Choices can be so hard, you know?

Every day, so many choices.  Coffee, tea?  White socks, red socks?  Banana nut muffin, cranberry orange scone?

Here are just a few of my hard choices…

Do I need a turquoise chair for my big blue vase, or a big blue vase for my turquoise chair?  (Both.)

White trim, black trim, or leopard trim?  (One of each, different occasions.)

Do I need a big, sparkly, mirrored urn or a bigger, sparkly, mirrored urn?  Or a pair?  (Things look better in threes.)

Rustic, burlap snowman or lighted, lantern snowman?  (There is more than one room in the house.)



Here’s a choice over which I did not wrestle – warm, toasty, soft, and pretty!  Turquoise with snowflakes, of course.


And this – a new Natures Winter Wonder Woodland Santa from Jim Shore.  I love the snowy white and soft pastels of this, as well as the cute animals.


I hope your choices are as easy as these!

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S.  Don’t miss our “favorite Christmas photo” giveaway on Intstagram – #christmasplace #christmasinjuly

Oh My Minis!

I have, from childhood, been drawn to miniature things – miniature figurines, miniature tea sets, mini books – I even have a collection of mini, hand-painted water colors picked up along my travels.  So when I found the new, mini fairie collection in the store, I immediately fell in love with these darling little cottages, figures, and accessories.

How I would have loved to arrange the pieces and imagine complicated (and probably somewhat incomprehensible) tales of their comings and goings.  You probably know a youngster who would dream of finding a little fairie under the tree or in a stocking on Christmas morning!  Take a peek at the collection.  (Click two times on any image to see the full-size photo.)

Santa and his village are also represented in miniature.  These pieces could easily become holiday heirlooms to be arranged and rearranged by both grown-ups and children a hundred times, for many Christmases to come.

The tables, chairs, mushrooms and plants, and many other accessories are sold separately, so you can assemble the village that suits your fancy.  They would look so sweet on a bookshelf or tabletop.

Not every fairie is a miniature, though.  Here’s a delicate girl who would add real charm to your home or greenhouse – and she’s wearing a touch of Christmas sparkle.  Everything’s better with a little glitter!


May even your tiniest dreams come true this Christmas – but we hope you’ll be dreaming big, too!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  One more – in pure white, she’s quite the charmer of butterflies.  She kind of reminds me of a famous area resident .. hmmm, of whom am I thinking now?

Posted in Store on July 8, 2014 – 5:24 pm | Comments (0)
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Rudolph!

Santa’s not the only kid in town at Christmas Place .. well, not if Rudolph has anything to say about it!  While Santa was away this week, Rudolph snuck in to the workshop for a few photos – but I don’t think our guests were fooled!

Where’s Santa??

Where’s your beard?! I need to pull on your beard! I don’t think you’re Santa Clause, no, I do not.

When we all get together .. we can never agree on a restaurant!

Naughty! No – no – I mean “nice!” We’ve definitely been nice all year!!

That tickles! You wouldn’t do this to Santa, would you?!

Don’t worry, the Big Guy (the one who wears red) will be back by this weekend!  But don’t forget to wish Rudolph ”Happy 50th Birthday!” when you see him – he’s still looking pretty young for 50, isn’t he?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Bring the kids to the store every Saturday in July for face-painting and balloon creations – it’s almost Christmas!

Posted in Santa on July 1, 2014 – 1:59 pm | Comments (0)
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Three (ish) for Thursday!

I only say (ish) because I can’t use just three pictures – there’s more – and even a video!

We’re putting together a new home décor section in the store, and it’s filled with a mix of country garden and, of course, Christmas goodies.  I immediately fell in love with the AquaFlame flameless, water fountain candles.  They are beautiful and relaxing, especially tucked in among some greenery and lighted flowers.  Here’s a little video that shows them in action.

Fill the wax cylinder with water, and it bubbles up the center making a flame look at the top, and runs back down the interior perimeter of the candle.  It can run on batteries or be plugged in to an outlet, and there’s a convenient, built-in 5-hour timer.

Do you love those distressed signs like I do?  I’m a big fan of the rustic look.  Here are a couple of other signs that caught my eye today.

And #3 – Santa says “USA All The Way!” Yes, he’s excited that the U.S. team has advanced in World Cup soccer from the Group of Death to the elimination round – the team’s still on the nice list for now!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. You do realize that Christmas is officially less than six months away now? I thought you did.

Posted in Store on June 26, 2014 – 4:08 pm | Comments (0)
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Santa is Good with Technology!

The only thing missing is a red hat with white fur trim, right?!

