How to be Your Own Santa

How many times have you done this: you’re out doing some holiday shopping and you come across something you absolutely love.  “Well,” you say to yourself, “I’ll just buy this as a gift to myself.”  Some people even buy their own gifts, wrap them, and put them under the tree and act surprised on Christmas morning when they see what “Santa” has brought them.  Being your own Santa isn’t anything to be ashamed of, though.  There are a number of reasons for doing it, and being your own Santa is very easy.

Sometimes, couples will actually agree to buy gifts together instead of purchasing things for each other and keeping them a secret until Christmas.  For example, they might decide together that they need to buy a new car or purchase a new large appliance for their home.  Other couples might decide to take a vacation together and count that as their Christmas gift to each other.  Some even decide to set aside a certain amount of money for each to spend on themselves.

Being your own Santa doesn’t mean you have to wrap up your gifts or anything like that.  Simply set aside some money to treat yourself with this holiday season.  Don’t worry about what others think.  Yes, some people who act as their own Santa don’t have a huge number of friends or relatives from whom they receive gifts.  Others, though, have huge families, but they still like the idea of playing Santa for themselves when they see something they like.

One fun way of being your own Santa is to send yourself a lovely Christmas bouquet in Washington, D.C.  You can even use it as part of your holiday décor if you need a reason to justify sending it to yourself!

Holiday Traditions, Old and New

There are many different holiday traditions for you and your family to choose from.  Some people love the older traditions, the ones that have been around for decades, if not centuries.  Others like more modern traditions, and some families even start their own traditions that are a little different from everyone else’s.  If you’d like to add a tradition to your Christmas, here are a few options, some old, some new.

Some holiday traditions are so old that they’ve become integral to the holiday season.  These include putting up a Christmas tree, hanging stockings, and lighting the Menorah.  These traditions depend on the holiday you celebrate, of course.  The idea of exchanging gifts is common to all of them, and even those who aren’t religious exchange gifts during the holiday season.

Having a family gathering and eating a large meal is another family tradition.  Turkey and ham are often served, although those who really love old traditions will get a Christmas goose.  Apple cider, eggnog, gingerbread cookies, and fruitcake are other traditional food and drink that you might want to include in your Christmas menu.

If you’ve got young children, there are two popular traditions you may want to continue.  You could help them write a letter to Santa asking for gifts (and in some places, even mail it or have it printed in the local paper).  Another tradition is to help your young ones put together a plate of milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.  The story says that he gets very hungry and thirsty delivering all those gifts, so a nice snack is appreciated.  Of course, be sure that “Santa” eats the snack before Christmas morning.

While gifts are usually opened on Christmas morning, some families have a tradition of allowing the children to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  Some split Christmas visits and will go to mom’s family on Christmas Eve and dad’s on Christmas Day in order to have more time to visit.

Some more recent Christmas traditions involve watching holiday movies.  Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life are just a few movies that have become family traditions.

Another tradition is attending a performance of The Nutcracker ballet or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Instead of buying gifts for everyone, some families do a secret Santa game.  There are several variations.  In one, each person puts their name in a hat.  Then everyone draws a name, and that’s the person you buy a gift for.  In other families, it’s more of a “dirty” Santa game—everyone brings a gift that many people would enjoy.  Then family members draw numbers and open gifts in that order.  The twist is that the next person to open a gift also has the choice of stealing someone else’s already-opened gift.

While poinsettias are the traditional Christmas flower, there are many amazing arrangements for this holiday.  We can help you with all of your Christmas flower needs in Washington, DC!

Caring for Poinsettia Plants

The poinsettia is perhaps the flower most associated with Christmas.  This tradition seems to have originated in South and Central America, where the poinsettia was a favorite flower of the Aztecs.  It later became associated with Christmas in Mexican culture due to its bright red color.  In the early 1800s, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, saw the flowers on a Christmas altar and asked to take some poinsettia seeds back home with him.  He then grew poinsettias for local churches to use on Christmas.  When he first started passing around flowers, people referred to them as Poinsett’s plants, which later was shortened to poinsettia.

Unlike bouquets of cut flowers, which will last several weeks if taken care of, poinsettias can actually last months!  However, you have to be very careful that these flowers do not get exposed to the cold.  Here are a few tips for taking care of a poinsettia:

•    Poinsettias only need about six hours of light a day. Bright, indirect sunlight is the best.

