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Holiday Amaryllis Trends

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 29, 2017


The holidays are a busy season for florists all over the city who are looking to improve past floral themes with fresh new designs each year.  While red and white roses are pretty much a staple through the month of December, certain varieties often pop up in popularity which freshen a traditional presentation into a contemporary arrangement.  In recent years, species such as freesia, phalaenopsis, privet berries and green frilly gerbera have graced the pages of industry magazines focusing on promoting a serene, effortless style.  Luckily, 2017 promises not to disappoint.  Instead of previous mixes of compact arrangements most commonly associated with the “globe” shape, technique is switching to a more architecture look using branches, berries and other lengthier stems that will bring more dynamic to the table.  One variety which is said to be the true highlight in most holiday centerpieces this year is the amaryllis.

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One of the reasons that keeps this flower around during the Christmas season is because of the multitude of styles you can use to create beautiful bouquets and arrangements.  Featured in this photo is an excellent example of how the amaryllis can be cleverly positioned as a stunning centerpiece.  Choose a tall, slender glass vase for the container and simply place the bunch inside with two inches of water at the bottom.  You’ll only need about five to seven stems to replicate this design and you’ll be pleased to see how long it lasts!


 

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Amaryllis

Easy to Make Floral Gifts for Christmas

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 27, 2017

Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we rejoice with others to spend time caroling, feasting and swapping gifts to express how much we care for one another.  For some, this season is a joyous time when the spirit invokes an ease of generosity towards family and friends while others have a hard time keeping inline within budget and cost restraints.  It can be stressful to say the least but the truth is, there are other ways to wrap our presents without succumbing to stress and guilt over our leftover credit card receipts.  Christmas means more than how much money we spend and it is high time we manifest options where we won’t have to break the bank to please those on our list.  One area that is beginning to look promising is the expansion of ideas coming from Boston florists who say “they know how to impress at a price much less”.  Here are some of the clever gift giving notions designers are pushing for customers who are seeking reasonable expenditures for this year’s December festivities.

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Personalized bud vases

This is a really neat idea, particularly for those who like to collect mason jars or other small bud vases to save for later use.  Well, here’s your chance!  With a touch of art, these tiny vessels can be transformed into wonderful gifts just by adding a little personalized touch along with a few sprigs of beautiful blooms.  First, you’ll want to check the containers to make sure there are no cracks or holes which will dribble water once they are filled.  Next, it’s important to clean the inside and outside of the lids until the material is sparkling.  After you are sure they are dry, use a permanent marker to write a cheerful message or print their initials on the side to make it special.  Don’t forget to insert a date on the bottom of the base that will remind friends and families of your thoughtful gesture years later.  If your vases are now ready to be filled, visit your local flower shop and purchase sweet blooms of roses, freesia, ranunculus or aster.  You want them to look airy and natural but if you prefer a more festive appeal, mix in a sprig or two of pine to spruce of the seasonal theme.


Pressed Flower Bookmarks

This is another fabulous trick for flower fans to gift to loved ones and you’ll be thrilled to know it won’t cost a whole lot from beginning to end.  All you need are some stems of blossoms that prefer to be dried such as lavender, violets, pansies, daisies or heather that will have no problem being easily flattened.  You also want to make sure they have small centers and petals with minimal bulk because these are the species which usually are troublesome for this type of project due to water retention.  Once you’ve chosen your selection, lay them in between two pieces of wax paper and press using a hot iron.  After sealing the ends, cut the paper into attractive strips similar in sizing to a bookmark and slide it in between a favorite book you already own.  Gift the entire present to someone special and watch them adore the time you’ve taken to make them feel special.

