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Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

While it may never reach the level of controversy of how to hang the toilet paper roll or which way to load the dishwasher, the right time to put up the Christmas tree is a heavily-debated household topic.

There are answers to this question that depend on everything from Prince Albert to the opinion of tree growers to something called Adelaide Pageant Day.

RELATED: They spent 30 hours to identify the best fake Christmas tree

Whether you're undecided on the best time to put up your Christmas tree or are merely looking for reinforcement for your preferred date, at least one of these timing traditions is bound to work for you:

Forbidding the tree before turkeys

The ultimate etiquette authority, Miss Manners, doesn't specify when you should put up the tree, but does note succinctly that it isn't done before Thanksgiving.

The nouveau 12 days of Christmas approach

In days of yore, the 12 days of Christmas started with Christmas Day and wrapped up on January 6, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Apartment Therapy suggests a more modern 12 Days of Christmas tree strategy, putting up the tree for around 12 days beginning in mid-December and taking it down right after Christmas.

This dovetails nicely with advice from the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which noted in The Telegraph that while it's cool to buy live trees from December 1 onwards, the middle of the festive season, around the third week of Advent, is a good compromise between putting the tree up immediately and waiting for Christmas Eve.

Prince Albert

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is widely heralded as the man who lit up the Victorian Christmas tree tradition in the 1840s, bringing it to Britain from his native Germany. If you want to stick with the original Christmas Tree timeline of Albert and his German forebears, go with Christmas Eve. 

The Aussie approach

According to Monash University religious diversity professor Gary Bouma in The Age, the established guideline in Australia is not to put up the tree before December, but not everyone abides by it.

By "not everyone," he may mean the full 14 percent of Be a Fun Mum blog readers, who said they put up the tree in early November. They did restrain themselves until after something known as Adelaide Pageant Day, the second Saturday of November. And they are in solidarity with the Fun Mum herself, who says she put her tree up in early November because, "My mum always did. I love Christmas and like to string it out."

Viva Italiana

You may be leaning towards putting the tree up the first week of December anyhow, but this Italian tradition provides a godd reason for it. According to Italy Magazine, Italian Christmas traditions begin on December 8 with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date set in the Catholic calendar in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Since December 8 is a public holiday and most Italians get the day off, it has become the day when many of them put up their Christmas trees and other holiday decor.

The final word on when to put up your tree

Assuming your own family tradition isn't already firmly in place, Southern Living gets the last word on the best time to put up the Christmas tree. That's because the ultimate authorities on Southern taste on all things mayo and wicker are also so darn sensible and inclusive on this topic: "We pass no judgement, but here are the times for when to put up your Christmas decorations. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest that you should set up a Christmas tree or put up Christmas-specific decorations."

The reason you shouldn't do it earlier? "It is inconsiderate for your beautiful tree to steal the thunder from your big turkey dinner."

As for the latest time to put up the tree, that would be Christmas Eve, a nod to bygone, less holiday-crazed times.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade star lineup announced

Big-named stars will headlining this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 2017.

Jimmy Fallon, Smokey Robinson, Wyclef Jean and Leslie Odom, Jr. will be joining 98 Degrees and the Goo Goo Dolls for the annual New York City spectacular, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Broadway will also highlight new shows like “Anastasia,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Once on This Island” and “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Don’t forget about the massive balloons the parade is known for.

This year Olaf will join the parade, along with Chase from “Paw Patrol.”

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Photos: Target’s hot holiday toys for 2017

What toys will be on your children’s holiday lists? Target says these are the hot toys this year.

Atlanta 4th of July Events & Festivals

Celebrate America's independence this weekend with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race or check out one of the many festivals and fireworks displays in and around the metro area.

 FAIRS, FESTIVALS, ETC. 

The Dunwoody 4thof July Parade. Parade steps off at 9 a.m. July 4 at the intersection of Mount Vernon Road and Jett Ferry Road. www.dunwoodyga.org.

Decatur’s Pied Piper Parade. The parade ends with a family-friendly event downtown on the square where all can settle-in and enjoy a fireworks show. Parade lineup at 5:30 p.m. July 4 at First Baptist Church of Decatur. The parade starts at 6 p.m. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and the fireworks begin after dark.   www.visitdecaturgeorgia.com.

Chamblee 4th of July Celebration. Includes a bike parade, mini train rides, cornhole tournament, live music, food and fireworks. 5-10 p.m. July 4. Keswick Park, 3496 Keswick Dr, Chamblee. www.chambleega.com.