•    Make sure the plant doesn’t touch a cold window.  Even a little exposure to the cold can damage the plant.

•    Don’t place the poinsettia anywhere where it will get hit by a draft, hot or cold.  Heat from a radiator or heating vent can be just as damaging as a draft of cold wind coming in the door.

•    Poinsettias thrive in daytime temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a nighttime temperature of 55 degrees.  Higher temperatures will make the plant wilt sooner, so you may want to move it to a cooler area at night if you can.

•    Give your poinsettia some plant fertilizer once a month, but don’t fertilize it when it’s blooming.

•    Water the poinsettia only when the soil is dry.  Also, make sure excess water can drain out of the soil so that the plant doesn’t get too much water.  Once the excess water drains out, be sure to empty the saucer.  Don’t let the poinsettia sit in water.

•    If your home is fairly dry, you may want to use a mister on your poinsettia.  They are tropical flowers and love humid conditions.

•    Poinsettias tend to be susceptible to whitefly infestation.  If you see tiny white spots on the plant that fly off when you move the poinsettia, your plant is infested.  Some insecticidial soap or indoor pesticide will get rid of them.

That’s about all there is to it!  If your diligent, your poinsettia might even last all year round, although there’s no guarantee that it will bloom again next Christmas (they’re finicky like that!).

Need a poinsettia or other holiday bouquet?  We’ve got a large selection of Christmas flowers in Washington, DC.

Have a Very Merry Christmas

Christmas is this weekend!  Are you ready?  Well, whether you are or not, it’s here!  So bake those cookies, put the Christmas goose (or turkey or ham) in the oven, and finish wrapping all your gifts.

Christmas may seem like one of those times where, after so much preparation and work, the actual day falls flat.  After all, it’s just one day, and it can be over with very quickly.  Even if you do a lot on Christmas Eve and then spend all of Christmas Day with family, it’s still just a short 48 hour period.  However, it can be a great two days, especially if you get to visit with relatives you don’t see often.

You might also find that those perfect gifts you spent hours shopping for don’t quite go over as well as you hoped.  Don’t let this get you down.  Remember that it’s the thought that truly counts, and even if people don’t seem as excited as you’d hoped they’d be, they still appreciate the fact that you got them something.  Keep this in mind, too, for when you open a gift that doesn’t really excite you.

No matter how quickly or slowly the holiday season has gone, remember the reason we gather: to be together with those we love.  We might see them on a daily basis, we might only see them at Christmas, but no matter what, spending the day with them is amazing.  Enjoy the great food, the fun conversation, and the spirit of the holidays!  Have a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at MyFlorist!

Skip the Crowds This Season

One of the worst aspects of the holiday season is the crowds.  Shopping may be fun, but waiting in long lines to check out or pushing your way down overcrowded aisles is no fun at all.  This year, skip the crowds by shopping online, and you’ll find your holidays aren’t quite as stressful.

Now, you may be saying “but it’s the week of Christmas!  There’s no way we can shop online and get our items by the weekend!”  That is true for some sites; however, it is possible to shop online and get your items if you pay for expedited shipping.  You’ll pay more, true, but you will be able to avoid the crowds.

In some cases, though, you can order online and not worry about paying for expedited shipping.  Some retailers allow you to purchase items and then pick them up in the store.  If the store has your items already in stock, all you have to do is print your receipt and then go pick them up.  You’re basically asking the store to set the items aside for you.  While not every retailer will do this, the ones that do can make your shopping excursions easier.

You can also shop online for items that are always delivered in a few days or instantly available.  These include things like flowers, baked goods, some gift certificates, and digital downloads.  If you order your Christmas flowers from us, for example, we will deliver them towards the end of the week so they will be fresh for your Christmas table.  Food you purchase online, especially food that needs to be delivered fresh or refrigerated, is also often delivered within a few days.

Some stores offer gift certificates delivered through email.  You purchase them online, they email you the certificate, and then you print it out and give it to the recipient.  It’s very quick and easy.  Likewise, if you’re buying a computer program or other digital download, you often get emailed the code or information regarding downloading the item right away.  It’s done in just a few clicks, and there are no crowds to deal with!

As you can see, even if you haven’t ordered online yet, there’s still time to get some items without paying for fast shipping.  Just don’t wait until the day before!

