Exotic Flowers in Boston
It's that time of year where we just can't wait to get the boxes of ornaments and tinsel down from the attic eaves and decorate the star of Christmas-our tree! Many might believe that selecting any old variety will do and that there really isn’t much of a difference with the acceptation of cost but I can assure you that this is simply not true. Trees come in a large selection of breeds and with a versatile array of characteristics including size, smell, shape and branch dispersion. So if you want to be an educated arbor buyer this season, learn more about the choices you have and pick a tree that is perfect for you and your family. Keep in mind that not all trees are grown in the New England region, so it is important to know as much as you can beforehand.
The balsam fir is not only a New England tradition, but the best selling Christmas Tree at Exotic Flowers in Boston. Most Balsam firs sold in the Boston area come from Nova Scotia. The balsam fir has strong branches and beautiful scent. This fragrant Christmas tree evokes all types of wonderful Christmas memories.
photo credit: blog.honestabe.com
The Douglas Fir is one of the more higher in demand Christmas trees on lots because of its desirable pyramid shape and full body display. The coloring of the tree is blue and green with a grey trunk that adapts as it ages, a feature that I believe exacerbates the beauty of holiday lights and brightly decorated ornaments. An interesting fact about the Douglas Fir is that it remains the most frequently requested tree variety for shipment to exotic places such as Guam, Maui and countries within Asia. This tree also holds the characteristic of longevity so if you are the type who loves to put up their Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving and keep it up for weeks past; this is the right tree for you!
This species is native to New England and enjoys being grown in colder climates, which makes this tree a solid choice for the frigid temperatures of Boston. Since the Douglas Fir is commonly grows in nearby and comparative regions, it is usually well priced and affordable for our Christmas budgets since there is a natural abundance of them. Other desirable traits include a strong pine perfume and needles that change from green to white as the needles grow from top to bottom. Another alluring factor is that the trees are sometimes cut at shorter heights making them perfect for smaller rooms or apartments. The Fraser Fir makes my top three list because it was my first Christmas tree, in my first apartment, on my first Christmas-a holiday that I fondly remember. The fraser fir is always the hoice at the White House.
I love this breed and can attest that it is aptly named since its appearance is completely reflective in the description, “noble”. Native to the woods and mountains of Oregon and California, you will want to make sure that the trunk is freshly cut since this variety has been trucked from the other side of the country for our special holiday season. Consisting of pretty blue and green needles, the Noble Fir is idyllic for hanging ornaments since the branches curl up with an upward congruent to a cupped hand. The branches are often adequately separated to showcase several baubles and the tree usually has a body that is filled robustly with aromatic pine needles providing a lovely yuletide fragrance for your home. The Noble Fir is my husband's favorite tree.
Suzie Canale, Westwood Public Library, October 2014.
Suzie puts her Christmas tree up every year on December 11th, her son Lance's birthday.
We all know there are a million things to get done during the month of December in order to prepare for one of the biggest holidays of the year, Christmas! Our lists are long and we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed with trying to accomplish an impossible tally of tasks, at the end feeling apprehensive, uneasy and exhausted. Well, that’s not the way the holiday season should be at all! Christmas is about being together and enjoying the special spirit the yuletide season summons in all of us. So how do we fix the Christmas frenzy of anxiety? We get organized with a simple calendar that will help us get all of our undertakings accomplished while still having fun and enjoying Christmas for all of the magic that it brings. Here is a schedule that works for me but design yours to suit your specific needs and agenda.
December 1st Break out the Christmas Advent for the Kids. Lego offers a really cute one with a new mini set daily.
December 2nd Begin preparing the house for decorations by storing excess clutter
December 3rd Lights go up outside - white lights are my favorite!
December 4th My husband's birthday. The Christmas Wreath is hung on the door and the Christmas cards are addressed. The Jimmy Fund offers beautiful holiday cards that Exotic Flowers send to its top clients.
December 5th Make a complete list of gifts for family and friends. It’s better to plan
ahead to defer from going over the budget.
December 6th Bake a cranberry pie and put in freezer to be stored until Christmas
for last minute hostess dessert needs.
December 7th String the rest of the cranberries for garland. They are beautiful on
December 8th Gingerbread House Project Day! One of the kid’s favorite activities!
