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Tis The Season For Volume

(category: Holidays, Word count: 417)
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Do you know how many turkeys are eaten during the holiday season? Below are a few interesting facts regarding the volume of turkeys eaten, cards sent, and much more.

Christmas Cards

Do you enjoy receiving cards in the mail? How many do you think you get each season? There are roughly 1.9 billion Christmas cards sent in the United States every year to friends, family members, and acquaintances, making Christmas the #1 card sending occurrence, followed by Valentine's Day.

Packages

The number UPS is expected to deliver this year is over 340 million. The busiest day is expected to reach 20 million deliveries, which translates to 230 packages being delivered every second during that day.

Turkey

There are approximately 60 million turkeys consumed in the United States through the holiday season. Each American eats around 13.7 pounds of turkey every year! You think you are tired of turkey once Christmas is over? This may be why.

Christmas Trees

Next time you are lugging your tree home, remember this little fact. There are 20.8 million Christmas trees cut in the U.S. every year, with Oregon being the largest producer. Tree farmers retail roughly $506 million from the sale of trees. There is $69 million worth of artificial trees imported from China alone. Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real trees every year since 1991.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

China is the largest importer of Christmas ornaments which totals $561 million between January and August. Apparently those little trinkets are purchased year-round to have handy when Christmas time approaches.

Decorating

Most malls and other stores begin decorating for the holiday season on November 1st.

Holiday Shopping

Holiday sales are expected to hit $439.53 billion this year. December accounts for roughly 15% of stores' yearly sales, except for in the case of jewelry stores, which is closer to 24%. However, most Americans only expect to spend an average of $681 each this holiday reason. On Black Friday, approximately $8.01 billion was spent, totaling $16.8 billion for the weekend. Residence of the New England states are expected to spend the most, with the South expected to spend considerably less.

Toys

Roughly 45% of shoppers this year will be purchasing toys, with Barbie and video games being the most sought after products.

The most frequently played holiday song is "Jingle Bells", with "White Christmas" running a close second. Bing Crosby's "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" is the #1 best selling Christmas single of all time.

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The Accidental Gift Basket

(category: Holidays, Word count: 559)
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My husband and I recently had a baby, and family and friends have been dropping by regularly to visit and see our new addition. We live near my family, so they've been over almost every day while my husband's family is spread out all over the United States. Since his family can't exactly drop by for obvious reasons, we've gotten a lot of cards, letters and gifts in the mail. One day the doorbell to our apartment rang and I opened it to find a delivery person with a gift basket. After thanking him, I took the basket and placed it on the table with all the cards and letters we received in the mail that day. I thought I would wait until my husband got home from work so we could open them together.

As I looked at the gift basket, I noticed it was filled with European chocolates. I briefly thought that was an odd choice and was going to look at who sent it when my newborn awoke and let me know it was time for the bottle. After feeding her and putting her back to sleep, I had a bit of a sweet tooth so I decided to open the gift basket and have a chocolate. It was delicious. One chocolate turned to two and two quickly turned to four and before I knew it, I had eaten almost half the basket. This was no small feat as there were a lot of chocolates. I guess I wasn't quite ready to give up the eating habits I had before the baby was born. As I was enjoying the chocolates, my husband came home and I mentioned that whoever in his family that sent the gift basket really knew what they were doing.

I thought it a bit odd at first (expecting a baby gift basket, if anything) but once I bit into the first chocolate, I knew that whoever had sent this realized just how much I needed a quality chocolate break from the stress of all that comes with having your first baby. This made me remember that I forgot to check the card, so I asked my husband to look since he was up. As it turns out, this gift basket I had halfway devoured was intended for our next door neighbor. It was delivered to us by accident. Here I am, relaxing on the couch with a chocolate in my hand when my husband breaks the news to me. With my chocolate filled mouth wide open, I looked at him so seriously as if to say, "What are we going to do?" He started laughing, which made me start laughing as I now saw the humor in the situation. We ordered a new basket to be delivered the next day for our neighbor and also went by to explain what had happened.

We all had a good laugh over it and I was relieved since I had never formally met our neighbor and didn't know what to expect. I'm actually quite glad that this happened. I got to meet our neighbor and learned a valuable lesson about checking the card before you open the gift. I also know what I will send my friends and family after they welcome a new addition. I'm sending chocolate.

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The Beauty Of A Holiday

(category: Holidays, Word count: 421)
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There are many things that I love about life. I love the fact that we were given eyes to see, ears to hear, and mouths to speak and to taste amazing food. I love it that I can see things in color and that I can experience beauty all around me just by going for a walk outside. I'm glad that we are able to work to provide for ourselves and that we can work doing things we enjoy. One of the things in life that I love the most, however, is a good holiday.

