Christmas Lights

As we are preparing to install new Christmas lights for Winterfest 2016, we thought a look back at 2015 might be fun!  Wow, thousands of lights adorning every tree and shrub at the store and hotel – it took many thousand man-hours to put everything up .. but we think it was worth it.

The Incredible Christmas Place

 

The Inn at Christmas Place

 

Most of the lights we used are available for purchase at the store, or online at www.christmasplace.com.

The 27th annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest celebration starts with an official lighting ceremony in Patriot Park on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.  The light displays placed throughout the city will be illuminated at dark; for those who haven’t been before, it’s a beautiful display of lighted Christmas characters lights lining the parkway.  The light show actually begins in Sevierville (lighting on Monday night) and continues all the way to Gatlinburg (lighting on Wednesday night), a wonderful driving trip to make on an early winter’s evening – with a big thermos of hot chocolate to fuel the journey, of course.  The lights will remain on through February 28th, 2017, so you have lots of time to plan a visit to the area.

First comes fall, then comes Winterfest .. and finally it will be time for Christmas!  It’s only 96 days away – that’s 13 Saturdays to go.  Yippee!

Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

5 Steps for Safely Storing Your Artificial Christmas Tree

Rudolph shows off a new, color-changing tree

Rudolph is showing you our new tree that can change from multicolored to all-white lights!

We know that most of you, like the elves here at Christmas Place, plan to keep your Christmas trees up all year round. ;)  For those of you out there who DO happen to take your trees down sometime after Christmas (we don’t judge!), here are 5 simple steps you can follow to keep your tree looking fresh and new every time you release it from confinement display and decorate it for the enjoyment of all who enter your home.

Artificial Christmas trees are durable by design, and depending on the model you choose, can be quite an investment.  Taking the time to properly store away your tree each year will help to retain its original shape, style, and luster, and achieve the long life you expect from your Christmas tree.

After you have removed all the decorations, but before you unplug the lights, follow these 5 easy steps to ensure the maximum lifetime value of your tree.

General Hints:

  • A pair of lightweight gloves will save wear and tear on your hands.
  • Use brightly-colored tape or string to mark non-working lights for repair or replacement.
  • A Light Keeper Pro gun will be a help with non-working bulbs.
  • Strong twine or cloth-covered bungee cords (non-rubber) will help save storage space.

1.  Replace Broken or Burned-Out Bulbs

How long?  About 15-20 minutes for a 7.5′ foot Christmas tree.

What?  The goal is to identify and replace any burned-out bulbs.  Turn on the tree lights.  Starting at the top, trace the light strand and make sure each bulb is functioning.  If you find a non-working bulb, replace it bulb.  If you run out of replacement bulbs, mark the non-working bulb with brightly color string or tape for replacement when you get more bulbs.

A handy tool to try before replacing bulbs or light strands is the Light Keeper Pro.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you can re-boot or repair any non-working bulbs or strands before you start replacing them on the tree.  This could save you a lot of time and money.

Why?  It is important to the life of your light strands to quickly locate and repair/replace bulbs which are not working. The more bulbs not working on a light strand, the more electricity the working bulbs will consume and output.  For example, if you have a 50 light set, each bulb consumes 1/50th of the electricity in the string.  If 10 bulbs are not working, the 40 bulbs which are working are forced to take 20% more electricity.  If this continues for a long period of time, the light strand may be permanently damaged.  The lights will stop working, and the individual bulbs may take on a brown tinge from over-use.  This type of damage is not typically covered under a tree warranty.

2.  Un-Fluff Your Tree

How Long?  About 10-15 minutes for a 7.5′ Christmas tree.

What?  Some of today’s modern tree manufacturing styles do not require compression.  For those that do, the manufacturer’s information should include “fluffing” instructions, and if the tree must be fluffed for display, then it can be “un-fluffed.”  The goal is to compress the branches of the tree in an orderly fashion to preserve the lights, needles and branches.  Starting at the outer-most, top branch layer of the tree, carefully fold the smallest branches in and up towards each other and the central trunk.  Work your way around the top layer, moving down through each row of branches in similar fashion, one section at a time, until the entire tree is compressed.

Why?  Trying to put the tree back into its storage box or bag without un-fluffing or compressing the tree will be almost impossible.  Folding the individual branches and layers into the trunk compresses the tree much more efficiently, allowing a better fit into a smaller space; and the needles, branches, and lights are much less likely to be damaged while in transit and storage.

