6 Personalized Gifts to Add to Your Holiday List

It’s time to start ticking off names on your holiday gift lists, but where to begin is challenging when you want to make each gift personal and thoughtful. We have some ideas to get you started! Here are 6 personalized gifts to add to your holiday list.

LTD-Personalized-sleeping-bagsPersonal Bedtime You don’t have to worry about sleeping bag mix-ups at slumber parties when kids bring their own Personalized Sleeping Bag! Comfortable and cozy, each child’s name is stitched into the top of the sleeping bag.

LTD-Personalized-dog-welcome-matsPersonal Pups For dog owners, show your love through their pets with a Personalized Dog Breed Doormat. Choose your pup’s breed and put his or her name across the bone on the dog’s collar. Rubber backing keeps it in place indoors or in a covered area outdoors.

LTD-Personalized-phone-casesPersonal Talk Snapping selfies has never been so personal with a Picture Frame Personalized Phone Case. Your loved one can easily swap and change pictures whenever he or she wants making it a one-of-a-kind smartphone case. The outer shell protects the phone from damage, and the inner picture frame adds a personal touch.

LTD-Personalized-PendantsPersonal Charm The Personalized Name Drop Pendant is more than an accessory, it’s jewelry that tells your loved one’s story. For a mom with her children’s names or a grandmother with her grandchildren’s names, the necklace is customized with up to 5 pendants, each with a name up to 9 letters long. The necklace comes on an adjustable 18″ chain with a lobster claw clasp.

LTD-Personalized-Pub-PrintPersonal Victories This is the man-cave must-have for the season: Personalized Framed Sports Pub Print. The framed sign features a favorite NFL team along with your loved one’s own printed customization. Pub marquee features the pub name of your choosing and the proprietor section can be personalized as well.

LTD-Personalized-Family-pajamasPersonal Holidays Christmas morning is one of the more personal family days of the year —  matching Personalized Snowman Pajamas! Each set comes with 39 iron-on letters you can use to personalize the long-sleeved top. Long flannel pants have an all-over snowman print and an elastic waistband for a comfortable fit. These pajamas are perfect for lounging by the fire or opening presents.

We have presents for everyone on your gift list. Whether you want to put your loved one’s name on it or you’re looking for a gag gift, LTD Commodities has hundreds of products for you to choose from this holiday season.

6 Tips to Keep Your Christmas Tree Beautiful

Christmas-TreeWe have just one month until Christmas Eve — it’s time to put your Christmas tree up! You put so much work into making it look joyful with all the tinsel and ornaments, you want it to stay pretty as long as you can. Here are 6 tips to keep your Christmas tree beautiful until the New Year!

Make a Fresh Cut When you go shopping for your tree, keep in mind that the trees at your lot were cut down a few weeks ago and where your tree was cut may be a bit dull and hard for the tree to absorb water. After you haul your tree home saw off a few inches of the trunk before you put it in the tree stand. This helps keep the needles moist and green.

Christmas-TreeWater Immediately Trees are thirsty! A Christmas tree can absorb a gallon of water a day so letting it have that first sip after a week on the tree lot is important to bringing life back to the tree. There’s no need to drill any other hole in the base of the tree to help with water absorption; the outer layer of the tree is very efficient in transporting the water from the trunk to the top branches.

Keep it Cool Keeping the tree away from heat sources is key to keeping it hydrated, but also consider lowering the temperature in the room where you keep your tree to help make it last longer. Keeping it cool will slow down the drying process because the water absorbed by the tree won’t evaporate as quickly. In addition, turning the tree lights off at night and when you’re not at home will keep the temperature around the tree down. 

Keep the Water Pure There’s nothing you can add to water to keep your tree greener or make it last longer. Good, clean water is all it needs.

Christmas-Tree-ornamentsWater Daily Make sure the tree’s trunk is always immersed in water. They drink a lot and they drink fast, so keeping an eye on the water level is important to keeping your tree green through Christmas and into the new year.

Give it Some Sun Think of your Christmas tree as your new house plant. House plants need sunlight to survive and so do Christmas trees! If your tree is in a room where there’s a window, keep the windows open during the day so it can soak up the sun.