I love a good holiday because they don't happen everyday. A holiday is a unique day that is set aside to celebrate a wide variety of things. And I enjoy this. I enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming holiday like almost nothing else in the world. Everyone who knows me well knows that I get giddy and excited nearly a week before any holiday is approaching.

I love a good holiday because it means that normal life gets to be put on hold and that we can spend a day relaxing and enjoying the best things in life with the people we love the most. There is nothing better than sleeping in or getting up early with the knowledge that the entire day is devoted to hanging out with people and relaxing. That is the beauty of a holiday.

If you don't feel this excitement about the approach of a holiday than I'll suggest that maybe you have the wrong view of what a holiday is all about. You cannot let yourself work through a holiday as if it were any other day, nor can you spend a holiday alone. No. A holiday is meant to be enjoyed in a community of people. So before the next holiday approaches you need to plan a party and gather all of the people you know. Plan on having a totally relaxing and fun day together. Organize games, movies or just time for good conversation.

The beauty of a holiday is that we get to slow down and remember that we are not machines and that are lives are valuable and worth being lived fully. We get to spend time on what matters most, not on our work or on the things that keep us busy throughout the week. So make a commitment now to enjoy whatever holiday rolls around next. You won't be sorry, and you just might make a habit of it.

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What To See In A Week In Suffolk England

(category: Holidays, Word count: 719)
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Sleepy Suffolk may not be a destination that comes to mind when you think about a week away, but you will be amazed to find out just how much there is to see and do. Its full of history and stunning scenery. Here are just a few things you should check out if you are planning a trip to this much over looked county

Suffolk is nestled in East Anglia and neighbours Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

Suffolk is a place which offers up stunning rural countryside. It envelopes many quaint villages and has been an inspiration for no less than 2 famous painters,

John Constable and Thomas Gainsbourough.

The town of Newmarket is famous as the home of Horse (Flat) Racing.

If it is the sea that interests you Aldburgh, Southwold or Dunwich are the perfect English seaside locations to take in the natural beauty.

Quaint villages in Suffolk include:-

Lavenham, which attracts many visitors every year who are drawn by the display of half-timbered medieval cottages. Once described as "the most complete medieval town in Britain", Lavenham shares a magnificent collection of medieval and Tudor architecture. Lavenhams older buildings are gathered around the market place. The National Trust owns the Guildhall which now displays a permanent local history exhibition.

Long Melford. Here you will find a host of antique shops excellent places to eat as well as historic buildings which include Long Melford Hall and Kentwell Hall.

Long Melford Hall has changed very little since 1578. It has managed to retain its original panelled banqueting hall which is where Queen Elizabeth I was often entertained. A small display of items connected with Beatrix Potter remind us that she was related to the family, The Hyde Parkers (former residents)

Kentwell Hall was built in the early 16th century by the Clopton family. It is surrounded by a moat which is very befitting of this stunning Tudor Manor. The exterior of Kentwell has changed little over the years, however this cannot be said of the interior though, as much has been done to renovate and refurbish it.

Kentwell Hall often has Tudor days and one can dress in the costumes of the time and truly experience life as it was all those years ago.

Framlingham is a twelfth century castle which consists of a continuous curtain-like wall that joins thirteen enormous towers.

Next we have Bury St Edmunds which has close associations with The Magna Carta and is also known as the cathedral town of Suffolk. Bury St Edmunds is steeped in history and offers up amazing architecture and a museum to share its secrets to anyone who is interested.

Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk and of course home to its football club at Portman Road.

You cannot visit Suffolk without finding out about the great artists that it has produced in times gone by. Thomas Gainsborough's house is now a museum, the only artist's birthplace open to the public in the whole of Britain, which was established in 1961. Here visitors are able to see a large collection of the artist paintings.

John Constable, is arguably the greatest and most original of all British landscape artists. He is most famous for is his views of Flatford and the Stour Valley in Suffolk, Hampstead Heath and Salisbury Cathedral.

Flatford and the Bridge Cottage complex are both run by the National Trust and you can see the Constable exhibition here.

Halesworth was originally a roman settlement and is set in a lovely area. It hosts the yearly "gig in the park" in August.

The beautiful Orford Coastal village offers bird watching, a chance to go boating, a host of historic buildings and for the more energetic, sporting activities too.

Woodbridge also offer some pleasant surprises for the interested visitor such as Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial, Shire Hall stands in the middle of Market Hill, and has been the focal point of the town for over 400 years.

Last but by no means least, Snape now better known for Snape Maltings is no longer used commercially. It was converted into a tourist centre together with a concert hall that now hosts a major part of the annual Aldeburgh Festival.

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Christmas Tree Ornament Tips

(category: Holidays, Word count: 494)
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When it comes to decorating, we are all perfectionists about our Christmas tree. After all, it happens only once a year and the decorations are a treasure to behold. The finishing touch, for any Christmas tree, is the ornaments. Perhaps you have memories of a personalized ornament given to you as a child or maybe it's the tradition of hanging them with your family - making sure that each is perfectly spaced from its neighbor for that added touch of beauty. The Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees, which we choose, should be a reflection of ourselves and our family.