Christmas Party Planning Ideas

Are you hosting a Christmas party this year?  If so, you may be feeling a little stressed.  Have you started planning yet?  It doesn’t have to be crazy if you put a little thought into it.  Here are some Christmas party planning ideas that may make your holiday gathering easier to pull together.

If you’re doing a gift exchange, decide on the rules.  Is everyone buying for everyone else?  Are you doing a Dirty Santa game?  What kind of dollar amount should each person spend on a gift?

Are you having a full meal, finger foods, or just snacks?  Decide what, if anything, your guests should bring.  Plan out your menu and make what you can ahead of time.  Be sure to include some healthy snacks for those who don’t want to eat a lot of sweets or may have a restrictive diet.  Also be sure to have a variety of beverages, too.

What type of entertainment will you have?  Some people like to play games or dance at their parties.  Space may be an issue for dancing, but if you have a large table or several folding tables, you and your guests can enjoy board or card games.  Some people forgo games and just have a gathering where people can talk and visit.  You can also lead your guests in Christmas carols, or just have some soft music playing in the background.

Will your party have a theme or central aspect to it?  Some people like to base their parties around the gift exchange, but for others, the meal is the important part.  Some parties involve watching a holiday classic or going out to see Christmas lights.

Are kids coming to your Christmas party?  If so, you’ll want to have activities for them to do.  This may include watching a kid’s holiday show in another room or playing games.  If the weather permits, kids can even make snowmen or have a snowball fight while the adults talk.  Of course, make sure all kid activities have the proper supervision.

Keep the decorations simple with bowls of red cranberries, evergreen boughs placed around the buffet area with cinammon snd small ornaments.  Consider ordering a pretty Christmas centerpiece from your favorite florist.

Don’t get stressed out over your Christmas party.  Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  Be sure to leave yourself a little time between all the preparations and the actual party to rest, or even take a quick nap, so you’ll be refreshed when your guests arrive.

Gift Giving Suggestions and Tips

Tis the season to be jolly…and to do a lot of shopping.  While some people don’t get into the gift-giving that comes with the holiday season, many people do at least exchange small trinkets.  However, there’s a certain amount of stress that goes with giving gifts, especially if you don’t know what to buy a person or are on a limited budget.  However, there are a few ways you can make your Christmas gift giving a little easier.

•    Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts for, what your budget is, and what you’re going to get them, if you know.  This will help ensure you don’t spend way more than you were planning, and it will also help save you time.  You won’t be wondering aimlessly around the mall looking at things—you’ll have a plan!

•    Shop early if possible.  Waiting until the last minute means dealing with crowds and facing the possibility of not finding what you want.

•    Shopping online also makes the holiday season less of a pain.  However, again it’s very important to shop early.  Otherwise, you may have to either pay for fast shipping or wait until after Christmas to give your gift.

•    If you have family or friends spread across the country, it’s usually convenient to send a Christmas centerpiece with flowers, a poinsettia, or even a fresh, decorated Christmas wreath from a local florist.  In the DC Metro areas, check out MyFlorist’s Christmas flowers, centerpieces and poinsettias.

•    Don’t be afraid to ask someone for gift ideas.  It’s better that you ask than get them something they already have or don’t need.

•    Keep all your receipts just in case, especially when buying electronics (something may be defective), fragile items (things can get broken while being shelved in the store), and clothing (not all brands are sized the same).

•    Food is always a good gift, especially if you know what someone likes.  Desserts, cheese, and candy are hard to beat.  Be certain the person doesn’t have a medical condition and needs to avoid certain food, of course.  A bottle of wine is also a good gift for some people.

•    Gift cards aren’t always a bad idea, and they aren’t always seen as impersonal.  For those who often eat out, a gift card to a restaurant would be appreciated.  College students might enjoy a gift card to Starbucks.  Instead of guessing what books someone might want, get them a gift card to a bookstore.

•    You don’t have to buy all of your gifts.  If you knit or crochet, make someone a hat, scarf, or blanket.  Scrapbooks are great gifts, too, as are original pieces of art.  Get creative!  Sometimes, in fact, handmade gifts are much more personal and touching than something bought at a store.

The Spirit of Christmas


What is the spirit of Christmas?
What is the spirit of Christmas?

nd this time of year, many people start talking about the spirit of Christmas.  But while it’s talked about often in a general sense, few people really take the time to define what the spirit of Christmas really is.  We’re just expected to know, it seems like.  What does it mean to have the Christmas spirit?

