Thursday, December 31, 2015


Out with the old and in with the new most always evokes hope, promise and optimism, and there are as many ways to greet and celebrate a new year as there are resolutions you can make [and break soon thereafter!].   All over Florida and close to home around Tampa, dozens of night clubs, yacht clubs and neighborhood clubs offer party atmospheres and wonderful food and drink.

There are those who jam themselves into Times Square, others who love the excitement of being among party revelers downtown around here and still more who prefer the coziness of home with friends or family.   Getting kids involved in New Year's traditions is a great way to make it a family affair. From creating homemade party hats and favors to crafting a home disco or confetti ball, all of New Year's Eve can be spent together on preparing for a special dinner and celebration.

When midnight strikes on television, the littlest ones can scream Happy New Year and go to bed.   It'll be a decade or slightly less until they figure out there is no real Santa Claus and it was not yet midnight in Florida when they were whisked away for sweet dreams.   Older kids can make a time capsule of the year ending and hopes for the year coming in and bury it for a year or five or ten.   Other family-friendly ideas ~ 
  • family slumber party in the living room
  • fondue dinner
  • make popcorn balls
  • movie with intermission
  • candlelight dinner
  • game tournament (think: Risk ~ prepare for: all night)
  • p.j. dance party

For adults, a wine tasting is fun; kids can add flavors to club soda.   A cool neighborhood event is the progressive dinner, where you move from house to house for different courses like appetizers, salad, dinner, dessert, Champagne and sparkling soda at midnight.   Or a pot luck. Or a street party.   With Christmas just a week behind, the neighborhood association or a group of neighbors might spring for a dumpster rental from Bin There Dump That.   Everyone can rid the home of old gift wrap, extra food scraps and overflowing trash cans to begin the new year trash-free, if only for a day.   

Of course, New Year's Eve is simply not complete without a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." Most people know the chorus well, if not the verses.   And lots of us are as perplexed as Billy Crystal in the movie "When Harry Met Sally." 

His character Harry says: "What does this song mean? My whole life, I don't know what this song means. I mean, 'Should old acquaintances be forgot?' Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances? Or does it mean that if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?"
"Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something," Sally responds. "Anyway, it's about old friends."

It was Guy Lombardo who sort of accidentally played "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight between two programs at a live performance in New York in 1929. It caught on as the New Year's Eve tune, and we'll never let it go. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Planning

This is the time of year when holidays come along ~ bing bing bing ~ one after another, and the sharpest of holiday planners is ready for instant changeover once Halloween exits, Thanksgiving comes and goes, Christmas moves through and a New Year is ushered in. Going too fast for you too? Well, with your proverbial ducks in a row, holiday transitions will go smoothly all fall, and you'll look like a very close cousin to Martha Stewart.

To accommodate holiday decorations and accoutrements, it's never too early to do some sorting, donating, clean-up inside and out. And for that, getting a dumpster rental from Bin There Dump That can make the burden lighter -- no trips to the dump, no wondering what to do with yard waste, no struggling with old, broken stuff that's taking up space and taking down your attitude. With things neat and tidy comes a plan for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

The best places for your holiday spirit to shine include:
  • Front door/porch outside
  • Main entrance area inside
  • Kitchen
  • Family room
  • Dining space

The most simple way to manage is to determine in advance what will change and how. Colors are first with orange and black, followed by more orange, yellows, earthy reds and the hues of marmalade. Then the vivid reds, greens and golds of Christmas, which give way to blue and silver for New Year's. More contemporary colors are being incorporated into these holidays, and Florida's signature shades of ocean aqua, soft peach and sandy beige are always welcome.

Your front door is the first welcome, and it's easy here to change a wreath for each holiday, along with a bucket or wood box of seasonally appropriate things like Indian corn, pumpkins (both which conveniently serve Halloween and Thanksgiving), ornaments, pinecones and twigs with a patterned bow. Change the bow.

Simple changes inside will set the stage for a festive, jolly, joyful decor each step along the autumn way of holiday cheer.

  • Scented candles or reed diffusers
  • Small seasonal rug
  • Lamp and lampshade
  • Throws and quilts
  • Hand towels in kitchen and bath
  • Strand of lights around outdoor railing
  • Toss pillows
  • Candy dishes
  • Table linens
  • Cookies in the freezer
  • Holiday-theme plates, bowls or mugs
Now, you are seasonally decorated, and you know whom to call for all the clean up disposal: Bin There Dump That!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas around Tampa

The notion of a white Christmas and chestnuts roasting over an open fire has a romantic aspect until you are bundled up beyond recognition to battle the cold.  Take away the bitter wind and snowy sidewalks and embrace the warmth and equally as stunning Christmas lights, fun and celebration right here in the Tampa Bay region.  It's all about family, friends, reaching out and coming over to share in this joyous season.

Santa trades in his sleigh for watercraft in Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete, Treasure Island, & other waterfront communities around us and parades of boats cast sparkles on the waters from myriad lights on deck and along the rigging.   He also can be found in malls and Christmas parades.   Walking the beach in search of shells and little treasures to be crafted into Christmas ornaments is a common holiday tradition in these parts, along with decorating palm trees and outdoor activities, like:
106th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade - Balboa Island

The Nights of Shimmering Lights is a must-see, drive through the lights in Dover, FL.    More than a million LEDs encase the driving path with all sorts of characters and light statues along the way. It's a delight for all ages, and admission is by the carload. After the drive join other merry people at the Christmas Village for a bite to eat and spot of shopping.

If you are hosting family and friends -- like those from colder climates who do not wish to bundle up beyond recognition every time they step outside -- then plan your events and activities accordingly. Thanks to the British, we have eggnog, and thanks to the Germans, there are candy canes.  There's the old fruitcake joke that there are just a handful of them going around each year because no one really eats fruitcake, but the fact is that fruitcake [credit the ancient Romans] is chock-full of goodness. 

When all the company leaves, you may find such a mess of gift wrap and boxes and trash that you need to call Bin There Dump That for a small Tampa dumpster rental to clean up quick.   It's the easy way to get rid of junk right from the comfort of your own home and start the new year with a clean, tidy, trash-free home and yard.   They deliver, offer weekend service, can help with questions, are residential friendly, take care of your driveway during placement a & pick it all up on your schedule.  Call for Holiday specials!

The weather is of little consequence at Christmas. It's what is in your heart that is The Heart of Christmas. Merry Christmas!