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Gifts, Christmas Ornaments

How to Deck the Halls “Bad Moms 2” Style

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Nov 24, 2017

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If you’re a mom, you might have already seen the movie, “Bad Moms 2” where our favorite off tilt mommies are at in again with their shenanigans.  It’s definitely a decent sequel to the first which continues the storyline to include their mothers on the train wreck to parenthood.  Yes, the film is pretty funny but being a previous florist and decorator, I couldn’t help not to notice the beautiful staging used to create Christmas displays within the homes.  Throughout the flick, there is a constant battle between mother and daughter to solve the question of who does it better when sprucing up for a Christmas holiday-the root of the plot’s conflict.  While one depends on a traditional look of a simple lights, homemade cookies and a stolen tree from Foot Locker, the style is vehemently opposed by dear mom who prefers to kick things way up into an affluent ordeal.  Think crystal, matching wrapping paper, blue tinsel and a musical display of “Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Yep-this one was a little over the top for even me but it was really interesting how the set designers contrasted the two different styles while keeping them both stunning for visual appeal.  Which Bad Mom are you?   Take a look at the trends to see which yuletide decorating fashion suits you!

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Traditional Daughter

You’re probably low key in nature and like to reuse ornaments from previous years over and over again to memorialize past Christmas’s ago.  Red, green and white are your go-to colors for palette and multi- hued lights with the big bulbs are favorites to load onto the tree and outside the home.  Other designer preferences that you adore are homemade crafts from the kids, fresh pine roping to hang in every corner of each room, newspaper for wrapping and cut-out white snowflakes you also cut out on your own.

 

Contemporary Grandma

You’re in this holiday season to make a big bang and to let every neighbor out there know- you own this holiday thing! There’s no way you’ll rely on the same ho-hum trinkets you’ve used in previous years because whatever is the hot trend seen in Times Square is what you’ll be replicating for family and friends.  Silver, gold and blue turn you on since red and white have been done to death and there will be no strings of tinsel that will make your tree appear unkept. You’ll also like roping made of faux material because those needles will make a mess when they drop and untidy the presentation you’ve worked so hard to propel.   Clear crystal glassware will be a necessity for dining as well as for lighting which will be strung in perfect ringlets across tree(s) and living space.  

White bulbs are all you’ll tolerate to keep things looking crisp and immaculate so don’t even think about flashing rainbow lights!

 

Best Case Scenario- The Compromise

Truth be told, both of these styles are really beautiful but when put together, the result will be even more gorgeous than expected.  Compromise by allowing some homemade personal touches accompanied with fashionable baubles that modernize the look.  Remember, the holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends so don’t waste every moment trying to perfect decorations that will only be taken down in the end.  

Tags: Movies, Holiday Movies, Holiday Decor, Christmas

The Old is New this Christmas

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 20, 2017

Each yuletide season, trends continue to change from everything to lighting, tree decorating and even celebratory cuisine.  As we prepare to take on the 2017 holiday whirlwinds, it’s fun to invest a little time in learning what’s hot on the menu for designers.  While many of us are not partial to hiring personal chefs and decorators to whisk are homes into a cheerful state, there’s no reason why we can’t take a peek to find out how to copy their taste on an affordable budget.  There’s no rule saying hosts must break the bank to recreate looks seen in magazines and lucky for us, this year’s theme relies heavily on the recycling of already owned items.


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Experts say that acclaimed designers are heavily relying on the idea that “Old” is the “New” when mapping out their selections for décor this Christmas and Hanukah.  Instead of purchasing contemporary lines of modernized props, they are hunting yard sales and online auctions for previously owned memorabilia which dates back to more than a few decades ago.  Trunks, basements and attics are also busy places where professional decorators are scavenging to find old boxes, milk containers and other reminders of years past.  Remember that ancient train set you stashed in the closet years ago?  Or maybe you just couldn’t let go of a teddy bear from your childhood?  Well, now’s the time to pull them out of retirement because these are the exact props designers are looking for!  Think small trucks, wooden toys, antique dolls and wool hats for possible accessories to place amongst poinsettia plants, Christmas trees (used as ornaments) and outdoor urns where they will turn a plain arrangement into a real conversational piece!  Don’t worry if they have chipped paint or missing parts since this will only add to their authentic appeal.  We’re going for a “traditional” appearance this year so make sure to select pieces that you have warm memories associated with.  


