.

    The introduction of global production...

    The turn of the century saw Japan emerging in the bauble market by producing more elaborate bauble designs on a wider scale. Sadly, as the market evolved and more economical baubles were being produced for people to buy cheaply, Germany's handmade, glass bauble industry began to fade.

    These days, you can find baubles for your Christmas tree just about anywhere, including here at Christmas Tree World and next time you come to hang one on your tree, you’ll know exactly how the humble bauble began.

    What is your favourite Christmas tree decoration? Check out our great range of baubles and other Christmas decorations.

    Leave a comment or Tweet us @Xmastreeworlduk

    Time for more: How to make a Christmas hit song | Your Christmas tree decoration colour guide | The guide to buying a Christmas tree for a small space

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