December 9th Make sure the kids have made their last and final version of their
Christmas lists. You don’t want any new wish list surprises popping
up any later…
December 10th The tree arrives! Put in stand with water to allow the branches to
December 11th My son Lance's birthday. We have a tradition of putting up ours today. The tree is ready to be decorated with lights, tinsel, popcorn strands and ornaments!
December 12th Buy Christmas pajamas for everyone! Decorate the hearth with
candles and balsam garland.
December 13th Christmas bonuses for the mailman and paperboy.
December 14th Buy the wine for the holiday table.
photo credit: honeyandjam.com
December 15th Bake sugar cookies for the neighbors and package those that are to
be given as small gifts.
December 16th Donate items to the local soup kitchen for their holiday feasts.
make sure to include some children’s books for the kids.
December 17th Finish up any last minute Christmas present shopping and be
December 18th Plan your menu for Christmas dinner including everything
from the main course to the dessert. Don’t forget the rolls!
December 19th Finish wrapping all of the presents and hide them in the attic.
December 20th Pick up the floral centerpiece from Exotic Flowers in Boston
December 21st Brace yourself-its grocery store shopping day for your holiday
December 22nd Grab stocking stuffers at CVS- make sure you don’t forget the
December 23rd Prepare the side dishes that can be refrigerated. Get as much of
the cooking done as early as possible!
December 24th Christmas stockings are hung by the fire and cookies and milk are
left by the fireplace for Santa Claus.
December 25th Christmas Day-Enjoy the holiday with friends and family!
Suzie Canale at Fenway Park with her boys May 2014.
Suzie will be celebrating this Christmas with her familly at her home in Westwood, MA.
Did you ever decorate your home with Christmas garland for the holidays ? If not, now is the time to start your own tradition. Live evergreen garland can decorate banisters, light poles, mantles and doorways. Although garland can be artificial, the staff at Exotic Flowers firmly believes in fresh evergreen garland. We often say, 'real garland means real Christmas.'
Christmas garland can be ornate or simple. Some use simple long needled white pine roping. Some Bostonians look for mixed greenery which includes balsam fir, noble fir and berries. Some even add light strings to their garland. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we offer all the ingredients for Christmas garland. We even install holiday garland in homes in Boston, Canton, Brookline and Beacon Hill.
Evergreen garland often comes in twenty and thirty foot rolls. Of course we can sell you any length your home requires. Fresh evergreen garland not only enhances the beauty of your home but also brings the scent of Christmas into your home.
photo credit Flower Factor
Evergreen swags are another great option to decorate for Christmas. Swags are made from evergreen sprigs tied together. Swags in the Boston area are created with Balsam fir, Cedar, boxwood and a combination of berries and cones. Swags are often hung vertically with a bow added for color. You can hang a swag anywhere you would hang a wreath; of course the front door is most popular. The swag is often the most economical alternative to a wreath.
Another great idea for decorating the outside of your Boston home for Christmas are mixed evergreen planters. In place of pots filled with geraniums, the staff at Exotic Flowers will install mixed evergreen planters on your front steps. These planters often include balsam fir, fraser fir, cedar, pine cones and white birch. The best part of these planters is their durability. They often decorate the front steps of Boston area homes throughout the winter.
Did you ever play the game padiddle/perdiddle ? The beauty of the night time car game is a way to compete with friends during long or short drives. The Christmas tree car game is very similar but you can play both day and night.
Start your own holiday tradition with the Christmas tree car game. I had never heard of the game or even played before last year. My son and wife introduced me to this fun and festive game.
During the holidays Christmas trees can be found from Boston to Belchertown. On my twenty minute commute to work at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, I pass by five places who sell Christmas trees; including Louie the Florist, Exotic Flowers, Walk Hill Florist, Allandale Farm and Flowerland.
The Christmas Tree Car Game can be played with two or more players. All one needs to do is see a car on the road with a Christmas tree on its roof and call out 'tree,'. A running tally can be kept all month long. Right now I have four points, my son has nine and my wife has six. What a great way to start your own Christmas tradition.
You can even have a point system if you know your Christmas trees. You could offer bonus points for living Christmas trees or snow flocked trees. Like padiddle where a police car is huge bonus points, how about huge points for a double Christmas tree car or a game ender if you see the Griswold family Christmas tree.
Every Saturday, the Society of American Florists (SAF) offers sales tips to floral industry professionals. This week, Katie Hendrick shares some holiday sales tips from Exotic Flowers in Boston.