Once you’ve collected your things, now what do you do with them?  That’s a very good question…  Creating your own displays can be as easy as investing in some seasonal roping and strategically placing the trinkets within the beautiful the pine.  Hang on banisters and lay across the hearth to make a merry presentation for family and friends or attach to wreaths on the outside of your door.  If you are interested in applying this technique to your floral arrangements, you can use the same application process as long as the items are small enough not to distract from the blooms in the vase.  A little goes a long way with this style so don’t cramp containers which will make them look junky and less professionally done.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas, Holiday Memories, Christmas Flowers

Does Your Kid Turn into a Monster During the Holidays?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 19, 2016

You may have laughed out loud when you read the title of this blog but I bet it wasn’t because the idea was out totally of the park!  How many of you secretly parent a child who is otherwise perfectly well mannered until the dreaded Christmas season rears its ugly head?

“I want this!  

“I better get that!”

“But you said Santa would give it to me!”  

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photo credit via http://702mag.com/

Sound familiar?

 

I don’t know what happens but many kids suffer this incredible personality change when Christmas closes in and many of us have a hard time figuring out why this occurs?

 

We use Santa as bait for good behavior, but even the guy in the red suit is no match for the whiles of overly excited, out of control little pills.

 

Perhaps the “Twinkie Defense” (or in this case the “Candy Cane Defense”) is responsible since their intake of sugar extends well past what their small bodies can manage?   Or could it be the continuous visions we load their tiny minds with through holiday media of movies and books?  Are characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge impacting their little minds with thoughts of selfishness, annoyance and naughty behavior?

 

According to specialists, the “Christmas Crank for Children” diagnosis stems from an increase of stimulation, decreased amount of sleep and an influx of in-nutritious foods.  One of these off kilter may not seem like such a big deal but when you combine all three-SHAZZAM!  You’ve got yourself one unhappy, inflexible hooligan of a kid.  

 

That kind of stinks, right?

 

After all, this season is made merry and bright by a child’s faith in holiday magic.  Their inherent ability “to believe” is what makes the whole thing fun and memorable for all of us who will do anything to see smiling faces on Christmas Day.

 

Is there anything we can do to prevent this negative metamorphous from occurring?  

 

Of course there is!   

 

While we can’t compete with the impact of Christmas Crazy, we can attempt to manage certain areas of their care, which will benefit their health (most specifically their mood) during the holidays.

  1. Mandate a reasonable time for bed and just say no to “Can I have ten more minutes, pleeeaaaasssseee?”
  2. Make sure they are drinking lots and lots of water to wash their systems out from built up sugar.  You’re not going to get them to avoid all of the Christmas sweets but you can help to keep them hydrated.
  3. Lower their expectations of what they are going to “get” and ask them what they are going to “give”.  Not up scaling previous holiday shopping is one way to keep things under control and to evade some of the unwarranted “gimmees”.  
  4. While there are lots of invitations to get-togethers and parties, your child may not be able to attend all of them.  Seasonal burn-out is typical with younger children who really need a grounded schedule to go by.  While agreeing to a few dates is perfectly fine, having your family booked out every day of the Christmas month is going to undoubtedly overwhelm and exhaust them.
  5. Switch up their books and DVD’s with some topics that are not holiday related.  Keep the Christmas classics that you love and add material other than stuff solely wrapped around trees, wreaths and Santa.  It will help keep things in perspective and allow an easier transition when it’s time to get back to their regular routines.

Tags: Christmas, Holidays, Kids, Santa

When is a Christmas Tree JUST TOO BIG!