Fourth in the Park Celebration on Marietta Square. Parade begins at 10 a.m. July 4 at Roswell Street Baptist Church and travels west on Roswell Street, north on East Park Square past Glover Park and the Square, down Cherokee Street and ends at North Marietta Parkway. There will be an arts and crafts show, free concerts, games and a fireworks show. www.mariettaga.gov.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race. This is the 48th year for our city’s famous 10k, drawing thousands of participants, volunteers and spectators to Atlanta. The course runs from Buckhead to Piedmont Park, with wheelchair racers starting at 6:43 a.m. and the main start at 7:30 a.m. in waves of racers. For more info, go to ajc.com/peachtree.

FIREWORKS

Atlanta Braves and Gwinnett Braves fireworks. The Atlanta Braves will have fireworks at SunTrust Park Tuesday, July 4 following the game with the Houston Astros. The Gwinnett Braves will have fireworks at Coolray Field on July 4 following their game against the Norfolk Tides.

Lenox Square. This year, Lenox Square is partnering with Centennial Olympic Park for its 4th of July celebration. So, while Lenox will still host the AJC Peachtree Road Race, there will be no fireworks at Lenox Square. Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Atlanta. 404-233-6767, simon.com/mall/lenox-square

Star-Spangled Fourth at Mall of Georgia5 p.m. July 4. Free. Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Dr, N.E., Buford. 770-271-9458, simon.com/mall/mall-of-georgia.

Barrington Hall’s 3rd annual “BBQ & Bluegrass.” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 4. Free. Barbecue, beverages and desserts will be available for purchase. Barrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive, Roswell, 770-640-3855, www.roswellgov.com.

Annual Roswell Fireworks Extravaganza. 5:30 p.m.-around 10 p.m. Kids zone, food trucks, live music and fireworks around 9:30 p.m. Front lawn of Roswell High School. 11595 King Road, Roswell. www.roswellgov.com.

Alpharetta 4th of July Fireworks: 6-9:30 p.m. Lots of stuff for kids to do, food, music, and fireworks around 9-9:30 p.m. Wills Park, 1825 Old Milton Parkway,  Alpharetta, 678-297-6130. www.awesomealpharetta.com.

Sparkle in the Park, Lilburn. 5:30 p.m - 10 p.m. Fireworks begin at around 9:30 p.m. July 4.  Lilburn City Park, 76 Main St., Lilburn. www.cityoflilburn.com.

July 4th Celebration on the Lawn. 7-10 p.m. July 4. Town Square, 4488 Pineview Drive, Powder Springs. www.cityofpowdersprings.org.

Red, White & Brew. 6:30-10 p.m.  July 1. $65 for non-members. $50 for members. Tickets include, beer, BBQ, aquarium admission and music. Oceans Ballroom, Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St N.W., Atlanta. www.georgiaaquarium.org.

4th of July Fireworks Hike. 8-10:30 p.m. July 2. $20; $5 parking. Watch Stone Mountain’s fireworks from the top of Panola Mountain (Stone Mountain will have a fireworks show each night July 1-4). Panola Mountain State Park, 2600 Ga. 155 S.W., Stockbridge. 770-389-7801, gastateparks.org/info/panolamt.

July 4th Beach Party Callaway Gardens. July 1-4. The FSU Flying High Circus will perform at 3:30 p.m. Live music starts at 5 p.m. July 1-3, 6 p.m. on July 4. No fireworks on July 2-3.  Fireworks will take place at 9:30 p.m. Day admission is $25-30 for those ages 13 and older, $15 for children ages 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger. Callaway Gardens, US Highway 27, Pine Mountain. 1-800-Callaway, www.callawaygardens.com.

MORE ATTRACTIONS

Stars and Stripes Fest, Covington

Independence Day Celebration, Peachtree City

Dahlonega’s 4th of July Celebration

Duluth Celebrates America, July 3

5 facts about Juneteenth, which marks the last day of slavery

Today marks a pivotal point in American history. One hundred and fifty-two years ago, June 19, 1865,  the last slaves in Texas and more broadly the Confederate South were freed.

Nationally and in cities like Atlanta, the day has been celebrated with parades, plays and other festivities that honor the African-American culture that developed during and after slavery.

Here are 5 answers to some of the questions posed about Juneteenth:

Didn’t the Emancipation Proclamation end slavery years earlier?

Yes and No. Abraham Lincoln made slavery illegal with the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which became federal law on January 1, 1863. However, it took nearly two-and-half years for that message to be relayed to Texas.

How did Juneteenth begin? 

 

On June 19, 1865, Major Gen. Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas, to inform a reluctant community that President Abraham Lincoln two years earlier had freed the slaves and to press locals to comply with his directive.  On this day, Granger announced “General Order No. 3.”

