Friday, November 11, 2011


   When it comes to our cherished symbols of Christmas, few towering, twinkling firs can rival Rockefeller Center’s yearly display of New York yuletide cheer. But some of them succeed, at least when it comes to height: America’s tallest Christmas trees can top 100 feet. And they make for fun stopovers during the holiday travel season.
   Only the biggest cities can afford to transport and maintain these giant firs, but size isn’t really the point. Tree lightings represent “a moment of togetherness and true unity,” says Alexandra Lewis, author of The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, “a moment in which hope and happiness win out over bitterness or worry, when togetherness wins out over partisanship.”

10. Houston

City Hall

Height: 70 feet

   Every holiday season, Houston unveils the Lone Star State’s tallest Christmas tree in front of City Hall. This year, the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration tree is a 70-foot white fir, sourced from a snowcapped mountainside north of Medford, OR. It’s believed that trees grow better in this particular area due to superior soil quality, better exposure to sunlight, and more moisture. At this year’s celebration, Santa and Mayor Annise Parker will turn on the lights together.

9. New York

Rockefeller Center

Height: 74 feet

   When it comes to iconic status, Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree—usually a Norway spruce—has no rival. (Well, except for the White House’s smaller National Christmas Tree, which has more glitz than girth.) Its size is in full accordance with its fame. Chosen trees must be at least 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Though recent years have seen 100-footers, this year’s unofficial national tree is “just” 74 feet tall. Still, it’s one of the country’s most cherished symbols of the season.

8. Portland, OR

Pioneer Square

Height: 75 feet

   Oregonians found their state’s Christmas tree the subject of national headlines when an area teen was arrested for allegedly planning to detonate a car bomb during the popular lighting ceremony. Fortunately, the celebration went off as planned, and their towering 75-foot-tall Douglas fir now shines brightly in Pioneer Square. This year’s tree was grown in nearby Gaston, OR, and is the eighth donation from Stimson, a locally owned lumber company.

7. Boston

Faneuil Hall

Height: 85 feet

   Since the 1940s, Bostonians have gathered on the Boston Common to watch the mayor flip on the seasonal lights. But the tree lighting actually takes place a sleigh’s ride away, in front of Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This year, revelers will be treated to a gigantic 85-foot-tall tree—plus bell-ringers, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and a cappella choirs. Taken together, Faneuil Hall and the nearby Common will brighten Beantown with more than one million seasonal lights.

6. Toledo, OH

Toledo Zoo

Height: 85 feet

   For 25 years, the Toledo Zoo has hosted the city’s biggest holiday party, Lights Before Christmas. Not only is their resident Norway spruce taller than Rockefeller Center’s, it’s decorated with more lights: some 35,000. To encourage energy conservation, the zoo is using LED lights. They’ve also rigged two bicycles to the energy grid, allowing visitors to help light the grounds using pedal power. With 120,000 visitors expected, they shouldn’t have any problem keeping the lights on.

5. Kansas City, MO

Crown Center Square

Height: 100 feet

   In many cities, the town’s tallest Christmas tree is bought, decorated, and hosted by a local business—often a shopping mall. In Kansas City, mayor Mark Funkhouser takes pride in being responsible for the tree that bears his office’s name. “No other city does it the way we do it,” he said after flipping the switch on for 7,200 lights covering the Mayor’s Christmas Tree, a 100-foot Douglas fir. “At moments like that, I feel very proud to be the mayor of Kansas City.”

4. Los Angeles

The Americana at Brand & the Grove at Farmers Market

Height: 100 feet (each)

   Los Angeles will never have a white Christmas, but that’s not stopping Angelenos from showing off the country’s tallest pair of cut trees. Yes, two. This year, a pair of majestic 100-foot-tall white firs were trucked down from northern California’s Mount Shasta and adorned with 10,000 lights and 15,000 decorations—apiece, that is. One goes up at the Grove at Farmers Market near West Hollywood, the other in nearby Glendale.

3. Anthem, Ariz.

The Outlets

Height: 110 feet

   That’s right—the country’s tallest cut Christmas tree isn’t found in New York City, D.C., or Chicago. This year, it’ll be standing in the suburb of Anthem, just north of Phoenix. The 110-foot white fir—imported from California—is decorated with two miles of lights and more than 3,000 ornaments. It took 14 workers to put this massive evergreen in place. Now through Christmas, Santa will greet visitors at his cottage next to the tree.

2. Ferndale, CA

“Victorian Village”

Height: 150 feet

   Year-round, the self-described “Victorian Village” of Ferndale, CA, looks like it was lifted from a Norman Rockwell painting. This hamlet in Humboldt County, near the state’s famous Redwoods, is prized by film directors for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture. Every winter since 1934, the fire department has decorated the spruce that grows at the end of Main Street. Can’t get there this season? There’s always next year. As an historical landmark, the town isn’t looking to change its traditions anytime soon.

1. Coeur d’Alene Resort, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene Resort

Height: 161 feet (and growing)

   Alas, neither Rockefeller Center nor Washington, D.C. can lay claim to America’s tallest Christmas tree. Rather, a little-known resort in Idaho called Coeur d’Alene has those bragging rights. At a whopping 161 feet, this record-holding grand fir is the tallest living Christmas tree in America. It’s so huge that the star on top is itself 10 feet tall. That’s bigger than the tree most people keep in their living rooms.