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Dec 17, 2016

So, I’m writing this blog topic because it seems to be a seasonal issue that comes up in my household a lot.  Whether you reside in an apartment, condo, cottage or mansion, the size of the tree you select for the holidays should really be suitable for the space that you live in.  Why am I bringing this up?  Because many people become a bit overly exuberant when the time of trimming comes upon us, which can sometimes affect our selection process.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the crisp clean scent of pine wafting through the house for a couple of weeks and hanging heirloom ornaments that have been cherished over the years but isn’t the height and diameter of our Christmas stage a factor to consider?  With minimal space, you’ve got to be realistic and opt for trees that will ACCENTUATE not ARROGATE your living space.  I get it-you love the yuletide season and finding the biggest, baddest tree in the lot has become an activity you look forward to but you’ve got get real.  That sucker is going to be in a living room, dining room, sitting room or wherever for a good chunk of the month and finding the right size is imperative to continuing the household’s routine functionality.  Dragging home a whopper that is seven times the build of the dinky corner you’re planning to set it up in can only lead to disorganization, tipping accidents, dry out and even fires.  You don’t have to be Clark Griswold to celebrate the holiday in style by mowing down a fir that a cathedral couldn’t even host!  Think about where you’re really putting the thing and then browse your options from there.  You should also be thinking about the comfort of both you and OTHERS who you’ll be sharing the holidays with since someone’s going to be cleaning up a whole lot of needles for the next month.  

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If you’re not sure what the right size tree is, ask one of the guys that are working the lot because they have a pretty good idea when it comes to Christmas tree etiquette.  If you want, print this out and take it along with you to help make your decision easier and wiser!


My first apartment wasn’t huge but I always had a perfectly trimmed tree that fit beautifully in my living room.  This ½ pint adorable pine is all you need to dress your place up for the holidays!



If you are lucky to live in a warm cottage, you might want to think about this size since it is completely reflective of the charm of your home.  Not to big, not too little but          just right!




If you live here- GO FOR IT!  Go check out the monster trees that could only probably fit in the entrance of a mall and light that sucker up!

Tags: Traditions, Holiday Decor, Christmas Trees, Christmas

A Poinsettia Isn’t Just Your Everyday Christmas Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 16, 2016

The poinsettia is the most popular species of flower grown for the month of December and is cultivated for the sole purpose of seasonal arrangements and décor.  The Christmas bloom is both traditionally recognized as one of the top five holiday symbols (trees, wreaths, lights and holly are above) as well as the most frequently purchased item for gifts.  Every year, florists seek out premier plants from premier growers expecting that it will once again be an item of high demand. If you aren’t familiarly with the poinsettia, take a good look and you, too might become smitten with its seasonal attractiveness.   Formed with large star-like petals and decadent hues of red, white, pink and burgundy, the pleasant visual presentation keeps this product continuously in high demand.  Easily transportable and relatively affordable compared to other Yuletide tokens, its no wonder why guests often pick up a poinsettia as a quick gift for friends and family!

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Here’s the irony…  Compared to other plant varieties generally grown in greenhouses, the poinsettia is incredibly difficult to produce and cultivate on a grand stage of performance.  Issues concerning temperature control, lighting and watering have given this bloom the reputation of being a fussy plant that many florists sometimes wish to phase out of their holiday product line.  Personally I think that it’s pretty unfair.  I mean, what do you expect from a plant that originated in the arid desert of Mexico?  Poinsettias come from a natural region consisting of soaring heat waves and well-drained soil conditions.  Bean Town’s ever changing climate and weather conditions make growing this species almost impossible to duplicate in the northeast, although there are a few gifted growers who are successful…  If you’re curious how your Christmas Poinsettia was cared for before purchase, read these tips on how to productively cultivate these beautiful holiday plants.

 

  1.  Temperature Control

This flower not only requires a warm Celsius reading, it’s also incredibly susceptible to frost bite even when exposed to the smallest amount of chill.  As I said before, this species is a tropical bloomer so you must do the best you can to replicate these conditions even after you’ve brought it home.  Keep them away from doors and windows and make sure they stay away from drafty areas in the house.

