Summer Christmas Special: LTD’s Early Planning Tips

Summer is nearing an end and the holidays are a lot closer than we think. Learn some early planning tips and how to make Christmas work all year long with these informative articles from LTD Commodities.

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4 Non-Christmas Ways to Decorate with Christmas Lights
Few things are as frustrating during the holidays as untangling Christmas lights from the previous year. But there might be a few ways to put some of those Christmas lights to use all year long, or at least during the summer months. Find out if these four non-holiday ways to decorate with Christmas lights work for you.

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Tweaking Traditional Christmas Dishes for Summer Palates
Americans tend to look forward to holiday dishes more than any other type of meal. There’s no denying that most of us wouldn’t mind ripping a few pages out of our Christmas recipe books earlier in the year to satisfy a holiday craving. Take a crack at tweaking Christmas dishes for summer palates with these how-to tips.

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The Mind-Boggling Benefits of Buying Christmas Toys Early
Whether it’s the high demand of a seasonal toy, a last-minute sale or long lines that make us long for an online option, holiday toy shopping can break Christmas spirits. If you’re thinking, “There has to be another way,” these mind-boggling benefits of buying Christmas toys early might be exactly what you’re looking for.

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Christmas Stories with Morals for Any Time of Year
Some of the best stories were created with Christmas as their cornerstones. Not only do these classics bring us back to our favorite memories, they’re also perfect because of the morals they introduced us to. Introduce your kids to the same life lessons by reading these Christmas stories with great morals for any time of year.

4 Ideas for Repurposing Your Christmas Tree

Christmas-TreeIt’s not quite time to take down the holiday decorations — we need a little more time with the twinkling lights and the scent of evergreen bows before we give in to January’s chill. But when it’s time to dim the lights on the tree for the last time, we want to make sure we do what’s best for the Christmas tree, us and the environment. Here are 4 ideas for repurposing your Christmas tree.  

Native Restoration Trees are a natural habitat for all sorts of wildlife when they’re alive — and they can be a habitat even after they’ve been cut. Prop it up in your backyard for birds and squirrels to use temporarily. If you have a pond or a friend with a pond, you can create a semi-permanent habitat for fish. You have to anchor the tree and fully submerge it in the water, but it’s an excellent way to return your tree to nature.


Christmas-TreeChristmas Conversion  
Many communities support Christmas tree recycling. There are drop-off centers who will take your tree off your hands — some cities even have curbside pick-up. The trees will likely be chipped into mulch to cover hiking trails and park paths.

Signature Scents Christmas trees have a fabulous natural fragrance and it can fill your home well beyond Christmas. You can put the needles in sachet bags and scatter them around the house or simmer a few small branches in water with a cinnamon stick for potpourri. 

Green Gardening If you have a garden, remove the branches of your tree to created a natural cover for your vegetable and flower beds. The pine needles will help the ground stay moist. If you have narrow but sturdy branches, you can save these for the spring to make a trellis for a vertical garden or stakes for plants. Evergreen stakes work to give indoor plants support as as well.  

LTD Commodities has ideas and products to make every day of the year productive. Whether you need ideas for repurposing your Christmas Tree or you need products to make your home more organized, look to LTD for great ideas and awesome products.Christmas-Tree

Holiday Spirit: Curious Facts About Christmas

ltd-tree-pinkChristmas has evolved quite a bit over the centuries. Santa certainly didn’t deliver gifts at the first Christmas and candy canes weren’t a seasonal candy available in Bethlehem — these customs and traditions were picked up along the way and spread from culture to culture. Here are 5 curious facts about Christmas you didn’t know.