Prior to Granger’s declaration, there was an estimated 250,000 slaves residing in Texas, according to historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

What caused the delay in Texans receiving this news?

 

Some have noted that Texas geographic isolation may have played a role in the delay. According to Juneteenth.com, some accounts place the delay on a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news, while others say the news was deliberately withheld.

 Even with the order,  slavery did not end in Texas overnight, according to report by Gates. Many slave owners traveled to Texas with their slaves to escape regulations enforced by the Union Army in other states for some time.

Why is it called Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a combination of "June" and "nineteenth," in honor of the day that Granger announced the abolition of slavery in Texas. The day is also called Freedom Day.

RELATED: Quiz: Slavery in the U.S.

How are people honoring Juneteenth today?

While parades and festivals took place over the weekend, today several people across social media have created tributes to keep the history of Juneteenth alive.

 

 

 

Cinco de Mayo: Five things you didn’t know

Cinco de Mayo is upon us. Many will be celebrating the holiday with margaritas and Mexican food.

>> Read more trending news  

Here are five facts about the Mexican holiday that you can use to impress your friends:

1) Despite a common misconception, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The holiday celebrates the  Battle of Puebla , where, against all odds, the Mexicans made a stand against an invading French army in 1862.

2) Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than it is in Mexico, with the exception of the city of Puebla. Mexico holds more of a celebration on its  Independence Day, September 16, than it does on Cinco de Mayo.

3) The holiday means big business for the avocado industry. The  California Avocado Commission says that Americans consume around 81 million avocados during Cinco de Mayo.

4) Chandler, Arizona, has a unique way of celebrating Cinco de Mayo. It hosts a Chihuahua race every year.

>>  Quiz: How much do you know about Cinco de Mayo?

5) The 2010 U.S. Census estimates that about 31.8 million U.S. residents are of Mexican origin. The largest concentration of Mexican-Americans is in Los Angeles, the city that holds the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S.

Thanksgiving 2016: Here are some recipes for those Thanksgiving leftovers

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you’re stuff with stuffing, full of cranberries and up to there with turkey.

So, what’s for lunch?

When you’ve made a meal that could feed a football team, you’re bound to have a few leftovers. What can you do with all that food – repurpose, that’s what.

Here are a few recipes to help you with those turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes leftovers.

Thanksgiving dinner sandwich

Ingredients

4 slices bread, toasted

4 ounces (about 4 small slices) warmed leftover turkey

1 cup warmed leftover mashed potatoes

½ cup warmed leftover turkey gravy 

1 cup warmed leftover green beans

1 cup warmed leftover stuffing

¼ cup whole berry cranberry sauce

 Directions

Layer 2 bread slices with the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and stuffing.  Top with the cranberry sauce and the remaining bread slices.

Thanksgiving leftovers casserole

Ingredients

Stuffing – enough  to cover bottom of 9x13 pan

4 cups chopped leftover roasted turkey

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 tsp. paprika

Directions

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Prepare stuffing as directed on package; spread onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine turkey, mixed vegetables and mayo; spoon over stuffing.

Mix potatoes and cheese; spread over turkey mixture. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake 30 to 40 min. or until heated through. 

Cajun-style red beans and rice with turkey

Ingredients

1 cup long grain rice, uncooked

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped green bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (15 ounces each) mild red beans in chili sauce, undrained

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Cook rice according to package directions.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in beans, cumin, salt and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in turkey; cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add parsley to rice; mix lightly. Spoon onto serving platter; top with the bean mixture.

Bacon wrapped stuffing bites

Ingredients

1 (6.5 ounce) packet cornbread stuffing mix

1 large egg

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped white onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 apple chopped

1 cup chopped pecans

2 Italian sausage links, casings removed and torn into chunks

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

15 slices bacon, cut in half

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the stuffing mix, egg and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon.

Add the onion, garlic, parsley, apple and pecans. Mix to combine.  

Add the torn sausage, curry powder and lemon zest. Mix to combine.

Arrange the bacon strips on a baking sheet. Take a small mound of stuffing and form a little log, or finger. Place the mound in the center of each bacon strip. Wrap the bacon around the stuffing.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and stuffing is browned and cooked through.

Cheesy leftover mashed potato pancakes

Ingredients

3 cups chilled leftover mashed potatoes

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons chopped scallions, green and white parts

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for pan-frying

Sour cream, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, cheese, scallions, egg and 3 tablespoons flour until combined. (See Kelly's Notes.) Using your hands, divide the mixture into 12 portions. Roll each portion into a compact ball then flatten it into a pancake about a 1/2-inch-thick.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a shallow dish and carefully dredge each pancake in the flour.

Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. (Add enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan.)

Fry the pancakes, in batches, until they're golden brown and crispy on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more oil to the pan as needed between batches. (Do not overcrowd the pan and do not flip the pancakes too soon or they won't develop a crisp crust.) Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt.

Serve the potato pancakes topped with sour cream and garnished with additional chopped scallions.

Daddy Days: A letter for Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share a letter the 1-year-old wrote to my wife.

A couple weeks ago he pulled me aside and said he had jotted down some thoughts for a Mother’s Day card. He knew I had some writing experience, so he asked if I could look it over. This sounded reasonable, so I obliged.

>> Read more trending stories  

I had to polish it up a bit (man, kids can babble on), but here’s the finished product:

Dear Mom,

We’ve been close since the beginning. For whatever reason, we just seemed to click. I’m hungry, you have food. I want to sleep, you put me in bed. I need a clean diaper, and you detect this through some magical power — I’m convinced is hidden inside your nose — and give me a fresh diaper.

From vicious vacuums trying to eat me to loud noises coming from the radio, you’ve saved me so many times. I love that.

I also love that you understand how challenging walking can be. And how any shirt I’m wearing might as well be a straight jacket when it comes to me trying to remove it.

I love that you appreciate my prowess at climbing the two steps to the top of the 24-inch slide in the backyard. And also how you celebrate my slide down every time as if I just scored a perfect 10 in the high dive event at the Olympics.

I’m sorry about the whole splashing in the toilet thing and that “code brown” situation in the bathtub. I should know better. But I’m thankful you were there to handle it, because that Dad guy doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to bathroom situations.

(Just between us, he totally asked me if I could just “hold it until Mom gets home” the first time he was watching me while you were gone.)

I have to admit I was confused by people patting your tummy and saying, “the baby will be here soon.” I thought I was the baby. I did some research into the subject and it appears I’m going to be an older brother. I’m assuming this isn’t going to impact your ability to protect me from the vacuum.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about how wonderful you’ve been. No one has made sure I was more completely taken care of than you, and I know my baby brother is going to be just as well taken care of.

In the 15 months I’ve been in this world (and the two years we’ve been together), no one has more thoroughly shown me what love is than you. I love that.

I hope you have a great Mother’s Day. You’re certainly a great mother.

The midnight surprises in this basket will make a new mom laugh on Mother’s Day

Middle of the night diaper changes are no fun. This clever gift idea will keep new moms laughing at midnight.

At first glance, it looks like a regular gift basket filled with diapers and other necessities. But take a closer look, and you’ll see that each diaper is pre-stuffed with a little message. Use these tiny notes to encourage the new mom or tell her a joke. Even the silliest of jokes can be funny to someone who is sleep deprived.

>> Read more trending stories  

You can also include a little extra pampering for the mom like a pair of soft slippers. Anything to make those late night moments a little more enjoyable.

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Don’t waste money on expensive gifts when these 5 DIY decorations will make Mom feel so special

With these easy DIY projects, you will have everything you need to transform Mom’s space into a beautiful wonderland of pretty flowers and thoughtful details.

Set the tone for Mother’s Day by surprising her with a decorated kitchen or dining room for the full effect. She will be so overjoyed with the bright happy transformation.

Floral initial

This pretty statement piece is easy to make with a few supplies from the craft store. Transform fake flowers and a paper letter into this gorgeous decoration by simply cutting the stems from the flowers and glueing them inside the letter. Paint the outside of the letter for a finished look. Find the full tutorial on LuLu’s blog.

>> Read more trending stories  

Mother’s Day Banner

A customized banner will brighten up any wall and make Mom feel super special. This one from Modern Beautiful is so simple to make. It’s designed to be printed at home. Then just cut out the circles, string onto a ribbon and hang.

Paper flower centerpiece

Make this pretty centerpiece for your Mother’s Day table from paper. Paper flowers are easy to make once you get the hang of it. They look beautiful and will last forever. Plus, Mom will appreciate the time you took to make them. See how to make these out of crepe paper on Creative Jewish Mom.

Painted Vase

After you’ve made some pretty paper flowers in Mom’s favorite color, you’ll need a vase to put them in. This gold and white striped vase starts as a tin can. Paint pretty stripes and voila you’ve got a centerpiece. Find step by step directions on Two Delighted.

Hand-painted table runner

Your centerpiece will look perfect on this colorful runner. The kids will have tons of fun making this one for Mom because its finger painted. Use brightly colored craft paint to make these polka dots in whatever arrangement you like. Mom will love the creativity of this one! HGTV shows us exactly how to make it.

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