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

  1.  Let There Be LIGHT

As if growing these babies couldn’t get any more difficult, they also need a minimum of six to eight hours contact with bright light.  As you can imagine, the northeast gets pretty dark these days and finding this amount of adequate sunlight can become tricky.  Many agriculturalists are forced to provide faux overhead lamps to deceive the plants into thinking that it’s really natural light.  When this happens, there’s a mix bag of results.  Typically you’ll see the plant’s leaves droop or experience stem decay well before the expected end of its lifeline.  

 

  1.  Water, Water, WATER

Another proven difficulty is watering.  Poinsettias adore healthy moisture and misting but they detest sitting on top of it.  In order to prevent mold and decay of roots, it’s crucial to have a watering tray underneath that can be emptied periodically.  Packing the bottom of pots with pebbles can also do the trick, which will allow the excess water to drain easily from the container.  

Tags: Poinsettia, Plant Care, Christmas, Winter Rose

Trimming the Christmas Tree with Orchids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 14, 2016

Snowflakes are beginning to fall throughout New England and we are making our plans for our holiday décor!   We’ll be hanging wreathes, boughs and lighting throughout our homes in the hopes that these festive additions will bring joy to our family and friends.  For Boston florists, they’re making their lists as we speak to prepare for customers who wish to spread the spirit with decadent blooms.  Poinsettias, pine ribbing and myrtle garland always make the top of the list but this year, we’re seeing an interesting trend emerge…

 

A plentiful variety of orchids are being featured in designer magazines where their customary implant within urns and vases are extending into other areas of Christmas grooming.  While the tropical flowers still remain as a substantial part of December centerpieces, they’re also being used as trimming for the tree!  If you think about it, this is a clever idea for several reasons including their impressive longevity when placed in water tubes and the wide spectrum of color available from most species.  You may have seen flowers such as roses and baby’s breadth hung from balsam boughs in previous years but this new implementation of fancy fleurs is sure to turn heads and outlast past varieties. Flower lovers have always adored the idea of pruning with their favorite blooms but are often disappointed by the cost and maintenance.  If fussy flowers are chosen as ornaments, the upkeep to maintain a lively looking display for the duration of Christmas may prove extremely difficult. 

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photo credit via Cheyenne Tozzi's Instagram Page 

That’s why orchids are the solution to this problem and can be enjoyed long after the season if cared for properly.  Here’s a list of favorites that are sure-fire winners for vase and tree trimming this holiday season.    

 

Cypripedium

Not only are these orchids strong and resilient against heat and cold, but they are also grown in the perfect hues for Christmas-chartreuse green and white. The heads make them noticeable among other ornaments as well and provide an interesting conversational piece for guests. 

 

 Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis are one of the most popular orchids around the world and due to its impressive beauty, there’s little argument as to why.  A single head is large enough to be placed in the tree alone or you can choose large branches to drape across the branches.  White remains the most requested color, although this species also comes in shades of pink, yellow and peach.  If you really want to get creative, inquire from your florist options for dyed heads. 

 

James Story

This is another great option due to its coloring, which is deep red or crimson.  The florets are shaped as small stars that are delicately grown up a slender stem.  Designers are most likely to place James Story in water tubes and use along side other orchids that are white or brightly colored.   

Tags: Orchids, Holiday Decor, Christmas Trees, Christmas

Christmas Flower Sugar Cookies

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 09, 2016

Bakers love the holiday season because there is a vast assortment of ideas to create delicious edibles including cakes, pies and particularly, sugar cookies!  After all, you can’t have Saint Nick make his annual visit without leaving a few morsels of yummy sweets, right?  

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photo credit via sweetsugarbelle.com

Christmas cookies are by far the most fun and certainly the most beautiful out of all traditional seasonal desserts.  Creative chefs can let their imaginations fly when coming up with new shapes and images, making their presentations even more impressive.  