When in Rome Conventional wisdom suggests the Christmas tree tradition was started in Germany because of the seasonal song “O Tannenbaum,” but decorating evergreens for the winter holiday can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Ancient Romans dressed boughs of evergreen trees with fruits and nuts for their Saturnalia celebrations each winter. Early Christians may have adopted the evergreen tree as a symbol of rebirth and renewal to make the holiday feel more familiar to Roman converts to Christianity. The German tradition dates from the 1700s, but it didn’t catch on in England and America until the 1800s when Queen Victoria wrote about her happy memories of decorating trees as a princess.

nativity-ornament-setX Marks the Holiday Most people believe the “X” in Xmas is a way for advertisers to shorten the name of the holiday, but the nickname has a long history that has nothing to do with marketing and commerce. It’s a deeply religious symbol that got its start in monasteries. First commonly used in religious texts in the 1400s, the letter “X” signified the cross and was the first letter of Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet. For monks who spent hours toiling over manuscripts, finding a way to write quickly and efficiently was vital. When they replaced Christ’s name with an X, they were using what linguists call a Christogram.

American Revolution Christmas was once illegal in Boston. Until 1681, celebrating Christmas in Puritan Boston would cost you a five-shilling fine. Eventually, civic leaders loosened up and allowed Christmas celebrations, but even then, early Americans weren’t big on the holiday; in fact, some Puritans considered it a holdover from Catholicism. It didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870, in part because the Puritans disapproved.

Little People Louisa May Alcott, the author famous for writing Little Women and Little Men, penned many short stories, novels and non-fiction articles, but a lesser known fact is that she’s responsible for giving Santa his elves. One of her short stories in 1856 mentioned Christmas elves, pointy-capped creatures who helped Santa Claus care for his reindeer and make gifts for good children. Although the story wasn’t published in her lifetime, she shared it with other writers, and a few years later, a story about Santa’s elves appeared in a copy of the magazine “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” one of the most influential publications of its time. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are enduring characters, but Alcott’s most famous literary creations might be Santa’s little helpers.ltd-pet-hats

Merry Petmas! Most people who have pets consider them part of the family. About 64% of American pet owners buy their pets gifts — some even hang the requisite stocking over the fireplace. Extra treats, a squeaky toy or a pet bed, we want to bring holiday cheer to every member of the family, four-legged and otherwise.

Happy holidays from LTD! Whether you’re celebrating with extended family or you’re having a quiet holiday with your pup, we wish you well this season and for the year to come.

Holiday Spirit: Our Favorite Holiday Movies

Christmas is next week! We know you’re scrambling to get everything ready for guests, gift shopping and planning your holiday dinner, but you need to take a little break to enjoy the season. A weekend away isn’t reasonable, but a night in front of the TV with a mug of hot cocoa and treats with the family is. We put together our list of favorite holiday movies to lift your holiday spirit.

The Muppet Christmas Carol The Muppets have a way of making just about anything their own — including a Dickensian tale of a miserly curmudgeon named Ebenezer Scrooge. The story is very dark for a holiday pick-me-up, but the Muppets give it life and comedy with songs like “Christmas Scat” from Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Even cast with Muppets, the movie stays true to the classic story and you walk away from it feeling a little more generous.

Christmas Vacation We went to Wally World and Europe with the Griswolds, but in Christmas Vacation, they take us us home — with all the misadventure of their other trips. It’s as uncomfortable and difficult as any other family holiday, just more… wacky and dangerous. Clark is as ambitious as ever — failing masterfully at all his plans as the holiday arrives. Christmas might be disappointing for the Griswolds, but the Griswolds don’t disappoint us.

Home Alone Who can resist the young, clever, towheaded McCaulay Culkin? In this 1990 John Hughes classic, he wins us over as Kevin McCallister — the youngest of a horde of children, who’s abandoned in his home while his family is off to Paris for Christmas. While the innocent little guy is trying to survive on his own, his calm, new life of solitude is disrupted by two brainless burglars. But our fearless youngster outsmarts the bad guys just in time for the family to return home on Christmas.

Elf While Buddy the Elf is decades older than Kevin McCalister, he’s certainly more naive. This 2003 favorite follows Buddy from his home with Santa and the Elves at the North Pole to New York City to find his biological father — a grouchy man who didn’t know he had a 40-year-old son. To Buddy’s disappointment, his dad rejects him and he’s left to navigate the new city by himself. But Buddy is persistent and as his dad gets to know Buddy, he softens and welcomes Buddy into his family for a merry Christmas.

