Archives for November 2010

Potted “Living” Christmas Trees Redux

We decided to bring back the Potted Living Christmas Tree (PLCT) post from last year because it’s informative and out of a desperate need for content. This will be year six for our PLCT and unfortunately for my wife, it looks just as Charlie Brown’ish as it did last year.

Charlie Brown Christmas TreeWhen it comes to buying a Christmas tree, the decision for most is to choose between artificial or a barely dead tree. If you go artificial, you can get perfection every year and spend the holidays convincing everyone how close your artificial tree looks to an actual one. If you go to the Christmas tree lot and get a recently-departed tree, you can choose from a hundred or so trees and find the right height and fullness. You can even get it flocked on the spot if that’s your preference. Now Jubbling wants to recommend an alternative – the potted “living” Christmas tree.

A potted Christmas tree is exactly what the name suggests – take a trip to your local nursery and pick out a potted tree to use as your Christmas tree. Jubbling Christmas Tree According to our local nursery, Bainbridge Gardens, robust and durable types of living Christmas trees include the Norway Spruce, Korean Fir, Balsam Fir, Frasier Fir and the Colorado Blue Spruce. They may not be as attractive as an artificial or once-living tree but since it is a potted Christmas tree, you can roll it outside to your porch or patio after the holiday and water it until you use it again the next year. It’s Jubbling 101. Ten years ago, I decided to give it a shot and I purchased a potted tree that ended up in my yard after Christmas. Then in 2004, I decided to do it again only this time I put the tree in a pot and put it outside after Christmas. We have nothing on the Charlie Brown Christmas tree but a little Jubbling and my original $65 investment has carried forward for the last 4 Christmases.

Caring for a Potted Christmas Tree – Limiting the amount of time your potted Christmas tree spends in your house is the best way to make sure it survives the holiday. According to Jenni at Bainbridge Gardens, the best way to care for a potted Christmas tree is:

Before the living Christmas tree goes into the house, give it some transitional time in an unheated garage or outbuilding. If it will be indoors for 5-6 days, it should be in a transitional area for a similar length of time. Check the plant daily and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. We recommend placing the tree in a room that’s between 60 and 65 degrees if possible and definitely not near a heat register.

Our potted Christmas tree will spend 2 weeks in the house but you’re better off following Jenni’s guidelines. Contact your local nursery and see what they have available. A potted Christmas tree may not look perfect but it will more than serve its purpose and that is to hold ornaments, lights and allow you to put presents underneath it.

My kids still pull the “dad’s cheap” card on me but in the end, I think they know it’s Jubbling. And given the option of switching our holiday from celebrating Christmas to Festivus, my kids appreciate the potted Christmas tree a little more. The last thing they want to experience is Festivus and the traditional raising of the aluminum pole.


Jubbling Holiday Shopping Guide: Avoid Toys That Just Do The Endless Loop

It’s not K’nex fault for creating a looping roller coaster that my son really wanted – it’s kind of my fault for saying “go ahead, use your birthday money to buy it.” We spent one hour building it, 30 minutes watching it loop and within 24 hours, lost a key part so it wouldn’t work. Now it’s an inoperable reminder of what we shouldn’t purchase in the future. I’ve discovered that looping and boring are interchangeable when it comes to kids toys.

New or used Legos/Duplos are different. They make a great holiday gift because they are practically indestructible and every creation can be different. Your kids can construct a castle one day and then build a soon-to-be destroyed voodoo version of their sibling the next.


Electricity-Free Nights?

We lost our electricity last week due to the major snow dump, all 4-inches of it, that hit our area and knocked out power for 1 to 5 days. Our outage lasted about 36 hours but from it, we not only gained a greater appreciation for electricity but we also discovered how nice it is to sometimes go without it.

As our second night without power approached, we lit candles that were scattered around the house and then we all crowded around the fireplace. We broke out some games but mostly, we just told stories. My kids talked about favorite holiday and vacation experiences, my wife talked about past boyfriends (ones that got away) and my stories focused on the many stupid things I’ve done. It was great and the phone and television never had a chance to interrupt us. We talked for hours and then around 8 pm, our power came back on. We all kind of paused and then said what everyone says when the power comes back on: “Electricity!” That’s when my daughter commented: “I guess we’re going to stop telling stories now.” We didn’t stop telling stories. Instead, we ran around the house and turned everything off and for the benefit of everyone present, I finished my jubbling-rap by candlelight. We were all relieved that we regained electricity but the fun came from not using it.

I’m definitely not the first person to recommend having electricity-free nights. The idea has been floated around as a way to bring families together and to consume less power. But I am one of the latest believers in the idea and I encourage others to not wait for the next power outage to experience it.


The First Somewhat Jubbling Fad: Silly Bandz

They might not be as hot anymore but Silly Bandz will strike a Jubbling chord after their 15 minutes of glory. First sold retail in early 2009 by Learning Express of Birmingham Alabama, Silly Bandz have since been flinging off the shelves and onto kid’s wrists all over the country. And for some crazy reason, kids are compelled to wear 50 to 100 of them on each wrist to show their commitment to Silly Bandzdom. Silly Bandz come in shapes that include the alphabet, zoo animals, cars/transportation, dinosaurs – even Silly Bandz Dragons (which we spent two days looking for). Once again, like prison cigarettes, our kids work the playground trading their Silly Bandz for other designs, snacks from lunches and who knows what else.

But don’t fret too much parents because the Jubbling will sling in soon as your kids lose interest in their Silly Bandz. That’s because unlike the Bakugan Ben Wa balls, Silly Bandz become what they were designed to be – colorful rubber bands. Rarely in the recent history of kid’s fads has a product had such a useful second-life. Use them to close chip bags, in your kids hair or donate them to your local post office. Reuse your Silly Bandz and you might not feel as ashamed about buying so many and it might lessen the guilt you feel when you let your kid wear 150 of them and they cut off circulation to their hand.


Reusable Shopping Bags Come In Leaded And Unleaded Varieties

Just when we started to feel good about ourselves and regularly use our reusable shopping bags, a story comes out that they may be dangerous due to the toxic levels of lead they contain. It’s not the bags themselves but the leaded paint in the decals put on the bags. Yellow and green are the common leaded culprits. According to The Tampa Tribune, lead was found in bags purchased at Winn-Dixie, Publix, Sweetbay, Walmart and Target. In specific bags from Winn-Dixie and Publix, lead was found at levels above 100 ppm. This is below current EPA standards but will exceed safe levels for children in August 2011.

Some retailers are offering free exchanges or returns – check with the place you purchased your bags from to find out how they are handling the issue. For the most part, consumers seem to care less about their possibly toxic bags. As Elnora Cooper said to the Associated Press with her reusable shopping bag under her arm, “I’m not eating the bag … and I’m not going to get rid of it.”

I’m beginning to think that GroceryShirt 2.0 will have to wait.


The Philadelphia Eagles Convert Lincoln Financial Field To Use Self-Generated Renewable Energy

It’s the first of its kind – the Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field is going to meet all of their future electrical needs through renewable resources. To accomplish this, the Philadelphia Eagles are installing 2500 solar panels and 80 twenty-foot wind turbines. In addition to the move away from fossil fuels, the new setup will allow the Eagles to save over $60 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. They expect to go online with the system in September of 2011.

In related news, the Philadelphia Eagles fans insist that the beatings and intimidation of opposing fans will continue. Just a little more off-the-grid. Your only solace which may take some of the sting out of the continuing harassment is the knowledge that the food thrown at you and the negative references about your mother are coming from a tree-hugging Eagles fan.