Of course you can take the easy way out of caring for a Christmas tree by getting an artificial tree. Whether it’s real or fake, tree trimming is the kickoff to the holiday season; make your decor a delight with LTD Commodities!

 

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

It is finally time to get down to some serious holiday shopping. This magical time of year is all about children, and that shows in the variety of toys, clothing, and other delights waiting for you at LTD Commodities. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Your little girl will feel like she's caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14" Doll Set or Outfits.

Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn® Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle!

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue™ Remote Control Vehicle!

 

 

5 Tips for Selecting a Christmas Tree

Christmas-TreeThe temperatures are dropping and even though we’re dreading cold weather, we’re excited for the holidays! We’re putting up all of of our holiday decor, but there’s just one thing missing: the Christmas tree. While we’re getting ready to put one up, we thought we’d share 5 tips for selecting a Christmas tree.

Pick a Spot Before you gather the family to pick out a tree, consider where you are going to put the tree and what kind of help you’ll be getting when you take it home. This will determine the size you want to buy. Standard ceilings are 8 ft high, so you want to select a tree that’s 7 ft or smaller. If you have high or vaulted ceilings, you are open to select taller trees, just remember the taller they are, the heavier they are and an average tree can weigh about 80lbs. Quick tip: Remember when you’re choosing a spot for your tree, make sure it’s away from heating vents so they don’t dry out and become a fire hazard.

Pick a Type There are different varieties of evergreen trees with different characteristics you can choose from:

Fir: Typically triangular, dense with branches, dark green needles, and has a prominent spire — Fraser Fir and Douglas Fir are most popular for Christmas trees

Evergreen-TreePine: Bright green, stiff branches — Scots Pine and Virginia Pine are most popular for Christmas trees

Spruce: Waxy, grey-green, triangular shape — Colorado Blue Spruce and White Spruce are most popular for Christmas trees

Inspect It When you’ve decided on the size of the tree you want and you get to the lot, inspect each of the trees you want:

  • Look for insects
  • Make sure the needles are green and flexible — if they are brittle, the tree is dry
  • The base of the tree should have sap on it

Shake It Off Before you leave the tree lot, shake the tree — with a lot of effort — to get rid of the needles that need to be shed. This will save you some aggravation of having a trail of needles to clean up as you carry the tree through your house that you’ll have to clean up as you prepare for the guests to arrive.

Christmas-TreeAvoid Shock After you shake off the needles, store the tree in a shed or garage if you have one. Trees live outside in temperatures much lower than what you have in your home. Keeping them inside spots with cool temperatures will ease them into the warmth of a festive home, and prevent needles from falling off prematurely. Quick tip: water your tree daily to keep it from drying out and the needles from falling off.

Fresh Christmas trees are a lot of work and maintenance. If you don’t have the time or energy for a real Christmas tree, artificial trees are an easy and practical alternative. Either way, start planning now so you have plenty of time to enjoy your tree this holiday season.

Holiday Gifts You Can’t Forget About

It is not too early to start your holiday shopping. Family is at the top of your list, but there are people on your list you can’t forget and if you wait too long, you probably will forget. Here’s a list of people to buy holiday gifts for that you can’t forget about.

PonchoChildcare Provider This includes nannies, au pairs and babysitters. You leave your little ones in their care, so it’s important to take care of them! (This does not include teachers because they are not personal service providers – gifts to teachers are up to you.) How much and what you give them depends on how often you use the services. If you use your babysitter regularly (more than twice a month), a small gift and/or the equivalent to an evening’s pay is sufficient. Au pairs and nannies should get a small gift and the equivalent of a week’s pay. Gift Idea:  Health and beauty accessories are always a welcome gift for young ladies but if you are confident you know their personal style, new clothes or outerwear might be appropriate.

Home Healthcare Worker Don’t forget about the people who take care of your aging loved ones! Healthcare/elder care workers make sure your parents and grandparents are comfortable when you can’t be there to give them your loving attention.  If your healthcare worker is employed by an agency, check to see if there is a policy for holiday gifts and tips, but  the standard holiday gift is one-week’s pay or an equivalent present. Gift Idea:  Those workers do a lot of physical labor, think about giving them the gift of relaxation; massagers, heating pads or beauty products make their nights off something to look forward to!