A Christmas Story Rewind to a 1950’s Christmas in which a BB gun is at the top of 9-year-old Ralphie’s Christmas list. It’s his only fantasy and, despite the warnings he gets from everyone, he wishes and begs for this BB gun. After an awkward Christmas Eve dinner and disappointing Christmas morning, Raphie gets exactly what he wished for —  and way more than what he bargained for.

Gremlins The best Christmas present ever: a tiny, furry creature with all the charm of a two-week old kitten. The worst Christmas present ever: a tiny, furry creature that multiplies when it gets wet, turns into a scaly, slimy goblin when it eats after midnight and turns your town into a warzone. That’s what happens when Billy Peltzer receives a “mogwai” over the holidays. This horror-comedy is more hilarious than horrific and good for a laugh as the holidays approach. If you have doubts about its entertainment value, Steven Spielberg was the executive producer and the director was Chris Columbus of Home Alone fame.  

Grinch (1966) Looking vaguely similar to a gremlin, the Grinch is only slightly less menacing as the mythical creatures. The bitter Grinch — annoyed by Christmas cheer, takes it upon himself to make the holiday as miserable for everyone in Whoville as it is for him. He dresses up as Santa Claus, sneaks into all the homes to steal presents before they can be opened. Despite the Grinch’s efforts to put a stop to Christmas, he didn’t destroy Whoville’s Christmas spirit but, in the process, made a change for the good in himself.

It’s our favorite time of year at LTD Commodities! Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or you’re just watching holiday movies with the kids, look to LTD for great products and awesome ideas to make the season brighter.

 

Holiday Spirit: Fun Facts About Christmas Trees

christmas-treeOh, Christmas tree! It’s one of our favorite holiday decorations with traditions to keep us busy from the day after Thanksgiving to the day after the first of the year. It has a long history leading up to where it stands this holiday season — there’s so much to know, there’s probably a fact for every needle on the tree! But we compiled a list of the most fun facts about Christmas Trees.

  1. In the 19th century, Germany introduced the first artificial Christmas trees to the United States. They were made of goose feathers dyed green. Later, in 1930, an American brush company re-tooled the artificial Christmas trees using brush bristles similar to toilet brushes.
  2. Aluminum artificial Christmas trees were first manufactured in Chicago in 1958.
  3. According to History.com, it was allegedly Martin Luther’s idea to light Christmas trees with candles to resemble the stars in the sky. It wasn’t until 1882 that people started using electric lights.

  4. The New York Times attributes the idea of the Christmas tree lot to woodsmen Mark Carr who opened a lot in New York in 1851.
  5. christmas-treeTime Magazine credits construction workers during the Great Depression for erecting the first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in 1931.

  6. According to WhiteHouseHistory.org, President Franklin Pierce erected the first White House Christmas tree in 1856, but the first official tree lighting ceremony was held in 1923 when  President Calvin Coolidge was in office.
  7. During Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, he banned the Christmas tree from the White House because, as an environmentalist, he didn’t approve of cutting down trees for decoration.
  8. In 1979, to honor the American hostages in Iran, the only light on the National Christmas Tree was the top ornament.
  9. For every Christmas tree cut down or harvested, three seedlings are planted in its place.  
  10. It can take up to ten years for a tree to be big and mature enough to be harvested as a Christmas tree.
  11. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the Christmas tree industry provides about 100,000 jobs.
  12. According to statista.com, 33 million farm-grown Christmas trees were sold in the United States in 2013.
  13. Christmas trees are farmed in all 50 states.
  14. 93% of real Christmas tree consumers recycle their tree and, in the United States, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs.
  15. Recycled real Christmas trees are used to make mulch for paths and hiking trails.
  16. An acre of Christmas trees provides enough oxygen to sustain 18 people for a day and the trees can remove dust christmas-treeand pollen from the air.

Whether you cut down your Christmas tree yourself or you bought an artificial tree from LTD Commodities, the Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!  

