Two for Tuesday

Two things in the store this week:

Hand-painted on the inside of the glass, an incredible ornament from Ne’ Qwa.  Each of these unique ornaments is signed by the artist, and packaged in a velvet box.

Crafted to look like wood, this resin angel has wire wings and holds a twinkling star.  From the Willow Creek line, she will surely enhance your Christmas tree ~ and you might want to keep her on display all year long.

Have a beautiful day!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

My first parade!

What a blast!  On Friday, I walked with The Christmas Place float in the 2008 Dollywood Parade – Santa’s sleigh with Santa, 9 reindeer (you didn’t forget Rudolph, did you?), Uncle Sam, and a few elves and junior elves – three miles through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – my first parade ever.  Three miles of grinning and waving like a nut at the plastic-wrapped crowds as I called out “Merry Christmas!” to the kids and bikers and grannies and teens.

But I confess, I really, really enjoyed it!  Even in the rain, and even when people returned quizzical looks and raised eyebrows at hearing that particular greeting on the second Friday in April.  (Hey, the Big Guy was, like, 20 feet behind me ~ what did they expect me to say??)  I threw out a few Feliz Navidads and Mele Kalikimakas, too.

The best thing of all was the stunned looks on the faces of children still at that age to be in awe of Santa.  Here’s our Singing Santa with his own granddaughter, Emma.  You can see why he’s such a popular guy!

 Here are Tristan, Tyler, Christopher, and Christian, our own Christmas Place junior elves, ready to get under way.  Back when we were dry.

We were accompanied by our own personal tribute to Porter Wagoner, and Uncle Sam made an appearance on our float.  Before the show, we were greeted by King Red the Lion.  In front of us was a float full of Little Miss pageant winners, and behind us was the Wells Fargo stagecoach pulled by a beautiful team of matching horses.


Talk about characters!

We caught a glimpse of the diva Dolly Parton herself, as she made sure to greet all the participants just before we took to the street. 

I say that, if you ever get a chance to be in a parade – take it.  You’ll be glad you did – and it’s really a ton of fun.  (Next year, though, I’m riding on the float – even if it means wearing striped leggings and a fur hat liberally adorned with bells!  It’s not like I don’t already have that stuff in my closet…)

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Beautiful Courtyard

The tulips and flowers in the courtyard are spectacular this week! Here are a couple of pictures.

And our master gardeners have not overlooked the hotel grounds…

Redbud trees in the area have been particularly outstanding this year, and the dogwood are just beginning to unfurl.  The Dogwood Arts Festival is under way here in East Tennessee, with flower trails, open gardens, and a celebration of the arts in all disciplines – photography and visual arts, performance including music and dance, and even a cardboard boat race – something for all ages and interests.

Hope it’s as lovely in your part of the world.  Have a great almost-Monday day!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

The 2008 Christmas gauntlet is thrown!

Okay, big news.  I’m weird.  I gave my first Christmas gift for 2008 – in March.  weeks ago.  it may even have been the last week of February.  and I’ve given three or four more since.  Yes, I know, I should probably be sending it in to PostSecret…specialists might identify this as a problem…just a little co-dependency issue.  Bless her heart, she can’t help that she’s already giving Christmas presents. 

Just look at this cute red sled with stars for every member of the family – and the artists here at the store are the best at personalizing!  See, I have a friend who asked me “what Christmas stuff do people buy in March?” -which I naturally considered to be a throwing-down of the gauntlet.  Went straight down to the Ornament Gallery and picked this one out, plus an adorable penguin with a big red heart for each of his girls.  He thanked me (sincerely) a week later for having to pull out his tree again so that the girls could immediately hang their penguins.  You’re welcome.  by know, you should know better than to test me.

Have you started your 2008 Christmas list or shopping yet?  If not, you’re already behind – two or three curves!  Even 5-year-olds are already working on their lists, and the end-of-season sales for winter stuff are long gone.  Came across some folks with tons of great shopping ideas to help you get started, if you’re not like me.  Too, I really like the idea of spreading out the cost of Christmas so I’m not so afraid of December.

Consider the gauntlet thrown!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

before and after…

Here are a couple of pictures of the transformation taking place in our Department 56 gallery this week.  It’s been great fun to watch Bryon Shroats at work – we’ve learned how to make iceburgs and icicles so far (sweet new power tools we just have to buy now).

First, clear some space and lay down a fresh blanket of “snow.”

First, remove everything and lay down a sheet of

Add some ice mountains, trees, fences, lamposts, figures, candy banners, and a few stores to create the North Pole Village ~ and enjoy the beautiful results!

And after, the beautiful results!

Remember, we’re hosting a reception for Bryon this Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., so come on in to see and enjoy all his work.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  I am currently engaged in a rigoruos quality control process for the cookies for Friday…will report results as soon as I run out of milk.

Two for Tuesday

A quick Tuesday highlight of two items in the store (I figured out a way to reduce the amount of thinking required on my part!).

Here’s an adorable Jim Shore figure of a Yorkshire Terrier.  We have a whole collection of breeds in the store now – Boxers, Beagles, Boston Terriers, West Highland Terriers, and more!  Any dog lovers in the crowd?