The next time you come to the store, here’s one more reason to check out Department 56 – look for the iPad, and find the latest information about products, video design tips, and store opportunities.  This is the first of several tablets we plan to use throughout the store to give you the opportunity to learn more about all your favorite collectibles.

We’ve designed it to be extremely user-friendly!  Although it won’t bring you a cup of coffee or rub your feet, it does have only four buttons to push – well, screen-touches – to get right to the information you want to see.

Here in Dept. 56, we offer a quick overview of each village collection – you may not have realized just how many there are, and we’ll tell you why each is unique.

One of the favorite links is to our Designer Tips – and we plan to add lots more tips during the year.  (You can also find these at our website Designer Tips link and on our YouTube channel.)

You get to choose which video you want to watch – or, feel free to watch them all!

You can also sign up to receive e-mails from Christmas Place – and you can choose what messages you want to receive from us – general store information, notice of promotions and sales, information about your favorite collectible items, etc.  We will never sell your e-mail address to any other entity, so you can be confident you won’t be receiving anything from us that you haven’t requested.  You can also ask us to remove your e-mail from the list at any time.

Lastly, you can sign up for our Christmas Rewards program – the more you shop, the more rewards you receive!  You can also receive rewards when you shop online, no minimum purchase is required, and every qualified order adds to your rewards balance.

Santa is very happy that we are now able to offer you so much more information on demand – I think I heard him exclaim that everyone who uses the iPad to look up information is automatically on the nice list this year!  ;)

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Posted in Store on June 6, 2014 – 12:08 pm | Comments (0)
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Department 56 is Now Under Construction

We’re already wrapping up day three four of our construction adventure, and the results so far are spectacular!

Jill Shlung, a designer who works with Department 56 on their showrooms and other special projects, is in the store through Saturday.  She’s rebuilding our Dickens’ Village and North Pole displays, and giving tips to guests all along the way.  We’re also drawing door prizes every day this week, and our already-reduced Department 56 merchandise is an additional 10% off through this Saturday only.

On Friday night and Saturday, June 6th and 7th, she will give three free seminars to our guests!  Friday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. she’ll talk about “Waterfalls, Tunnels, Caves & More.”  Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon her topic will be “Creating a North Pole Village.”  Also on Saturday, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., she will share “Village Techniques.”   Late breaking update:  due to travel plans, the afternoon seminar will have to be cut a bit short, so come early so we can get plenty of info before Jill has to leave!

Come and learn more about creating displays with your own favorite collectibles.

Here’s a little photo gallery of our progress, from our staff gearing up for a week of construction to Jill’s results through early Thursday afternoon.

You are now entering the construction zone!

Monday morning, Dickens’ Village is nowhere in site.

The elves are appropriately attired for the construction zone in hard hats – but with a little elfin flair, of course!!

Clearance collectibles are ready to fly off the shelves!

And the reconstruction is well under way…start by gathering a few miles of Styrofoam and some knives for cutting, as well as some interesting props – notice the decorative suitcases stacked in the corner, to give height variations to the display.

Add a couple of days of labor, and look what you get – a glowing display of narrow streets lined with houses and people and all the architectural and landscaping details that depict life in Charles Dickens’ time. I happen to really like the streaky, atmospheric light effects on the trees…my colleague says I just need to clean the camera lens.  What does he know.

Take special note of the wreaths back-dropping the village – the clocks in each one are a new addition from Dept. 56 this year – the time on each one is set at 5 to 6, of course.

Later on, we’ll have detailed instructions and photos showing how the sparkling stream and waterfall were created – and I believe Jill will be sharing this technique on Friday night, too.

Now, on to the North Pole.

And a few more miles of Styrofoam.  Hey, who’s that paparazzi photo-bombing my shot??

Jill is always happy to take a moment to describe what she’s doing, so be sure to ask if you have any questions.

We’ll be video taping the seminars to share later, but if you have the chance, we know you’ll enjoy coming in person to watch, learn, and ask questions (and maybe we’ll pick your name for a prize).  If you can’t come, though, feel free to send us your questions via Facebook, Twitter, or even e-mail to santa@christmasplace.com – we’ll be sure to get answers for you!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  You’ll find more pictures of the event on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so check them out – and we’d love to see YOUR pictures, too – just use #MyVillage or #ChristmasPlace – we would like to share them with our community.

P.P.S.  Remember, click twice on a picture to see the full size image.

Posted in Department 56 on June 5, 2014 – 5:20 pm | Comments (0)
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As Seen at Christmas Place!

It’s great to be back on the blog again!  We had some technical difficulties over the winter, but we’ve taken care of all that, and I’m looking forward to catching you up with what’s been happening here at Christmas Place and in our little corner of the state – where spring has definitely and finally sprung.