LTD’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for the Week

It’s the end of the week and we have just two weeks left until Christmas. With all of the parties and presents, this season can sap all of the energy out of you! So when it comes to getting the rest of the gifts on your list, a click or a swipe to take over the transactions sounds pretty good. With relaxing shopping in mind, we picked out a few items you’ll like to round out your holiday shopping. Here are LTD’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for the Week.

dollBaby, Baby Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits. The adorable, all-vinyl doll in the Doll Set looks and feels just like a real newborn. She even arrives wearing a hospital bracelet! The doll comes with a sturdy bathtub that’s made with high quality materials that will stand the test of time and play. The set also comes with bath accessories. Plastic and polyester. After the bath, her little Mommy can dress her in one of the adorable Doll Outfits. Polyester. For ages 2 and up.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtlesThe Inner Child Men’s Licensed Jean Lounge Pants are designed for the man with a strong sense of humor. They’re printed to look like a pair of worn-out, faded jeans with boxers in a licensed print sticking out at the waist. Made of a comfortable, soft knit fabric, they have an elastic waistband for a secure fit. Cotton. Machine care. Imported.

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Classy Camouflage Conceal a bottle of wine in this lightweight Luxury Insulated Wine Clutch. Fully lined with thermal insulation, it looks like a fashionable handbag and works to keep 750 ml. bottles cold. It can also be used to carry snacks, lunch, water bottles and more. Comes with a stainless steel corkscrew tucked in the outside zippered pocket. 13″W x 4″D x 6″H, with a 5″ handle drop. Polyurethane and aluminum. Imported.

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Superhero Style Be one with your favorite character when you wrap up in this fun boys’ licensed throw. Slip your arms into this comfy throw’s sleeves, and it puts your face on the character’s body. Its cool, hands free design and fleece construction are perfect for lounging or playing video games. 48″ sq. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.

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Inspiration Station Just add color to the 30 original designs in this adult coloring book to create your own masterpiece. Each beautiful page can be put on display once you’ve fulfilled your artistic vision. Perforated edge makes the page easy to remove. 8-1/2″W x 10″L. Softcover, 64 pages.

Holiday Spirit: 8 Tips for Surviving Your Office Holiday Party

christmas-office-partyThe Christmas office party is a standard for most companies and businesses. It’s a time to give thanks to employees for the work they did all year. You don’t have to attend yours, but if you do, there are some rules to follow. Here are 8 tips for surviving your office holiday party.

Don’t Give Them Something to Talk About Remember that just because it’s a party you can act as if your best friend is throwing it. Remember to relax and have fun but to behave yourself the way you would at the office.

christmas-office-partyMind Your Drinking There’s almost always one person who is over-served at the office party — don’t let it be you. When someone’s drinking gets out of hand, you can bet he or she is the hot topic for the next few days at work. At best, it’s embarrassing; at worst, someone loses a job.

Dress Conservatively You don’t have to wear your Sunday best, but you don’t want to wear anything too revealing, either. A simple outfit with a few extra sparkles is enough holiday spirit for an office party.

Come for the Party, Stay for the Job Though it’s usually optional, an office holiday party is another form of a meeting, only more fun. People — like your boss and coworkers — expect you to be there. It’s part of being a team player and it’s good for company morale.

Leave Photography to the Professionals When you spend 40 hours a week with people, they tend to become your friends. Documenting friendships with pictures on Instagram and Facebook is great, but you may want to hold off on that during the office Christmas party. Though you may be following office party etiquette, others may not be. You don’t want photos floating around the internet of your friends after they’ve had too much to drink and you don’t want to accidentally post a picture with someone in the background doing something inappropriate.

Don’t Talk Shop Though it’s a work function, it is for fun, so keep chats about spreadsheets and ROIs to a minimum. You have 40 other hours in the week to get your fill of work talk. Relax. Enjoy the party.