There are all types of Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees. From glass to unbreakable, there is something for everyone. Glass ornaments are among the most expensive, in part, because they require such intricate detail and add a touch of elegance to any Christmas tree. Glass ornaments pick up the reflection of lights and beam them across the room with, perhaps, even a twinkle or two. These ornaments are often hand-painted, which adds to their uniqueness.

There are a variety of unbreakable ornaments, also available, in a multitude of colors. If you have a child who loves to be near the Christmas tree, glass ornaments may not be the best option. Or, if you have a pet that enjoys the mystique of the tree a little too much, you may opt for something unbreakable. This is why there are plastic ornaments, which are much safer for your inquiring family members whether they be small or furry.

If you have children, there are plenty of ways to make beautiful Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees at home.

Using gold ribbon, tie a bow and place it on the tree. Repeat these steps until your tree is filled with golden memories of your child's imagination. You can also purchase plain white ceramic ornaments and, together with your children, paint them into beautiful Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees.

What's good enough to eat and also looks beautiful on a Christmas tree? Give up? It's a candy cane, of course. These pretty little symbols of Christmas are everywhere during the holiday season. If you can resist the temptation of eating them, candy canes make terrific Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees. Leave them as they are or tie little red bows around them for an added touch of Christmas.

If your child would like a personalized letter from Santa, contact one of Santa's helper services and inquire about Santa also sending your child a personalized ornament with his/her name engraved. This will truly be one of the most special ornaments on the tree and your child will treasure it forever.

Christmas ornaments for Christmas trees truly are the icing on the cake. Let them reflect you, your family, your home and your love for the holidays. The most precious ornaments are those we decorate with love. Not so surprisingly, these are also the most beautiful.

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The History Of The Christmas Card

(category: Holidays, Word count: 363)
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The Christmas card, as we know it, originated in England in the year 1843. An artist named John Calcott Horsley was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, a wealthy and successful London businessman, to create a card that could be sent out to his friends and clients to wish them a merry Christmas.

Sir Henry Cole was very well known at the time, for a number of reasons. He had a helping hand in helping to modernize the British postal system. He played a prominent role in the creation of the Royal Albert Hall, and acted as the construction manager on this massive project. He also arranged for the Great Exhibition of 1851, and he oversaw the inauguration of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

One of Sir Henry Cole's greatest aspirations in life was to beautify the world around him. He owned and operated a wonderful art shop on Bond Street, which specialized in decorative objects for the home. His shop was hugely popular with the British upper class, and he earned a tidy sum from his business.

The Christmas card he commissioned was fashioned in the form of a triptych, which is a three-paneled design that allows for the two outer panels to be folded in towards the middle one. Each of the two side panels depicted a good deed. The first showed an image of people clothing the poor, and the other side panel showed an image of people feeding the hungry. The center piece had an image of a well-to-do family making a toast and surrounded by an enormous feast.

The inscription on the inside of the card read "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." Of the one thousand cards printed for Sir Henry Cole, only twelve exist today in private collections. The printed card became highly fashionable in England during the years that followed. They also became very popular in Germany. It took quite a long time for the idea to catch on in America, then popularized by a German expatriate named Louis Prang in 1875. Today, more than 2 billion Christmas cards are exchanged each year. Merry Christmas, all!

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What Gals Really Want For Christmas

(category: Holidays, Word count: 582)
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Okay, guys: listen up! I am here to tell you what women want for Christmas. You probably already know it, but you don't understand it. What am I saying? Well, those little ads that have been mysteriously popping up on your dresser, on your workbench, or plastered to the windshield of your truck did not get there by accident. Somebody who wants you to pay close attention to what she really wants put it there. You don't think the wind blew it there do you? Oh, please! Let's go down the list and find out what your lady really wants for Christmas. I abbreviated everything for clarity and to be concise. That means the 27 items she really wants are condensed to just five. Get it?

1.Jewelry - You had to ask? What woman doesn't want something shiny to wear on her fingers, around her neck, her wrist, her anklet, her belly button...Okay, I'm not talking custom jewelry either. I'm talking about something that will retain its shine in all weather conditions and can be counted in the number of karats it possesses. You can count on it setting you back at least through the following June, probably as late as Thanksgiving...

2.Chocolate - Milk chocolate just doesn't cut it, fellas. Better for you to pick it up by the brand: Peregina, Godiva, and Richart are a few that come to mind. Yeah, get her the little stocking stuffer Santa chocolates too. She'll think that you are being real sweet!