One of the reasons the spirit of Christmas is so hard to define is because it’s a very personal thing.  Ask ten people what they believe the spirit of Christmas is and you’ll get at least a dozen different answers.  Of course, saying that the Christmas spirit is something you have to discover for yourself is something of a cop-out.  Here are a few ideas as to what the spirit of Christmas is all about.

For some, it’s all about being with friends and family.  This is especially true for those who live far from their family and rarely see them.  Gathering with their relatives, exchanging gifts, eating great food, and just being together fills their hearts with love and joy.  You don’t have to live far from your family for this to be your Christmas spirit.  In fact, you might live with several of your family members and still make them the central part of Christmas.

For others, the spirit of Christmas is religious.  They find their happiness in attending a Christmas church service and in sharing in the spirit of their religion with others.  This sharing and feeling of community is very important, especially to those who may not have close family or friends. 

Another meaning of the spirit of Christmas is in giving to those who are in need.  Helping out at a soup kitchen on Christmas Day, donating warm clothing to the homeless, or even giving a few dollars to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers who stand outside the mall gives some people that warm, happy feeling often associated with the spirit of Christmas. 

These are just three possible things that the spirit of Christmas can be.  They may not be what you consider the Christmas spirit, and that’s certainly OK.  However, it may give your holiday season a little more meaning if you take a few minutes and consider what the spirit of Christmas is to you.

The Poinsettia Tradition Continues

A Christmas Tradition: Poinsettias
A Christmas Tradition: Poinsettias

Christmas has a number of traditions: trimming the tree, singing carols, and looking at amazing light displays are just a few of them.  When it comes to flowers, traditionally at Christmas time we see a lot of poinsettias.  Of course, that tradition will continue with Christmas 2010 (and, of course, MyFlorist is standing by to handle all of your poinsettia needs!).

But where did this Christmas tradition come from?  It appears that the poinsettia originated in South and Central America and was a favorite flower of the Aztecs.  It later became associated with Christmas in Mexican culture due to its bright red color.  In the early 1800s, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, saw the flowers on a Christmas altar and asked to take some poinsettia seeds back home with him.  He then grew poinsettias for local churches to use on Christmas.  Soon, the tradition spread. 

The name of the ambassador and the flower are indeed connected.  When he first started passing around flowers, people referred to them as Poinsett’s plants, which later was shortened to poinsettia.



Make it Easy: Shop Online

Shopping online is very easy
Shopping online is very easy

The holiday season is here, and that means many people are out at the stores shopping for gifts.  It can be crazy out there!  You often have to park miles from the doors (or so it seems, especially if it’s really cold) and then you’ve got to fight through the crowds to find what you want.  Even if you do brave the crowds, you may get to the store only to find the gifts you wanted are sold out.  This holiday season, why not make it easy?  Shop online.

There are many great benefits to shopping online.  First of all, there’s no parking lot to walk through.  You don’t have to get out in the cold or worry about driving in the snow or on icy roads.  Instead of bundling up in a big, bulking coat and putting on gloves, a hat, and a scarf, you can sit back in your pajamas and buy gifts from the comfort of your own home.  If you have a laptop and wireless internet, you can even shop in bed! 

No crowds is another great advantage.  Why try to push your way through a store when you can scroll through that store’s inventory online?  It’s so easy to add items to your online cart, check out, and sit back and wait for your gifts to be delivered right to your doorstep.  Online stores often have more items in stock, too, since they can ship directly from large warehouses, whereas department stores are limited by space.

Some people are a bit hesitant to shop online despite how easy it is.  They worry about their items not being delivered on time, for example.  This is usually not a problem if you do your shopping early enough (there’s no night before Christmas shopping online!).  However, most websites do offer two day shipping, so if you don’t mind paying a little extra, delivery isn’t a problem at all. 

Another thing that makes people hesitate is using their credit card online.  If you’re shopping on a reputable business’s website, you don’t have anything to fear.  These sites have superior security that means your information is encrypted with the latest encryption technology.  If you are still not comfortable, you can always shop through PayPal, which allows you to use credit cards or your bank account to pay for items.  PayPal is a very trusted site, and by using it, you only give your personal information out to one website.

While there are a few concerns to shopping online, the benefits far outweigh them.  So this holiday season, don’t put yourself through the crazy shopping experience.  Make it easy: shop online!  Of course, you can order your holiday flowers directly from MyFlorist on our website, so be sure to check it out.