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Decorating for the Holidays

Don’t settle for a ho-hum Christmas. Go all out with those holiday decorations.

Nothing says Christmas more than holiday plants. A great place to start is with some new Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus. Add some vivid red or orange-blooming Christmas kalanchoes, and you’re off to a good start.

For those new cacti and succulent plants, why not buy some holiday pots? Many gorgeous containers are available in holiday themes. They’re often decorated in red and green with holly leaves and the like.

For the cacti and succulents you already have, give them a new look. Slip the containers into decorative cache pots. Gold and silver ones add a classic touch to the holidays.

Dress up your cacti and succulent plants with colorful pot stakes. Inserted into containers, these contribute to the holiday spirit.

Holiday lights have been a Christmas tradition for nearly a century. While those in the East may have enough evergreen shrubs and trees to decorate, residents in the Desert Southwest often decorate outdoor cacti. The giant saguaro is a favorite for this. Technically the ocotillo or Fouquieria is a succulent. But it is also used for holiday displays. On occasion, people have even decorated the desert Christmas cholla (Opuntia leptocaulis).

Over 80 million homes and businesses are decorated every year at a cost of over $1.2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many areas in the west are known for their holiday light shows, such as the Denver Zoo and Botanical Garden Holiday Light Show. “Holiday Lights-Brilliant Displays to Inspire Your Christmas Celebration” by David Seidman from Storey Publishing, has a complete state-by-state listing to make your search easy.

Seidman, an author and expert on pop culture, traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada visiting the light shows, and chose the brightest and best to share with his readers. Small displays are still done by hand, but the larger ones may require bucket trucks and computers to install and run the displays. Seidman gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at these decorations, and the fascinating and quirky individuals responsible for their creation.

One of the featured light shows is the Albuquerque Biological Park with decorated cactus. Seidman also writes about decorating cacti, and says that lots of property owners participate. According to the author, the images of decorated cacti have been used on greeting cards and Christmas tree ornaments.

In addition, Seidman provides sound, practical advice for do-it-yourself types with complete illustrated, step-by-step instructions for creating displays. He even has an appendix with sources for the materials you need for your own Christmas fantasy of lights.

Christmas books may come and go, but “Holiday Lights” is bound to become a classic.

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