In The Boutique, we are carrying a line of whimsical, hand-painted wine goblets, packaged in clear boxes and each with a unique recipe for a companion libation.  This one is Flip Flop, and there are others such as Shopaholic and Pink Cheetah Girl.  Great gifts for the hip chics on your list.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Monday morning ~ I need a laugh!

The sun rose nice and early at my house this morning, which was wonderful, but passing through several miles of fog on the drive in took away a little of the sparkle.  Good to know that, it being National Humor Month, I have an excuse to look up jokes on a Monday morning!

What do you call a reindeer in earmuffs?          Anything you want to – he can’t hear you!

Where do snowmen go to dance?          Snowballs

What did the snail say, riding on the back of the turtle?           “Wheeeee!” 

Why did the chicken cross the road?          To show the possum it could be done.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Don’t forget to come in to the store this week and see what the Department 56 designer is up to in rebuilding our villages.

April Showers – April Flowers!

While Christmas is our theme all year ’round, we take pleasure in celebrating every season of the year.  One of the promises of Christmas is the hope of new life, and spring ushers in the joy and beauty of this hope.  The Floral staff at Christmas Place are busy creating breathtaking arrangements in silk, highlighting the brightest and freshest spring colors.  Here is a sampling.


Customers can purchase floral stems, ribbons, greens, and vases to create their own arrangements, as well as taking advantage of our own designers’ creativity.

Our Floral team also works on Christmas arrangements throughout the year, using an outstanding selection of the most popular silks and velvets, ribbons and greens, and glittering garnishments in new color themes each year.  Here’s an arrangement of platinum crushed velvet poinsettias with gold and blush pink accents that will add elegance and glamour to any table or mantle.


The Floral Design team also creates many personalized arrangements for customers. Call or come in to order a wreath, vase or swag designed to match your own decor.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place


Unbelievable rooms at The Inn at Christmas Place!

First, I hereby declare that I work for the company that owns The Inn at Christmas Place.  That said – WOW!  I had my first complete tour of the hotel and first look at the guest rooms yesterday, and my brain is just saying ~ WOW!  They are outstanding.  I have visited my share of hotels around the country and the world, and this one is truly very special and quite fantastic.

Before you get to a room, there are bellmen at the front door, and plenty of staff to help and direct you.  They are all so friendly and welcoming, it made me feel good just walking in – and I’m so new to the company, they did not know that I was an employee (I work at the store across the street from the hotel) – so no “co-worker bounce”.

I have written a separate page about the Inn (look to the right on this page), so I won’t pools_1_l.jpgdescribe the public areas again here, just the rooms.  Except I will tell you that I found out yesterday that one guest so enjoyed the figure-eight slide at our pool that he bought one for his own swimming pool.  {{party at Doug’s place next Friday, bring your own towel}}

On to the rooms ~ and custom-made mattresses, which are a dream.  So my coworkers tell me.  I don’t have first hand knowledge of this.  Everyone else got to stay at the Inn this winter.  I did not.  I’m not bitter about it, either.  However, they have all truly said great things about the bedding – no peas under the mattress.

Flat-panel HD TVs, microwaves, and refrigerators in every room, along with the usual appliances.  Also, free Internet access in every room, so you can spend your vaca e-mailing home to let everyone know just what they are missing!

Now for the really good stuff – the bathrooms.  Normally I don’t spend excessive amounts inn-at-night-2.jpgof time in the bathroom (shut up, you know who you are)…except for that one trip to Encinada, Mexico… darn that agua fria…but nothing is worse than having a fabulous room with a yucky bathroom.  Me, when I’m away from home, I want something better than home – and these rooms deliver.  Gorgeous granite counter tops – and they’re big, too.  With decorative ceramic star-shaped trays holding the Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and a ceramic sleigh holding the hair dryer, the sink area is really attractive (can I write glowing things about a bathroom sink?).  The showers are really grand as well – some are traditional tubs, and others have walk-in showers with glass doors – that’s cool stuff in a hotel room.  And everything is very well lit – no gloomy caves.

The best rooms of all come with a fireplace with a granite surround and hearth, and a king-room-with-fireplace.jpgtwo-person whirlpool in the room.  The suite with a living room and full kitchen (including stove) has an enormous bedroom, with an arched entryway leading to separate areas for the whirlpool and bath.  Wicked sweet!  With a view of the mountains on one side and the courtyard grounds on the other ~ I see me moving in tomorrow.  Like I said at the beginning, WOW!  I’ll send you my new address.

lobbies_2_l.jpgOn top of all these beautiful features, add the lovely Christmas decor of wreaths, swags, trees, figurines, and winter prints throughout the rooms and public areas ~ icing on the cake.  It really is a magnificent property, and I can’t wait for an excuse to book a room for myself!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

and I didn’t even get to the private balconies and handicap-accessible rooms…

Department 56 designer in store next week

799920e-rubber-duck-factory.jpgStarting Monday, April 7th, a Department 56 village designer will be with us in the store, rebuilding several of our village displays from the “deck” up.  If you are a collector, this is a fantastic time to come in and watch Bryon Shroats at work recreating complete villages, and to ask any questions you have about display techniques and ideas.

Then, come back on Friday, April 11, and join us at a reception for Bryon – free tea and cookies from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

T Department 56 Collectors Club Members – Order your 2008 Limited Editions now – they arrived in the store today!  Check out the new Rubber Duck Factory pictured above – the elf rotates in the duck pool as he inspects each new duck.