NFLHandyman/Custodian/Maintenance Man He is on call all the time. If your dishwasher doesn’t work, he’s there. If your water heater isn’t heating up, he’ll fix it. When your roof is leaking, he seals it up. Your handyman solves your home problems and does the things you don’t know how to do. A gift equivalent to $15-40 is acceptable.  Gift Idea: If you prefer to give him something more personal, think about NFL memorabilia for the sports fan or tools for the guy who likes to take work home with him.

Personal Care This includes the lady who blows out your hair, your nail technician and the lady who gives you a facial. These are the people who make you look good and feel good – it’s important to make them feel good, too! The standard holiday gift is the equivalent of what you would pay for one visit. Gift Idea:  You don’t have to give her cash – perhaps a sentimental gift is in order like frames to show off her kids at work or inspirational artwork.

gift-packsPet Care Our pets are part of our family – taking care of the people who take of our pets is important. Groomers are easy — they should get the equivalent of one grooming session. For the vet, it’s a little bit trickier because it’s an entire office that takes care of your furry family. Gift Idea:  Try getting them gift packs or edibles everyone can appreciate.

Remember that gifts for employees and service providers are a token of appreciation. Don’t forget all the people you don’t see regularly throughout the year who helped make your life a little easier or your day a little brighter.

National Punch Day: 4 Punch Recipes

 

Punch

Image source: Mel McC via flickr

September 20th is National Punch Day! Of course, we’re celebrating the fruity beverage and not what you do in the boxing ring.

Punch actually has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, punch was brought to England from India in the 17th century. It was a drink made up of five ingredients – originally, they were alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and spices, but recipes have evolved since then and now it’s a generic term for a party drink served in a big bowl. Today, we have 4 recipes we call “punch.”

Non-Alcoholic Punch

Holiday Punch

  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter seltzer water
  • 2 liters cranberry-apple juice
Punch

Image source: Stuart Webster via flickr

Combine ingredients over ice in a punch bowl, gently stir and serve. If you are concerned about ice watering down the punch, you can freeze half of the juice in ice cube trays and use those to supplement the ice.

Serves 8-10.

Orange Sherbet Punch

  • 1 liter cold orange juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • ½ gallon orange sherbet

Combine juice and ginger ale and gently stir. Fill glasses with ice. Top each glass with a scoop of sherbet. Pour juice mixture over sherbet.

Adult Punch

Rum Punch

  • 3 cup dark rum
  • 2¼ cups lemon juice
  • 1½ cups grenadine
  • 1½ cups sparkling wine

Combine the first three ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in sparkling wine. Ladle over glasses filled with ice.

Serves 10-12.

Warm Holiday Spiced Punch

  • 2 liters cranberry apple juice
  • 1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cups bourbon

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine first four ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.  Serves 12.

Punch

Image source: Tymesynk via flickr

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week

seasonal towel setsHappy Friday everyone! Today?s LTD Commodities picks for the week highlight your last-chance Christmas and holiday items. January is coming to a close, which means you better stock up on your favorite holiday gifts and d?cor accessories before they?re gone! Check out these fun and useful holiday items at LTD.

Seasonal Kitchen Towel Sets

Many of us have several different towel sets for different times of year, but this set of seasonal kitchen towels streamlines your organization. One set includes three cutesy towels from the designated season. Choose winter, spring, summer, or fall, or get the whole bunch! They?re a great way to change up your seasonal d?cor without searching through dozens of boxes in the garage.

Gift Wrap/Ornament Storage Organizer

Without fail, every Christmas comes with box after box of decorations and wrapping paper, and somehow, at the end of every season, the boxes just don?t want to close. Which is why we love this storage organizer, perfect for gift wrap, ribbons, and ornaments. Use it to organize those odds and ends that don?t have a home, while you?re waiting until you have to scrounge up another empty box. This holiday organizer is perfect for under-the-bed storage or small vertical spaces.

Record a Story Books

Twas the Night Before Christmas is an all-time holiday classic, but this clever record-a-story book takes it to another level. These books record and play back your voice, so you can ?read? to your little one, even if you?re not there. This is a great gift if you?re a faraway grandparent or relative, or if you?re a parent who works late nights, is in the military, or travels a lot for work.