Mingle Use this time to get to know other people in the company. It’s not often you can have a relaxed conversation with someone who sits on the other side of the building. Make a new friend and learn a little more about the different people who make your company thrive. It also looks good for your department to be outgoing and welcoming. When the time comes that you need something from them, they’ll gladly help you out and vice versa.  christmas-office-party

Stay Positive Don’t be a buzzkill — keep gossip and any work complaints to yourself. It drags down your co-workers and puts a damper on the occasion. It’s much easier to have a good time when you’re in a good mood — don’t spoil it!

LTD Commodities has products and ideas for just about every occasion! Whether you need gifts for your family holiday party or you need tips on how to behave at the office, shop LTD for great products and helpful hints.

Items We Adore: Product Picks for the Week

critter-head-wrapsHoliday shopping is about to get real! While your head is spinning trying to figure out just the right deals, we put together a list of some of our favorite gift ideas at the deepest discounts. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for the Week.

Cute & Cozy Set of 2 Kids’ Critter Headwraps is a fun way to stay warm this winter. Each critter in the themed set has an adorable nose and ears that bring it to life. Tight knit stitching is sure to keep them cozy and comfortable for hours of outdoor play. One size fits most. Acrylic. Imported.skinny-mix-trio-set

Holiday Spirits With the Skinny Mix Trio Gift Set, you can enjoy your favorite drinks without worrying about your waistline. Each set features 3 delicious flavors with reduced sugar and calories. Add vodka to the Martini set for the perfect martini without the usual calories. Put the Syrup in coffee, hot cocoa, milkshakes and more to enjoy your favorite holiday flavors all year long. Just add the Margarita mix to tequila for an easy, skinny margarita.12.7 oz., each flavor.monogram-luggage-set

 Fly with Flair This cool 3-Pc. Monogram Luggage Set has an initial embroidered in orange thread on the front of each piece. The eye-catching camo print makes this luggage stand out from the crowd. The extendable handle on the rolling suitcase locks into place for easy wheeling. It has a zippered pocket on the front, a zippered compartment and a double-zippered main compartment with a spacious interior. Attached to the suitcase is a compact, detachable clutch with a full zipper closure. The duffel bag has a front zippered pocket and a double-zippered main compartment. Includes a removable shoulder strap.embroidered-cardigan

Whimsical Wardrobe Embroidered Open Front Cardigan is a wonderful layering piece for your wardrobe. Graceful long cardigan has contrasting decorative stitching around the lower hem and the collar. The design begins on the front and wraps around the back. Lengths are 38″, 38-1/2″ and 39″. Cotton. Imported.big-books-with-stickers

Portable Projects Have hours of fun coloring and placing stickers in this Licensed Big Book with Stickers. With 20 pages to color and over 100 stickers, this book will help bring your favorite characters to life. Its built-in handle lets you carry it wherever you go. 13-1/2″W x 19-1/2″L. Softcover. For ages 3 and up.

National Cookie Day: Outrageous Cookie Recipes

cookies-cookie cupsDecember 4 is National Cookie Day. With all of the cookies we eat at holiday parties and the cookie exchanges we raid at this time of year, it makes sense to honor these handheld confections. But at this time of year, people love to go over-the-top with their cookies. They do, after all, have to compete with the cuteness of gingerbread houses. So we searched high and low for exceptional cookie recipes to pass on to you. So, for National Cookie Day, here are 5 outrageous cookie recipes for you to try.

Cookie Cups These darling little things look like they came from an elf’s kitchen! Though it’s not too hard to make tiny tarts — including cookies in the shape of tiny mugs filled with hot chocolate — there’s something about shrinking everyday items into Tom Thumb size. The baking part isn’t hard, but assembling the The Gunny Sack’s hot chocolate cookie cups might be the kitchen challenge you’re looking for. cookies-pine-cones

Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree You don’t have to call this a cookie if you don’t want to, but it is a sweet snack worthy of your holiday party table. You have to admit, at first glance, they do look like real pine cones dusted with snow! This one comes from the kitchen of Handmade Charlotte. Spoiler alert: her secret ingredient is cereal!cookies-holiday-presentsHandle with Care Have you ever come across a cookie that’s just too cute to eat? I promise you that if you serve these, no one will want to eat them because they’re just that adorable! Family Fresh Meals came up with this one. Even though they’re cute, they’re easy enough for kids to make, and, with tiny presents to fill, you won’t have any trouble recruiting your kids to help you with them!cookies-powder-puff

Surprise! What’s better than a cookie covered in powdered sugar? A cookie covered in powdered sugar and filled with chocolate! Averie Cooks created them as an homage to her mother and grandmother’s Russian tea cakes they made every Christmas. She wanted to make her special memory a little more special and this is what she came up with!cookies-swirl

Candy Factory This cookie doesn’t look like it left any room for flour and butter — it looks like it came straight from the candy factory! Though this magical looking treat is photo-worthy, Salt Tree’s instructions are pretty easy to follow — with a good rolling pin and plastic wrap, you, too can bring this to your next holiday get together!

LTD Commodities has dozens of products to help you make your holiday cookies memorable this year! From baking sheets to spatulas, we have you covered for all your baking ambitions this season.

 

Santa Claus: Fascinating Facts About St. Nick

Santa-ClausSanta, his sleigh and eight tiny reindeer have been dancing across rooftops for as long as we can remember. The legend and traditions of Santa Claus are here to stay, but what do we really know about the man behind the beard? Here are 7 fascinating facts about St. Nick you might not know.

Sleepy Hollow Dutch-American writer and author of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving, is credited with the idea of Santa flying in a wagon and using chimneys as chutes to enter homes and deliver gifts to children. He published his idea in the book Knickerbocker’s History of New York in 1809.

Santa, Illustrated The Santa we know today is largely the result of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (or “The Night Before Christmas”) by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. This is where he got his “belly like a bowl full of jelly,” his beard and his rosy nose and cheeks. It’s also when we were introduced to Dasher, Dancer, Cupid, Vixen, Prancer, Comet, Donner, and Blitzen.

Santa-ClausReindeer Wrangler According to CNN.com, the idea of Santa’s reindeer took off when a Minnesota man developed a marketing campaign to use reindeer for their meat! It started with a Christmas parade led by Santa and his reindeer.

The Red Suit The St. Nicholas Clement Clarke Moore wrote about only describes having a fur suit and most of the images created of Santa before the 1920s had Santa dressed in whatever color the artist felt like using. But in the early 20th century, red started becoming part of Santa’s outfit. Around 1931, red allegedly became Santa’s signature color when  a soda company with a killer marketing team dressed Santa in its signature shade of red in their Christmas campaign that was reprised for decades. The company may not have created the iconic ensemble, but the marketing efforts didn’t hurt his image as the man in the red suit.

Presents! We know Santa brings children presents, but he didn’t start off delivering gifts to every child around the world. According to historian Gerry Bowler, the idea of doling out dolls and toys to kids evolved from some rather gruesome stories. One was about three sisters who were to be sold into slavery to pay off their father’s debt. Santa delivered bags of gold to their father to relieve his debt and free the girls. This certainly improved St. Nick’s chances at solidifying his title as the patron saint of children and bringer of gifts.

Santa-ClausSaint Who? The names “St. Nicholas” and “Santa Claus” are used interchangeably. St. Nicholas was a real person — a monk who was known for his charity work — so how did we come up with Santa Claus from St. Nick? Santa Claus is likely derived from “Sinter Klaas” which is Dutch for St. Nick.

Arctic Home Saint Nicholas was from a town near modern day Turkey which is a long way from The North Pole where we’ve been taught Santa lives. It’s not clear how he arrived in the Arctic Circle, but, according Jeremy Seal in his book Nicholas: The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, it was a poet, George P. Webster, who designated The North Pole as Santa’s home. Webster’s poem accompanied by illustrations of Santa by Thomas Nast in the late 1800s.  

Much like Santa Claus, LTD has dozens of toys and gifts for the whole family! Check out our selection of unique products to please everyone on your Christmas list.