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USO Holiday Boxes

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When you think of the United Service Organizations [or USO], you may immediately think of USO tours, during which the USO sends entertainers to perform for American soldiers stationed around the world—from Japan to the Persian Gulf to the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Past performers include Bob Hope, Robin Williams, Lena Horne, Johnny Unitas, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Steve Martin, the Sesame Street crew, and many more.

While the USO tours are fantastic, the USO actually does so much more. The USO has been around since 1941, and the mission of this nonprofit is to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families.” From arranging USO tours to sending care packages to offering support with health issues to delivering prepaid international phone cards to the soldiers, the USO is succeeding in their mission.

One particular way you can help the USO brighten the troops’ spirits this Christmas is by donating so that they may send USO Holiday Boxes. Specifically for soldiers in remote locations who do not have access to traditional USO centres, these boxes contain holiday decorations, edible goodies, and more for 50 troops. The USO offers boxes for four different holidays, and the winter box includes:

  • Snowflake decorations & holiday lights
  • Seasonal greeting cards
  • Holiday CDs & DVDs
  • Popcorn, plus other holiday treats & candy
  • Hand & feet warmers
  • Holiday-scented air freshener
  • New Year’s decorations

For more information on the holiday boxes, visit the USO website or contact a USO representative.

The World’s Largest Gingerbread Town

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Pepperkakebyen - Bergen Sentrum
Photo Source:

Gingerbread houses and cookies are a fun Christmas treat that folks around the globe enjoy every holiday season. The citizens of Bergen, Norway have turned these tasty treats into an immaculate display—a gingerbread town (or Pepperkakebyen), which is a replica of the city of Bergen. Since 1991 children and adults alike participate in this annual Christmas tradition. The Pepperkakebyen is filled with all types of gingerbread structures, such as buildings, houses, cars, trains, and ships.

The Pepperkakebyen is open from November 22–December 31, 2014. To find out more information about admission and hours, view their website. You can view more photos on the city’s Facebook page or on Instagram using hashtag #bergensentrum.


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Etsy Item of the Day: Return Address Labels

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We all have several Christmas cards to send out every year, so why not add a festive return address label to your envelopes? If you’ve already sent out all your Christmas cards, go ahead and check out all the other whimsical labels from this Etsy shop. You’ll find labels, hang tags, and stickers for your holiday gifts, like baked goods, gable boxes, wine bottles, and more.
Return Address Labels

Etsy Seller: Stick ‘em up! Labels

That Evergreen Scent… Delivered Straight to Your Door

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For those of you who enjoy the scent and look of a fresh Christmas tree, but hate the hassle of hauling the tree home, have you considered having the tree delivered? No more fighting holiday traffic or worrying about the tree’s needles scratching your car—simply order the tree and have it delivered while you’re cozy at home.

Check out the companies below located around the United States and the world that will deliver Christmas trees straight to your home or business.

Green Valley Christmas Trees – Continental USA

Offering a wide variety of Christmas trees—such as Fraser fir, noble fir, balsam fir, and Nordmann fir—Green Valley delivers all across the continental United States. [Free ground shipping on all products!] Besides trees, they also sell live wreaths and garlands.

Contact Green Valley at 888.48.TREES [888.488.7337] or head over to their website for more info.

Tree Elves – Atlanta

Based in Atlanta, GA, Tree Elves will bring you a small, medium, or large Fraser fir, along with 4 King of Pops popsicles [yum!]. After the holidays, Tree Elves will pick up your tree and take it to a farm where it will be turned into compost and added to the soil to help grow fruit. For every tree purchased, Tree Elves will plant a native Georgia tree, such as red maple or eastern red cedar.

For more info, ring Tree Elves at 678.732.9321 or visit

Christmas Trees Delivered – London

Selling trees for more than 30 years, London-based Christmas Trees Delivered distributes Norway spruce, noble fir, and Nordmann fir to the inner postcodes. They also offer table top trees, poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and fresh garland. For an additional £15, Christmas Trees Delivered will collect and recycle your tree.

Questions? Call 020 7529 8161 or check out their website.

Tyler’s Trees – NYC

Located in New York City, Tyler’s Trees offers Fraser firs from 5 to 9 feet. Every tree order includes delivery, installation, a tree stand, and tree skirt. For additional fees, they will even decorate your tree or come remove it after the holidays.

To learn more, call 646.543.0861 or visit

EZ Tree – Toronto

Servicing the Greater Toronto Area, EZ Tree delivers Fraser firs from 5'-12' in either #1 grade or premium grade. Also available are protective floor mats and tree stands, as well as a tree disposal service.

Contact EZ Trees at 416.358.3923 or check out their website.

A Paper Folding Tradition for 40+ Years

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At the American Museum of Natural History, their Origami Holiday Tree has been an annual tradition for more than 40 years. The tree is a whopping 13 feet tall and displays more than 800 origami ornaments—each one folded by hand! Origami artists from all over the world assist in making the plethora of paper models for the tree. The theme for this year’s tree is Origami Night at the Museum, inspired by the film Night at the Museum.

The 2014 Origami Holiday Tree will be on display from November 24, 2014 through January 11, 2015.

Here are some images from 2013’s holiday tree. The theme for 2013 was Wicked, Wild and Wonderful and was inspired by The Power of Poison exhibit at the museum.

Photo Credit: AMNH/R. Mickens

Photo Credit: AMNH/R. Mickens

Photo Credit: AMNH/R. Mickens

Photo Credit: AMNH/R. Mickens

For more information, please visit the American Museum of Natural History website, or contact them at:

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100


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Etsy Item of the Day: Handmade Salt & Pepper Shakers

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I would love to have a beautiful set of salt and pepper shakers, such as this handmade set. I like the icy blue tones, the varying depths of color, and how the branches’ tips look like snow has just fallen. These sculptural evergreens stand 4.5" tall and come with a matching tray. They are so pretty that your dinner guests may mistake them for decorations! ;)
Handmade Salt & Pepper Shakers

Etsy Seller: Blue Sky Pottery
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