I am going to start with my favorite - photo sharing – here’s my “as seen at Christmas Place” album of the week.  Guess who has just come in from the North Pole to get these Christmas Place elves back into shape for the season?


Well, now that we’ve got the really important stuff out of the way…here’s some fun stuff – just a random collection of items and departments that caught my eye as I strolled through, looking at what’s changing this year.  We have a brand new look in personalizing – what, you can’t tell this is personalizing??  Wait until you see it again next week – we’re so excited with our red floor, and there’s a brand new counter on the way.

 

  These beautiful butterfly coasters I discovered on sale in Santaland.  We also started a sale today in the breezeway – 40% off the lowest price – lots of great bargains there.

Elf Joyce offered to show off the new spring collection of patterns from Vera Bradley – did you know we carry the best selection in East Tennessee?  (shhhhh….right now, all the discontinued items and patterns are on sale for 40% off – don’t tell your friends until you’ve had a chance to check the selection yourself….)

The new summer colors are here too:

My favorite monkey bag (which I’ve shown here before) has shown up with this cute-cute-cute little fox this year – and look at the extremely stylish horse head version below.  So cool.

Fall has always been such a popular theme for us that we decided to add a year-round fall corner – you’ll be inspired to plan ahead when you find this niche in Santaland.

I can’t help but love the creativity of this last image – an old, distressed frame with fall finery attached – including those brilliant little mice! – beautifully highlighting a gorgeous fall wreath.

We’d love to find out what you’ve been doing since last Christmas.  Can you believe, we’re already almost a third of the way through 2014?  Is it time to start a shopping list for next Christmas?

The sun is shining on our corner of heaven this weekend – I hope you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend, too!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Store on April 11, 2014 – 5:41 pm | Comments (0)
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Letters to Santa

It’s not too late to get your letter in to Santa! Here’s a look at what he’s received recently…

Dear Santa,
My name is Maddie. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I have a family, food and love. I don’t need anything else this Christmas. I just want love and joy for all the kids who don’t have toys and food. I want you to give them my pressants (sic) this year.
Love, Maddie

Dear Santa,
I would like to have a pet cat for Christmas. I’ve been very good this year and donated my old toys to needy children. I have some issues with listening, but I am only 5. I promise to be good.
Love, Jayden
P.S. Merry Christmas

Dear Santa,
Ten years ago on this day on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean over Dana Point Harbor, California, we got engaged – and our lives changed forever. Two years ago while on vacation at The Inn at Christmas Place we submitted a “letter to Santa” for a new job and a new house – and you delivered! Now we’re in love and living in beautiful eastern Tennessee, happy and healthy. For Christmas, we want continued health and happiness, and a plan for successful retirement. Our best to you and Mrs. Claus and the elves. Merry Christmas!!!
Harry & Lauren

Hello Santa,
I want you to bring me a bow and arrows and a computer and a phone and a hunting set and God’s grateful love. Thank you.
Isabella

Dear Santa,
I really want a slushy magic because I want to enjoy having slushies with my family and for you to help Mallory and me stop fighting every day, but just fight every few days.
(anon.)

Dear Santa,
Here I am again at The Inn. I have been here 4 times now and it is as beautiful as always!! Each time I have left you a letter asking for only 1 thing for Christmas. That is to pray for my husband John that we have him another Christmas. I want to Thank You because he is here with me again. You see Santa, John is battling kidney cancer with his 1st diagnosis in Nov. of 2002. It has now returned in his liver & in May of 2010 he was given 6 to 9 months. Our children gave us our 1st stay here at The Inn for our anniversary in November of 2010. That was when I first asked you to keep him with us. I know it is all in God’s hands and know you must have a special connection with God! So today again I ask you to keep him with us through another Christmas.
Love,
Angie
Believe!!!

Dear Santa,
This is what I want for Christmas – some icing bags for icing cupcakes because I love making cupcakes and I’m pretty good at it, too! I also want some rolls of duck (sic) tape. Did you know you can make cool things with duck tape like wallets, and flowers! You can! I also want some clothes. By the way, what’s your favorite cookie? I like oatmeal raisin. Please reply!
Love,
Anna
P.S. I also want Peace on earth and love!!!!!

We hope you’ve sent in your letter, and know that Santa will do his best. We wish for you the best gift of all this Christmas – and every day – love!

Janet @ The Christmas Place

Posted in Letters to Santa on December 20, 2013 – 6:12 pm | Comments (0)
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Over at The Inn…

It really is the most wonderful time of the year for the Inn at Christmas Place!

