Tuesday, December 18, 2012


  The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green 

The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.

Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Asissi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe. Different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources.

The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children. In countries where a representation of the Nativity Scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones.

Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom. The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red, White, silver and gold are also popular. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.

The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship; according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.

The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language. The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century.

From Germany the custom was introduced to Britain, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria. By 1841 the Christmas tree had become even more widespread throughout Britain. By the 1870s, people in the United States had adopted the custom of putting up a Christmas tree. Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and

Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus. Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage. The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. The outside of houses may be decorated with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures.

Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels. Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas display. The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen, make up Christmas wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians for the Advent season. Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world.

Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places. It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations. Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Our best 18 picks from Glamour results - Sexiest Men of 2012
They are selected from 100 pics
 W. Smith & G Clooney
 R. Pattison & B. Pitt
M. Salling & C. Crawford

L. Hensworth & R. Downey

Z. Efron & D. Gandy

L. Dicaprio & L. Askarsgard

G. Hedlund & J. Duhamel

A. Kutcher & T. Lautner
J. Temberlake & D. Beckham


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 Browse through more than 20 of modest wedding dresses to find the right bridal gowns for you

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Friday, October 5, 2012


Big things are happening in London. When it comes to shopping in London, there is a lot of variety, according to McKinney. There is also plenty of British "quirk" to be found.

 From designer labels on Fifth Avenue to knock-offs in Chinatown, there are plenty of choices for those who want to spend a little, or a lot, of cash.  "New York City is known for being a melting pot," Panella said. "That hits it on the head when it comes to shopping areas in the city."

When people think couture, Paris is the city that usually comes to mind. In this European shopping mecca, fashionable stores inhabit beautiful neighborhoods, and stylish people not only strut down catwalks, but the Parisian streets.

No list of best cities for shopping would be complete without Milan. Virtually every fashion house in the world has a location in this Italian city. There are even guided shopping tours arranged for tourists looking to do a little browsing.  With all those choices, even the most serious shopper can get overwhelmed. What Tobe Report finds most compelling are the stores with special interests that have a "well-curated range of brands."

Tourists flock to Los Angeles for its warm weather and beaches, thanks to the 320 days of sunshine a year the city gets. In fact, L.A. experienced an all-time record for tourists in 2011, with 26.9 million people paying the city a visit. And then there's the shopping. This large, spread-out city provides a lot of choices when it comes to spending.  "L.A. is very much a mall culture," Lan said. Many were built in the 1960s and '70s, but in 2010, Santa Monica Place was renovated and reopened. It has become the anchor mall in the Santa Monica beach area.

Hong Kong is all about luxury, convenience and exclusive merchandise, according to Tobe Report editor Amy Lan. The city has seen an explosion in tourism, with 42 million visitors taking in Hong Kong in 2011. That's a 16.2 percent increase from 2010. And those tourists are shopping. Most of those who visit Hong Kong are from mainland China, and Lan says they're looking to buy luxury goods at a lower cost.