3.To the Islands! Okay, time to splurge. Go all out and book that early February vacation to Paradise. You know you will need it by time that the 17th measurable snowstorm plasters your driveway. Oh, by the way, no matter how much she thinks that the kids should come along, make arrangements with your parents to come and spend the week at your house. If the kiddies come down with the flu at least they will be in a familiar environment with adults who will spoil them rotten!

4.Spa Membership - This one gets tricky. If you give her a spa membership, she will say that you think she is getting fat/old/wrinkly, etc. You're walking in dangerous territory, men! Better yet, make sure that it is a place where her friends already hang out. Tell her you want her to have regular quality time with her girlfriends. She won't buy your pitch, but she'll join especially when you present her with the other gift that she wants: chocolate.

5.Stuff For Her Minivan. You know how hard it is for you to summon up courage to drive the family van, right? Especially after driving your Dakota all week. Who wants to be caught driving that thing? She does! This is where you really have to die to self: give her spark plugs and spark plug wires for Christmas and leave it at that. Just kidding. Better to find the name brand auto parts she really wants: floor mats, seat covers, pet pads, etc. All the frilly little things that make her vehicle, well, her own.

Are you still not sure what she wants? Then just look. That advertisement on your workbench is open to the page for the item she wants... the one with the big, red circle around it. So, just get it and leave it at that. If you do, you'll be singing, "peace on earth and goodwill toward men" in no time. Merry Christmas!

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Halloween Ecards Get Best Of The Net Free

(category: Holidays, Word count: 415)
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Halloween is the time to send Ecards to friends. Halloween is the time to send Ecards to family. How to get Free Halloween Ecards? One must share the fun of Halloween but how to get very good quality Ecards that look different and don't cost? Let me tell you.

Free Halloween Ecards - tips on selection

Internet offers paid and free, both kinds of Ecards. How to get the best at no cost? Let me give you few tips.

1. Search for Free Halloween Ecards. It is not necessary that the best Ecards will be always on the first page of search results. That may be even in the third or fourth page. Search engine searches with different criteria and the first result need not be best for you. Therefore look at few websites. The very first page - home of the website should give you idea about the quality of the content. Ask these questions- is the homepage well laid out? Are the fonts and colors pleasing? Does the design look professional? Does the website offer small content or large content? Once you are sure that you have located a good website, click the Halloween Ecards.

2. View few Free Halloween Ecards. Look at the colors. Is the size right? Or the Ecard is very small? Is the Ecard designed in flash or plain JPG? If they are JPG, move to another website.

3. What about the Ecards text? Does it evoke the spirit of Halloween? Listen to the music. Is the music matching the mood of the Ecards? If not, select another.

4. Does the Free Halloween Ecard open and begin playing immediately? Or you have to click the Ecard to play? The later is good because it gives you the opportunity to view the Ecard carefully and enjoy it. The Ecards that begin playing immediately as they open give no opportunity to the recipient to watch it and enjoy. He/she will have to replay it again to view it. Why trouble the recipient? Send an Ecard that has to be played. That will give enough time to watch the Ecard.

5.Write whatever message you want below the Ecard. The message should be personal- between you and the recipient. Make it sound funny and nostalgic. The final test of a good message is simple- will it make the recipient feel good? If yes, go ahead. Send as many free Ecards as you wish.

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Three Holiday Ornaments Anyone Can Make

(category: Holidays, Word count: 345)
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Do you spend loads of money on holiday ornaments every year, trying to create a unique and unforgettable Christmas tree display? Do you wish holiday decorating were simpler and more affordable?

If so, here are three fun and easy ideas for creating your very own recycled Christmas tree ornaments! Remember, decorating need not be costly or stressful. Creating your own ornaments out of everyday household items can be one of the most rewarding and stress-busting activities of the fast-paced holiday season.

1. Make a Whimsical Light Bulb Reindeer

You will need:

One used light bulb

Brown felt cloth or fun foam

Acrylic paints and brushes

Ribbon

1 small red pom-pom

Glue

First, paint the light bulb brown. Set aside and let dry. Once the brown paint on the light bulb has dried completely, use a paint brush to paint eyes and a mouth on your reindeer. When the paint has dried begin to glue the red pom-pom nose onto the end of the light bulb, just above the mouth. Next, use the brown cloth or foam to fashion a pair of antlers for your reindeer. Glue these to the side of the light bulb. Finally, cut a small piece ribbon, loop and tie into a knot, and glue it to the top of your reindeer light bulb ornament.

2. Make a CD photo ornament. This is a great personal gift to give to someone you love.

You will need:

An old CD

A piece of felt fabric

Ribbon

Glue

A photograph

Use the CD as pattern to cut out a round piece of felt. Carefully spread glue on the back of the CD. Place the felt circle that you've cut out over the CD, and pressed gently. Make sure you haven't put too much glue on the back of the CD!

Next, cut around the photograph you plan on using. Trace the picture onto a piece of felt, leaving about

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