Christmas Memories Book Boxes

So we understand if you don?t want to save every single Christmas card you receive, but there are some you just can?t bear throwing away: the family picture of your niece/nephew/grandchild?s first Christmas, or the last card sent by an older relative. For these occasions, we recommend the Christmas Memories Book Boxes. These decorative ?books? are hollow on the inside with magnetic closures on the cover, creating a perfect place to store memories. The fun part is putting them out every year and getting the chance to go through some of your favorite memories from holidays past.

5 Holiday Decorations to Keep Throughout Winter

The term “winter wonderland” is often heard around Christmas but in actuality could be used throughout the cold months of winter. Every year you work hard to decoration the entire house for Christmas. It can be disheartening it only lasts for a month after all the time and effort dedicated to creating a magical atmosphere in your home. Within all the red, green and Santas, there are probably some items that you can keep after Christmas. Here are some home decor pieces you can enjoy all winter long.

 

snowflake-throw

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Snowflakes
Though we usually think of a white Christmas during the holidays, December is not the only month we see these beautiful flakes fall. Snowflakes on bedding, throws, dishes and other home décor items are welcome to stay as long as snow is on the ground. If your snow filled items are red, try not to pair it with green. This way it won’t feel like Christmas in your home but more like a wintery wonderland.

 

 

 

 

snowman

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Snowmen,penguins and polar bears oh my!
Many pieces of home décor come as snowmen or adorable animals. These cute wintery figures are always happy to fill your home as long as they are not promoting Christmas. If your penguin is wearing a Santa hat or your snowman is decorating a Christmas tree it will make your home feel like Christmas. Keep the pieces that have a winter feel but cannot be obviously tied back to the holiday.

 

 

 

 

Winter in the Country
Stars and pine cones are typically found among holiday décor items. These items can be stuck in the wreath or wrapped in Christmas colors. If you have some of these iconic pieces in your holiday collection, don’t put them away yet! Look at the décor closely and determine if you can remove any additional decorations that resemble Christmas and reuse with a winter theme.

 

 

 

 

Winter-garland

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Garland
Pre-lit is popular for Christmas trees and even for garland. An easy way to use your garland throughout the winter is to remove any lighting and add pine cones or snow decorations. The beautiful garland you had on your mantel can be easily transformed into a winter staple.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-green-white-ornaments

Image Credit: womansday.com

Ornaments
After you take your ornaments off the tree you normally would put them away for next year–but wait! Those cool colored ornaments aren’t done yet! Ornaments in tones of blue and white are perfect to adding to your winter wonderland décor. Add them to a snowy wreath or stack them on a plate for a beautiful center piece. To add a little additional color, a cool cucumber green can keep the winter theme while adding a pop of color.

 

 

 

 

With just a little organization and effort the money and time you spend to decoration your home for the holidays can be stretched throughout the entire winter season. You may buy a few extra items to complete a look, but most likely you will find many decorations you already have to redecorate your home after the holidays.

Do you have some decorating tips? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.

The Real Story of Santa Claus

Santa-ClausDid you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child? Yes?

OK, how about now? As an intelligent and well-educated adult, do you believe in Santa Claus now? Certainly not, you say?

In that case, you might be interested to know that the younger version of yourself – the version filled with the wonder and magic of Christmas, and blessed with the wonderful innocence of childhood – that version of you was correct. And the current version of yourself – the wise and worldly version that knows there’s really no such thing as Christmas magic – that version of you is wrong.

Because in fact, there really is a Santa Claus – or at least there was.

A Man Morphs Into a Myth
Santa is a man of numerous names. One of those names you’ve probably heard many times – jolly old Saint Nicholas. That version of Santa Claus is quite real, because there really was a Saint Nicholas. And he helped to inspire the modern-day myth of Santa Claus.
Nicholas was born into a wealthy family late in the third century A.D. in the Greek colony of Patara. He became a bishop of the church in Patera, where he served until his death in the middle 4th century A.D.

But there’s a legend associated with Nicholas that eventually led to his canonization as a saint. And it also led to the modern-day character of Santa Claus.

The Birth of Santa Claus
Nicholas inherited great wealth from his parents. As a young man he gave away much of that wealth, but there are different versions of just how he did that.

According to one version, Nicholas encountered a man who was down on his luck. The poor man had been wiped out financially, and as a result he was unable to provide a dowry for his three daughters.