Inexpensive Perks Keep Customers Merry
by Katie Hendrick
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, convenience and customer appreciation define the company's holiday marketing philosophy. We reached out to Rick Canale, owner of the 2008 Marketer of the Year-winning shop, for some tactics to get customers in the door and spending money, amidst all their other shopping activity.
Here are just a few of them:
- Sell Christmas trees and wreaths to generate in-store traffic
- Provide snacks – popcorn and candy canes – to keep tired shoppers in good spirits
- Offer complimentary containers of hand sanitizer (to keep cold and flu germs at bay). The Exotic Flowers version has "Red Sox World Series Champions" emblazoned on it.
- Send letters reminding customers of the previous year's holiday order with a personal letter. ("This gets great feedback," Canale said. "People appreciate reminders and they really love the personalization of the letter.")
- Hand deliver poinsettias to top 100 clients.
- Hand sign cards to top 200 clients.
My wife Suzie always take our Christmas tree down on December 26th. The fear of fire, the pile of needles and the confinements of our small house all lead to the immediate break down of Christmas at our home in Chestnut Hill. We do still enjoy our Christmas tree outside for a couple more weeks. Our tree stands in its Christmas tree stand without decorations on our stairs landing. The plethora of birds in our neighborhood frequent this new found shelter. If you like visiting birds, you can smear the smaller branches of your own reused Christmas tree with peanut butter and adhere bird seed to create a grand fir bird feeder.
If you live in Boston, we are very fortunate. Boston trash and recycling picks up everything including the kitchen sink. You do not even to have undecorate your Christmas tree. You could take the whole tree with lights, ornaments and the Christmas tree stand to the sidewalk and the boys from Capital will dispose of it properly. If you have any shed of decency and wish to do the right thing, then strip your tree bare. Leave the tree on the sidewalk and let the Boston's magic tree elves do their business. These trees can be mulched and composted where their remains are then recycled right into the environment. Christmas trees are also used to deter beach erosion and also provide shelter for animals in the harsh winters of New England.
You could also save your Christmas tree in your backyard too. Remove the boughs and use them to shelter your more tender perennials and bulb beds. Let the trunk dry out until next winter and cut up for fire wood. Please refrain from using the wood indoors or your outdoor fire pit this year. The tree is still green and will smoke profusely.
Some other great tips for reusing your Christmas tree include:
Cut about two feet off your tree from top or bottom or both. This is a great shelter for rabbits and an even better activity area for the energetic Boston squirrel.
If you need Christmas scent year round, then fill a sachet with pine needles. Your drawers will be filled with fragrant evergreen scent year round.
Holiday Happiness by Rich Salvaggio
And poinsettias brighten the spirit
Flames cavorting in the hearth
With boughs of holly draped along the mantel
And mistletoe dangling, tempting
Capturing kisses, giggles, and sparks!
“Reprinted with permission from Flowers And Profits – Rich Salvaggio”
The Christmas season is filled with hope and possibilities. The season of wishes and dreams forces us to extend the season as long as we can; hence the arrival of Christmas music on Boston radio on November 11. In Boston, we hang garland, bake cookies and even mount Christmas wreaths on our cars. The aroma of vanilla, pine and cinnamon brings us back to our childhood. Even Boston brides try to recreate Christmas magic for their weddings.
Christmas is all about lights. Twinkle lights, LED lights, twinkle lights, sphere lights, musical lights. You can never have enough lights for Christmas in Boston. Lights can hang from the ceiling, on archways, over mantles and on trees outdoors and indoors. Not only electrical lights, but how about candle light ? Tea lights, hurricanes, tapers, pillars or even battery operated candles will create Christmas romance for your wedding. Another favorite of mine is candle lighting your church with no electric light. Call up the fire marshall and illuminate your church with hundreds of candles along the aisle and altar.
Another essential for any Christmas wedding are evergreens; boughs, garland, wreaths, kissing balls and trees. Holiday garland beautifies chairs, banisters, mantles and can even be draped along the aisle of church pews. Christmas garland may also be accented with berries, pine cones and ornaments as well. Candle rings are also a cost effective centerpiece. A candle ring is just like a miniature Christmas wreath; add a cream pillar candle to the center and you are done. Christmas trees are also a great wedding prop. Six to ten Christmas with white twinke lights on a church altar will give you your own indoor forest. This tree scape is an ideal backdrop for timeless wedding photos.
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