3.  Disassemble Your Tree

How Long?  About 10-15 minutes for a 7.5′ Christmas tree.

What?  Starting from the top, remove each section of the tree, one at a time.  As you work, gently continue to press the branches toward the center trunk.  Lay each section aside, waiting to box/bag the sections until all are separated.  Remove the tree stand from the last section, and carefully secure all its parts together for next use!

It’s a good idea to wrap the sections with twine or bungee cord as you go, both to further compress the tree and to preserve the branches from any extra stress during handling.  Take care not to bind the sections too tightly, however.

Caution:  Make sure that, as you fold up any hinged branches, light bulbs or wires do not get caught or pinched in the hinges.  If any branches do not easily fold up, go over them manually to safely move away any parts that may be interfering with the hinge mechanism.

4.  Place Your Tree in a Bag and/or Box

Place the tree in a box or Christmas tree storage bag for off-season storage.  Should you keep your tree in the original box or in a storage bag?  The best answer is…both!  Place your tree in a storage bag, then put the bag in the original tree box.  The tree box is generally easy to identify and transport to storage, while the tree bag inside will provide additional protection against humidity, dust, and temperature fluctuations.

How Long?  About 10-15 minutes for a 7.5′ Christmas tree.

What?  Place the bottom tree section into the bag first.  Position this section so the sharp end of the trunk, if it has one, is in the middle of the bag, and the non-pointed end is at one end of the bag.  Position the middle section so that the widest part of the section is at the other end of the bag.  Position all other sections and the tree stand in the middle of the bag, evenly distributing the volume and weight as much as possible.

5.  Storing Your Tree

Safe storage depends to varying degrees on the style of tree.  A typical green artificial tree will not be affected by average swings in temperature or humidity levels, though extremes should always be avoided.  Temperatures between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are generally considered safe for most average trees.  Low humidity is always best, too.  If your tree has extra embellishments such as cones or berries, be sure to give attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines for temperature and humidity.

Frosted, flocked or white Christmas trees are particularly sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity.  These types of trees quickly discolor in hot and humid storage conditions.  Give extra thought and care when handling such trees; they will survive best and give you the longest life when stored in a controlled environment.

Secure your tree from potential animal intrusions – birds and rodents love to make their homes in artificial Christmas trees.

We know you want to protect the investment you have made in the Christmas tree that is the focal point of your holiday decorating and celebrations.  Following these 5 steps for securing and storing your artificial tree between uses will give your tree the best chance for a long and beautiful life.  We hope you’ll be making cherished memories to share at Christmas and throughout the year – for many years to come!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Our decorators have already selected the tree themes we’ll be displaying for Christmas 2015, and we can’t wait to show them to you as the decorations start to come in next year!  Stay tuned for more pictures and information!

Have you put up your Christmas lights yet?

On the road I travel each day, there is a house that has been displaying Christmas lights since early October.  I say, two thumbs up!  It’s such a pick-me-up to enjoy those colorful lights on a night when I’ve been at the office later than planned…

Well, we’ve done the same here at Christmas Place – this has been a week of lighting up the courtyard for Christmas!  I don’t have any after-dark photos yet, but here are some just-at-dusk pictures I caught yesterday.

Look at this handsome rig we have added below the clock.

Santa & Reindeer all a-glow!

You’ll also see some new elf friends alongside our reindeer.

I'm not sure he's feeling all that merry today, what do you think?

 Now check out our lights.  Okay, you may have to squint a little for this picture – the wreaths & the garland are lighted, as well as all the rooflines.

I mean, don’t we all have our own cherry-pickers so we can light up the house and yard??  Hope you come down to see our lights, as well as the Winterfest lights that are on display all the way from Sevierville through Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. May I share one more photo?  I had the priviledge of attending a Salute to Veterans luncheon at the Dixie Stampede today, and was even seated next to the guest of honor, Sgt. Ed Douglas from just up the road in Morristown.  His battalion cleared 2,500 miles of roads in Afghanistan last year, without any loss of life, even though they were bombed many, many times.  (They also got to enjoy 8″ of snow for Thanksgiving, which we did not.)  This Sunday is Veterans Day, and we hope that you will thank a veteran when you have the opportunity.  Sgt. Douglas said that it is not a burden, but an honor to serve the U.S.  The burden is in being away from family and friends.  Thank you, Sgt. Douglas and all veterans!  (Dad, two uncles, my sister, two brothers-in-law, and many personal friends – and now children of my friends – thank you!)

