Monthly Archives: December, 2009

70 Valley Street, Springfield, VT 05156 | Powered by ZingDing

70 Valley Street, Springfield, VT 05156 | Powered by ZingDing.

Celebrating Christmas In South Central Vermont

       “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”
                                                                      ~ Burton Hillis

Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated festivals globally and is no longer viewed as a purely religious holy day. It is now a time enjoyed by people of many countries and faiths, and there are numerous universally recognized icons which we associate with the yuletide. In fact, these symbols have become so commonly associated with the celebration of Christmas that when we see Santa riding on a reindeer, a mantle hung with stockings, coniferous green trees decorated with tinsel and ornaments, or houses festooned with evergreen wreaths and mistletoe, we know that the magic spirit of the season is upon us.   

The tradition of the Christmas stocking dates back to approximately 250B.C. in Asia Minor. There Nicholas, rich man who became a very generous Christian priest and a saint, is said to have secretly filled the stockings of three poor sisters with gold, thus giving them a dowry and allowing them to marry. Legend has it that after that “miracle,” neighbors of the fortunate women followed suit with their stockings, and the tradition slowly spread across the globe. Children throughout the world now hang stockings–or even put out shoes–to be filled with small gifts and food by Santa (Saint) Claus (Nicholas). Many people create their own stockings, personalizing them for themselves or for others and often providing a family activity that is fun for all. Find instructions for making your own Christmas fireplace stockings.

Along with the Christmas holly, laurel, rosemary, yews, boxwood bushes, and, of course the Christmas tree, mistletoe is an evergreen displayed during the Christmas season and symbolic of the eventual rebirth of vegetation that will occur in spring. But perhaps more than any other of the Christmas evergreens, it is a plant of which we are conscious only during the holidays. One day we’re kissing under the mistletoe, and next day we’ve forgotten all about it (the plant, that is, not the kisses).

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Have a Merry–and Safe–South Central Vermont Holiday!

The Holiday season provides us with many opportunities for fun with our family, and decorating inside and outside your South Central Vermont home is one activity that can be enjoyed by both young and old. As always, however, the use of common sense and the taking of safety precautions are vital to ensuring happy holidays.

To that end, the Consumer Products Safety Commission strongly suggests you follow these timely tips when decorating your South Central Vermont home:

TREES:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.   
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and, when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

LIGHTS:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights on the exterior of your South Central Vermont home, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. You can also run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

DECORATIONS:

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

FIREPLACES:

  • Be sure your chimney is clean and the flue is open before lighting a fire.
  • Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Remember, protecting your family and your South Central Vermont home is a present you give to yourself and to our loved ones. Enjoy the season!

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Six Steps For a Stress-free Move To a South Central Vermont Home

If you are moving to a South Central Vermont home, you can, with prior planning and these tips, make your move a smooth, less stressful experience. After you have gathered recommendations from friends and checked out moving companies on the web, you should narrow your choices to three or four. At this point you can avoid moving mistakes by using these guidelines to make informed, intelligent choices.

1. Insist on an in-home survey and estimate. Movers have to actually see what needs to be moved and be aware of items requiring special attention, such as pianos or valued art pieces. In addition,, by meeting the mover’s representative in person, you can get a feel for the way customers are treated by the company. It is also important that you disclose at this time any details, such as elevator availability, street restrictions, etc., to avoid unpleasant surprises on moving day.

2. Beware of too low a price. While price is certainly a major consideration in making your selection, you need to question a low-ball estimate, Are there hidden charges? Is the firm reliable? Does it value your business? Is it a licensed, insured mover? Check the web at www.protectyourmove.com for this information and for a record of customer complaints.

3. Avoid the busy season. Good moving companies are especially busy in the summer and in the first and fourth weeks of the month. Plan ahead and reserve early to get the mover and time frame you want. Remember that the best deals can usually be found in the winter and in the second and third weeks of the month.

4. Sign a contract. Do not begin a move without first signing a binding agreement which spells out all the services you are to receive and the total amount you’ll be expected to pay. Do you have insurance options? What is the charge for that? If you’re not comfortable with the document, trust your instinct and don’t sign!

5. Have a budget. Be informed and realistic about your overall moving costs. Be sure to include travel to your South Central Vermont home, any hotel and meals expenses, auto transport, and insurance.

6. Do unto others… Your movers will respond well to smiles and a positive attitude

They also appreciate offers of coffee, water, soft drinks, and tips for quality service.

The city has many reputable and reliable moving companies who want your business and will work with you to make your moving experience as stress-free as possible. By following these six steps, your relocation to your new South Central Vermont home can actually be rewarding!

Learn more about moving to South Central Vermont.