Fun July 4th Dessert: Berry Flag Tart

The star of your patriotic menu will be this flag-shape dessert featuring bright red raspberries, tart blueberries, and dough cut in stripes and star shapes. Despite the masterpiece finish, it's actually quite simple to make.

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Easy 4th of July Decorations

Decorate your home in the spirit of Independence Day with our red, white, and blue 4th of July decorations. From flags to fireworks, these easy decorations cover every July 4th theme you can think of -- and they're cute to boot.

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Our Favorite July 4th Recipes

Take the guesswork out of creating a delicious spread of 4th of July food. Our July 4th entrees (hot dogs! ribs!), drinks (punch! sangria!), side dishes (fruit and pasta salads!), and desserts (mmm, pie) make organizing a patriotic potluck a breeze.

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Festive July 4th Desserts

Celebrate Independence Day with these festive 4th of July desserts! With star-shape scones and piecrusts, tempting tarts, colorful shakes, and fresh berries, these recipes for 4th of July desserts are sure to stand out at your patriotic celebration.

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Easy 4th of July Party Ideas

Gather your friends and use these patriotic decorating, entertaining, and recipe ideas for this year's 4th of July celebration. From festive star banners and refreshing watermelon coolers to raveworthy party favors and more, your 4th of July party is bound to be summer's biggest shindig.

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4th of July Cake Recipes

Headed to a 4th of July potluck? Cakes are a dreamy way to end the day (well, that and fireworks), and our collection of berry-topped cakes, lush chocolate cakes, swirled sprinkle cakes, and layered red velvet cakes are worth their own oohs and aahs.

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Coconut Cream Island Punch

Make our DIY party cocktail -- that includes just a few tasty ingredients -- for an adults-only drink everyone can agree on. Cut-up star fruit provides a gorgeous base inside your drink pitcher.

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Popular in Holidays

How to Choose a Fake Tree for Christmas

If you don't care for the mess of a real evergreen, or if allergies prevent you from having a live tree, try choosing an artificial tree for your holiday decorating.

Buying Tips for Fake Trees

Christmas trees are a nearly universal element in holiday decorating. Some people don't like the fuss and mess of a live tree, while others have allergies that preclude them from having a real evergreen. If you choose a fake tree for Christmas, consider the size, accent, and height. Use these ideas as a guide when purchasing your fake trees for the holidays.

Choosing Fake Tree Accents

  • Prelit Fake Trees: Prelit artificial trees are a great way to minimize setup and cleanup (and avoid the holiday trauma of a giant ball of tangled lights). However, prelit fake trees are generally more expensive, and you can't change the size or color of the lights from year to year. Swapping burned-out lights for fresh ones may also be a challenge. If you choose a prelit fake tree, look for one that is labeled "continuous on" or "with burn-out protection." This means that if a single bulb on the strand burns out, the rest of the lights stay on.
  • Flocked or Accented Fake Trees: When an artificial tree is flocked, its branches look like they have been dusted with snow or glitter. You can choose how flocked you want your fake tree to be; some are dusted more heavily than others. Additional fake tree accents also may include natural-looking elements, such as pinecones and berries. Keep in mind that these items cannot be removed, so choose flocked or accented fake trees may not match your decorating style if it changes from year to year.

Selecting Tree Height and Width

Most fake trees for the holidays come in one of three widths, generally labeled as full, slim, or pencil. Artificial trees also come in a range of heights, beginning at tabletop size and increasing usually in half-foot increments up to about 12 feet. To ensure the best fake tree for your home, measure the spot where you plan to display the artificial tree and leave enough room to maneuver around it to decorate.

Choosing Fake Tree Material

  • Types of Branches: Artificial trees come with two types of branches -- hinged or hook-in. Hinged fake trees, which consist of just a few parts, have permanently affixed branches and are generally easier to set up. Hook-in branches are individually hooked into a specific spot on a central tree pole. These fake trees take much more time to put together and cannot be prelit, but they also tend to be less expensive.
  • Types of Material: Fake trees are made using one of two types of plastic: PVC or PE. The main difference in materials is in how the trees look. PVC needles are attached to the fake tree branches using wires. PE fake trees are fabricated, so both the needles and the branches better resemble those of a real tree. Branch tips may also be sculpted, which means they better replicate the look of a real evergreen.
  • Tinsel, Feather, and Other Fake Trees: While many fake trees for Christmas are designed to resemble real evergreens, some of them are designed to fill a different decorating need. Tinsel and feather trees are two common examples; these are typically white, silver, or gold. While many are often used as tabletop trees, tinsel trees are available in full-size as well.

Note: The density or tip count indicates how full your fake tree looks. When purchasing, evaluate your fake tree's branches for sturdiness; if you have lots of ornaments, you want branches sturdy enough to hold them.

See on the next page after the video: Additional Considerations When Choosing Fake Trees.

Additional Considerations When Choosing Fake Trees

  • Price: Just as fake trees can be found in all sizes, they can also be found in all price ranges. Ultimately, the quality of the tree and additional accents will affect the pricing. While off-the-shelf varieties are generally affordable, custom fake trees are also available -- but keep in mind that they come with a custom price tag.
  • What's Included: The general life expectancy of a fake tree is about 10 years, and some may come with a warranty. Stands are usually included; plastic versions may be less stable than those made of metal. Some fake trees also include additional accessories such as a storage bag. Your fake tree should also be fire retardant and fade resistant.
  • Decorating with Both Fake and Real Trees: Both artificial and live evergreens can be deftly worked into a variety of holiday styles and schemes. A small fake tree is a great tabletop choice to display a themed set of decorations or to complete a room's color scheme, in addition to a full-size live evergreen. A miniature real evergreen can be used in a room where there isn't lots of space, such as the kitchen, for added fragrance.

How to Choose an Artificial Christmas Tree

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