Sgt. Ed Douglas

Pretty Stuff! (Part I)

We’ve been so busy around here that I’ve hardly had time to take pictures and explore the new Christmas decorations & ornaments filling the store right now.  Yesterday I took the time to make a tour, and here are some of the things I’ve found inspiring, including our new crystal entrance, the tree in the nativity area, a couple of beautiful under-the-sea wreaths, and a few other highlights.

Are you shivering yet??

We’re showcasing a new style of LED light strand called “Angel Tear” lights.  These lights resemble tear drops or water drops on a strand, and are attached in a branch-like form that is shape-able – you can bend the strand and it will mold to the shape that you want without having to be secured.  They are so beautiful, lightweight and functional, you’ll find many different ways to incoporate them into your decor – maybe even year-round.

Angel Tear LED Lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, you can see how we’ve tightly entwined a strand with silver branches.  On the right, you can see the strand draped more loosely with the same silver branch.  I love it both ways!

We also have in the store a pre-lit, 3′ tree that is entirely white and fuzzy ~ and our decorators suspended four of them from the ceiling and iced them with sparkling birds and ornaments – what an interesting and beautiful result!

Check out this colorful, glittering wreath – a handsome turquoise reindeer and sparkling “Merry Christmas” sign, enhanced by iced pine branches and silvered leaves – breathtaking!

Just around the corner from what I’m calling our “crystal entrance” is the new undersea area, and though the tree hasn’t been decorated yet, here are a couple of wonderful & whimsical wreaths already on display.

I particularly like the seafoam effect from the white guaze used in this wreath.  These are each one-of-a-kind creations, so we don’t have the opportunity to feature them on our shopping site, but phone orders and shipping are available.  Just call Guest Services at 1-800-445-3396, press 2, and they’ll take care of you.

Tucked into a corner I found a small yet brilliant peacock tree – so very colorful!

Here are a few closeups of two of the peacocks on this silver, slim-line tree.

Okay, I’m kind of afraid to put more photos into one post, so I’ll do a Part II for the rest of my finds!

Have you started planning for Christmas 2011?  Tell us how it’s going – and remember to check out our Themes area on the shopping site – get some help from our designers, whose selections will show you how to creatively build a theme or a color plan for your most fun holidays yet!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

LED Lights – a note for crafters

So, this weekend I spent a day with a nearby friend, and she showed off the LED Christmas lights on her tree (which she purchased from a competitor which shall remain unnamed, pooh on her) – they were very pretty.  However, her family is used to warmer lights on their Christmas tree, and the LED strands she used included more blue and purple colors, along with cooler white bulbs.

Being a crafter, she had to experiment on the LED lights herself.  What worked in the end was an application of alcohol inks from her rubber stamping hobby!  She applied Butterscotch Ink from the Ranger Inks-Adirondack reinkers collection, and the white bulbs were warmed right up to a rich, golden shade.

She also tried this color on some of the purple bulbs, and they took on a lovely peach shade when dark, but still glowed purple when illuminated, so that didn’t work.  She ended up buying an extra strand of white, coloring a handful of the lights, and substituting them on her strand.

Just so you know, LED lights come in a variety of colors and in two shades of white, cool and warm. –Oh, and I was just looking in the online store, and our warm lights are on special right now – check it out.

C6 Warm White LED Lights

C6 Warm White LED Lights

Hope your lights are glowing on this cold winter day!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

A friend came to the store looking for LED lights and we noticed these carpenter/handyman Christmas novelty lights – what a hoot!  They will be a real hit on the tree in the garage or the man cave ~ or woman cave, I happen to own quite a few tools myself, including a mitre box and a set of torx wrenches, thank you very much.  (and I have used both.)

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Last Saturday I spent time on the sales floor helping customers (yeah, like, the rest room is that way) and these new Christmas ornaments jumped out at me – decorated with dimensional paint, they have a real depth and  beautiful lustre – we’ll personalize these for you, too!

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 We’re closed on Thanksgiving Day, and opening at 8:00 am on Friday afterwards to give all you early birds a chance to start shopping our specials.  We’ve filled the store with special pricing on the cutest collection of snowmen, penguins, Santas, and other fun characters – yesterday I found a dancing penguin that sings “We wish you a Merry Christmas” as he waddles along.  I wonder if I could post a little video of him on this blog?  I’ll give it a try!

Life is good!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place