But Nicholas came to the rescue. By the dark of night, Nicholas crept up to an open window of the man’s house, and tossed 3 bags of gold inside – a bag for each daughter.
And as one popular version of the story recounts, each bag of gold happened to land in a stocking or a shoe arranged along the fireplace mantle – the root of the Christmas tradition of stuffing stockings with gifts.

Saint Nicholas Becomes Jolly Old St. Nick
As so often happens, the passage of time magnified the legend of Nicholas. He became known worldwide as a protector of children and a giver of gifts. In time, a day was set aside in many regions to honor him: St. Nicholas day. Much of the world celebrates this day in early December, and marks the occasion with the tradition of giving gifts to children.
For many centuries, the Dutch have celebrated St. Nicholas day on December 5. According to long-standing legend, it’s on this day that St. Nicholas re-appears and bestows gifts upon all well-behaved children.

And the Dutch name for St. Nicolas? Sinterklass – known to you as Santa Claus…

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus…
Parents of young children often struggle with the concept and legend of Santa Claus. After all, most parents wish to be honest and forthright with their children.

But Santa Claus is such an integral part of the magic of Christmas, particularly for young children. And few parents wish to rob a child of that all too brief and fleeting window of innocent, trusting belief in a kind and benevolent legend.

So if your child climbs upon your knee one day this Christmas season, and asks with hopeful eyes whether Santa is real – just think of Nicholas, who became St. Nicholas, who became Sinterklass, who became Santa Claus, and answer: “Yes, child, there really is a Santa Claus.”

Jason Woodward is Director of eCommerce for ChristmasDesigners.com, a leading supplier of both indoor and outdoor LED Christmas lights and decoration products. Christmas Designers caters to all Christmas enthusiasts, including private homeowners and professional installation contractors. You can also find Jason on Google+

Image Credit: pintaw.com

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

In just a few days it will be time to deck the halls and light the tree.  For many households the day after Thanksgiving means out with the turkey and in with the tree. If you are gearing up to decorate and spread some holiday cheer look no further.  LTD has all of the best Christmas items to make you and your family jolly. This week we have festive items that we know you will adore just like we do!

Christmas-garland

A classic Christmas décor staple is lighted garland. Make a simple statement on your outdoor décor and hang garland over fences, door frames and windows. This 16 ft Solar LED Garland is great for creating a holiday scene anywhere with a handy solar panel attached that includes an on/off switch.  Choose between a steady glow or blinking lights for a show. With solar you can even decorate those difficult to decorate places such as a mailbox. This lighted garland will be perfect to great visitors at your driveway.

Elf-pants-treat-bagsIf you love to give treats away for the holidays, look no further. This Set of 8 Elf Pants Treat Bags will bring smiles and a few laughs as your friends and family receive their treats. These red, white and green elf pants are all the fashion at the North Pole. Complete with suspenders and jingle bells at the toes it’s the perfect way to give a gift for the holidays.

Another great use for these adorable treat bags is not for treats at all! If you have a large tree, use them as an ornament. A Christmas party wouldn’t be complete without snacks, fill them with snacks or candy and place around your home for guests. Your elf treat bags are sure to be a smash!

Holiday-Paper-Towel-HolderThe kitchen can be a difficult room to decorate for the holidays. When decorating the kitchen you want to ensure that all of your decorations are safe around heat and food. A way to be sure you are choosing the right items is by exchanging a few  items you already have for festive ones. These Holiday Paper Towel Holders are a perfect example! Choose from a snowman with a top hat or colorful stacked ornaments. They are not only useful but bring the holidays to your kitchen. With cheerful and shiny accents, the Christmas spirit won’t be far with these on your counter.

Christmas-dog-toysDon’t forget your favorite furry family member! These Set of 3 Holiday Stuffing –Free Dog Toys will keep tails wagging and even bring some holiday cheer into your home. Your pet will be thrilled to discover three squeakers in each toy. These toys provide less mess but most of all are safe for your best friend to play with. The set includes; one Santa, one snowman, and one super cute reindeer.  You and your pet will spend hours of quality time together with these three!

Have you bought something from us lately? What is your favorite LTD product of the moment? Let us know in the comments below.