Although snowflakes, pine trees, ornaments and stars are among the most popular themes during this month, garden lovers will be overjoyed to see the new trend of “flower sugar cookies” climbing in demand! From happy daisy faces to poinsettia plant designs, horticultural elements are beginning to turn up in several Boston bakeries and floral shop owners couldn’t be more excited!  Not only are upscale supermarkets and restaurants using the new fad to gift patrons with samples but florists are also jumping on the bandwagon and adding satchels of these cookies to holiday orders.  Pretty smart, huh?


For the experts, this is an easy task but for those who neglect culinary brilliance, baking can seem a bit overwhelming.  Honestly, who hasn’t burned a cookie sheet or two in their day?  Thankfully, there are hundreds of recipes that are simple to follow including this one from the Food Network.  Grab your aprons and rolling pins and lets get baking!


Ingredients:  Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter 1 large egg

1/2 cup light brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt


Ingredients: Icing

1/4 cup water 2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons egg white powder Candy, sprinkles, dots, chocolate chips, ANYTHING SWEET!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter with vanilla extract, egg and brown sugar until blended.  Slowly add the flour and season with salt to make the dough firm.  Freeze the dough for 20 minutes and then begin to carve and shape cookies with cutters or free style.  Place in oven for 20 minutes and watch their edges turn golden brown.   Cool cookies for another 20 minutes before decorating.


Whisk together the water, egg powder and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Add desired coloring of food dye to create color and immediately apply to cookies.  Decorate with candies and let them sit for an additional 30 minutes icing to set.  

Tags: Traditions, Christmas, Holidays, cooking

Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 09, 2016

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “the gift that keeps on giving,” a million times before, particularly during the holidays.  You might even associate the term with cruddy presents like “cheese of the month club” and dread even the quickest notion of receiving one for yourself.  The funny thing is, this type of gesture is making a huge comeback this Christmas and with good reason why.  Instead of getting a year supply of dairy, clever givers are finding ways to make their gifts meaningful in the sense that they continue their value far after the season has ended.  Immediately gratifying trinkets such as sweaters, scratch tickets or bottles of wine are being replaced with longer lasting impressionistic expressions such as hand made items and thoughtful activities.  People can only have just so much “stuff” so many are welcoming this heartfelt trend and hoping to find other unique ideas to gift.  

 

Sometimes the thinking behind this notion is harder than the actual packaging.  We may become consumed and wrapped up with a concept that is overly complicated instead of putting thoughts into simpler terms.  You don’t have to be over the top with expensive presents or tokens either, so presents should reflect thoughtfulness instead of cost.  In an effort to pass along this wonderful way to show someone you care, here are a few great options that may fit perfectly underneath your tree this season…

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A Beloved Family Recipe

If you know of someone who loves to cook (or loves to eat) give him/her a framed copy of a special recipe you know they like!  Maybe Grandma Ester left notes on how to bake the perfect ginger snap cookie or perhaps Uncle Fred bequeathed his famous clam chowder recipe to you?  These are the dishes that are meaningful to gift upon someone who shares the same passion for cuisine and if you’re lucky, they might even give you a taste when they’ve tried it out.

Seeds

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I’m actually using this one for my mom who adores gardening as much as I do!  Although you’ll have to start collecting seeds from pods during the months of July and August, you’re efforts will be duly noted when your flowers bloom in their garden for years to come.  

 

A Coupon Book

Get a few pieces of paper, staple them together and make your own coupons that they can use whenever wanted or needed!  Create tickets that reflect the appropriateness of the relationship such as “1 Kiss” for your romantic interest and “1 Load of Laundry” for your parents.  Be careful not to mix them up because things could get a little uncomfortable if the wrong person receives the wrong coupon book!

 

Museum Membership

Sometimes the best present given are an activity like visiting the aquarium, zoo or a museum.  Memberships are an excellent way to give a gift that keeps on giving and they will long be thanking you throughout the entire year.

Tags: Christmas, Holidays, Museums, Seeds, Gifts

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