   Here's another one from goddesshobbies.blogspot.com .  They kind of remind me of the autumn holiday pumpkin garland.  These are something that's cheap and easy to make to set off your Christmas tree this holiday season.  Especially if you use metallic cardstock or even some old music sheets.  Good luck and enjoy!

Handcrafted Holiday ~ Paper Ball Ornaments
   The kids and I have been making ornaments for the tree for about two weeks now. I can't wait to show you the files of the sweater mice... but I can't figure out how to upload the PDF file I made for the pattern. If anyone has ideas I would love them. ;)

   The other day on our advent calendar tag was 'making paper ball ornaments'. I saw a picture in a book (or on the net) of these and I thought they were just beautiful! They have been in my head ever since. Of course, I had stick with my theme and find a way to make them recycled. So I found the perfect medium... Old calendars!

 Georgia O'Keeffe and Sulamith Wulfing were my two top choices from our stash of old calendars, but the kids favorite was Mary Engelbreit. She has some really neat patterns around the outsides of her calendar pages that make very fun ornaments!

You need:

Old calendars or metallic cardstock
a mini hole punch
ribbon for making a loop and
handing on the tree

1. Cut a bunch of 3 inch strips off the calendar picture. You can either keep them in order (so the ball has a distinct picture on it), or you can mix them up.

2. Take 5 or so and punch them with the hole punch on both ends like the picture above. Then, still holding them in your hand, put the brad, but do not butterfly. Do the same with the remaining paper strips until you have a little stack with brads at both ends. When you have quite a few, then butterfly the brad so they stay secure.

3. Slowly spread them out, like so:


4. Arrange them how you want being careful not to rip the strips and viola!

5. We are tying fishing line to the brad at the top of each ornament and then putting Christmas tree hooks through the fishing line. They are making a BEAUTIFUL addition to our recycled tree!


   This recipe is from www.marthastewart.com.  What doesn't go better for a Thanksgiving dessert than chocolate and pumpkin??  Nothing I can think of at this moment.  Make this for one of your holiday happenings and I guarantee there won't be any left over or to take home.

   Chocolate shows up in three guises throughout this dressed-up pumpkin pie. A layer of bittersweet chocolate coats the cinnamon-spiced graham cracker crust, semisweet chocolate adds depth and smoothness to the pumpkin custard filling, and melted milk chocolate is drizzled over the top just before serving. Make this pie the day before Thanksgiving (minus the milk chocolate topping) to give the filling time to set in the refrigerator.

Yield Serves 12


  • For the Filling

    • 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
    • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably 55 percent cacao), chopped
    • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
    • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
    • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • Ground cloves
    • 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted


  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute. Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  3. Make the filling: In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
  5. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. Serve immediately.


   The ship 'Mayflower' has played a very significant role in the history of Thanksgiving, because it was the historic ship that took the Pilgrims to America in 1620. The pilgrims were basically the fortune hunters, bound for the resourceful 'New World'. And the 'Mayflower' was a small ship crowded with men, women and children besides the sailors on board. The first record available about the ship 'Mayflower' is somewhere in 1609. At that time it was a merchant ship, which traveled to Baltic ports, most notably Norway.
   At that time, that is around 1609, Christopher Nichols, Richard Child, Thomas Short, and Christopher Jones owned the Mayflower. The weight of this ship was about 180 tons and it rested in Harwich. Initially this ship was employed for the purpose of transportation of goods such as tar, lumber, fish and possibly some Greenland whaling. But later on this ship was employed in Mediterranean wine and spice trading.
   In 1620 Thomas Weston, John Carver and Robert Cushman hired two ships. One of them was the 'Mayflower' and the other was the 'Speedwell'. They hired these two ships in order to undertake a voyage to plant a colony in Northern Virginia. But later it was found that the Speedwell was a leaky ship. Therefore the Speedwell could not be a part of the famous voyage with the Mayflower.

   When the Mayflower took the Pilgrims to New England in 1620, the captain of this ship was Christopher Jones. The ship was anchored off the tip of Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. During that year winter season the Mayflower stayed in America. And the crew on this ship also suffered the harsh effects of the first winter just as the Pilgrims did, with almost half dying.
   The Mayflower started sailing for home on April 5, 1621, and it arrived back on May 6, 1621. The ship Mayflower made a few more trading runs to the places such as Spain and Ireland and finally it traded to France. However the captain of this special ship, Christopher Jones, died shortly thereafter.
   After the death of the captain the ship Mayflower lay inoperative for about next two years. And then it was appraised for probate and its value was determined to be around £128-08-04, which seems to be an extremely low value for this ship. However the fact is that had this ship been in sailing condition its value would have been around £700.
   This probate inventory is the last record of the ship 'Mayflower'. As the ship was not in very good sailing condition, it was called 'in ruins' by the High Court of Admiralty record (HCA 3/30, folio 227) written in Latin in 1624. The ships in the 'in ruins' condition were considered more valuable as wood, which was in shortage in England at the time. Therefore the Mayflower was most likely to be broken apart and sold as scrap. Though there is no evidence that the Mayflower ended up as the Jordan's barn but it is believed that it has become a tourist trap.

   There were many ships, which were known by the name of 'Mayflower' because it was a very common name for the ships. And another common thing was that other ships with this name also made trips to New England, as did this historic ship - Mayflower. But what makes this 'Mayflower' different from other 'Mayflowers' is the fact that the Pilgrims used this 'Mayflower' to complete their historic journey to America.