Red and green are the colors of the season for us, and just take a look at how beautifully they invite you to come and warm your hands and hearts around our fireplaces.  We’ll start out on the corner first, though, with a choir leading off with Christmas tunes .. don’t they make you want to sing along?

The cloudy day has not dampened their enthusiasm!  Round the corner, and flanking rows of green candy canes, twinkling with lights and brightened with red-and-green bows, lead the way from the parking lot.

Richly-garlanded in red and green, our front doors are guarded by toy soldiers in sentry boxes.

Come in, take a seat by the fire, warm your hands and feet on a chilly afternoon!

Our lobby tree is dripping in more reds and greens – a magnificent sight!

Take a closer look at some of the ribbons and ornaments.

And of course, there must be sparkling presents around, calling the curious to wonder what treasures wait to be unwrapped on Christmas morning…

When you’re ready to venture down to the lower lobby, Santa will be waiting for you, high in the tree, reviewing letters from boys and girls around the world!

If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll be visiting one night when we’re blanketed with snow.

We’ll keep the lights glowing and the cookies warm for you!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Posted in Inn on December 2, 2013 – 6:27 pm | Comments (0)
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The Elves Give Back

The elves here at Christmas Place really do have the spirit of Christmas year round!  Ask, and most will have a story about a special guest who has made an impression on their lives in one way or another.  We are touched and often inspired by those guests who share a bit of their story with us from time to time.  This makes the experience of working for Santa so much richer and more enjoyable for so many.

This year, we have been inspired to be more thoughtful and intentional in passing a bit of that spirit on to the community around us.  We have been adopting a cause each 30 days or so, and putting our resources and talents into giving back to our county.  We’ve even included pets in our efforts – they bring so much joy to the lives of many, so we raised donations of funds and supplies for an area shelter.

Last month, we raised funds for the Food for Kids program sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank.  Let me quote information about the program we received from Sam Compton, Youth Programs Manager for East Tennessee.

“The Food for Kids program, in so many cases, provides the only food some children will have over an entire weekend, while for others it provides a meal that would otherwise have been skipped. It also offers kids in difficult situations the comfort that comes from knowing there are people out there that truly care about them—something most kids take for granted, but something not all children get to feel. In every school Second Harvest serves, reports of improved self-esteem, behavior, and concentration among Food for Kids participants are common.

“Thanks to coordinated truckload buys with other food banks, “opportunity buy” truckload purchases, and leveraging the buying power of Feeding America (our national affiliate representing 205 food banks across all 50 states) we are able to feed a child every week during the school year for only $60. We feel really good about the program’s impact and efficiency, but we need help to keep it going.

“The food cost alone to offer Food for Kids is $60 per child (with fuel, staff, warehousing, etc., adding additional cost to the food bank that we do not ask sponsors to cover).

“I am so thankful to you (and everyone else you’re working with) for your advocacy for these kids. Please know how invaluable your role is in this process, and that the results of your efforts extend much further than you may realize.”

Simply put, when school is not in session, many kids do not eat.

We are so happy to report that we were able to donate $3,000 – making us the sponsor for an elementary school here in Sevier County for the entire 2013-14 school year!  To know that we are making a real difference in the lives of underserved children who are our neighbors and friends is the best Christmas present we could have this year.

We were invited to visit the Second Harvest facility to present our sponsorship.  They were blessed by another company’s misfortune, and have been enjoying a state-of-the-art warehouse facility for the past two years.  There is even an office for each staff member – rather than having to double- and triple-up in a too-small space, as was the case with their previous location.  Here are pictures from our visit.

What does a ton of beans look like?  Each white “sack” is 2,000 lbs. of pinto beans.  These will be placed into 5-pound bags for redistribution.

Supplies being prepared for a weekend chili cook-off in Knoxville.

On the backpack food aisle – where they strive to provide healthier snacks, such as turkey sticks and whole-grain-based treats.  And chocolate pudding cups.  Chocolate is important for quality of life!

This is a freezer.  It really is.  There is a refrigerator the same size in the next room over.  How do they keep the floor from icing, that’s what we want to know!

 

The program provides a backpack filled with at least 8 food items for each child in need in each home – if they know about siblings, they will also send food for younger children who are not yet in school.

Here is the gang – Miles, Janet, Sam (from Second Harvest), Kelly, and Rhonda.

Second Harvest works with and provides food to other food banks, both in our area and around the nation.  Their purchasing power exponentially increases the impact of the donations they receive.  It was our privilege to tour the beautiful facility, and we look forward to renewing our partnership and commitment for the next school year, too.

Wishing you much joy this Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

Posted in The Spirit of Christmas on November 1, 2013 – 5:25 pm | Comments (0)
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