Almost Wednesday ~ and almost July

There seems to be a general case of that “almost Wednesday” feeling floating about today – I know I am not alone in wishing for some nap time…some Mondays are just that much more Mondayish.  Where’s a George Costanza desk when you could really use one??

Of course, by Wednesday, it will be next month already, and into what mist has the first half of 2008 vanished, precisely?  Ah, well, July will be a great month – after all, we get to celebrate all this wonderful summer stuff for the next 31 days:  Blueberries Month and Air-Conditioning Appreciation Days; Grilling, Ice Cream, Horseradish, Hot Dog, and Bikini Month; and Women’s Motorcycle and Nation Recreation & Parks Month.  I see some real alignment of the stars going on here – and the earth is at aphelion on July 4th!  ((The best thing about looking at the calendar occasionally is all the new stuff I learn.  Check out aphelion here if you don’t know it already.  Although this article refers to the year 2001, aphelion is occuring on July 4th again in 2008 according to the Navy.))

In addition to celebrating our nation’s independence this Friday, there are a plethora of special days this month.  Let me just mention the one which, perhaps, holds the most significance for the human race:  Chocolate Day, July 7th.  Never mind national or international chocolate day or any of the varietal chocolate days.  I find the simple Chocolate Day to be preeminent, expressed preeminently in the fudge state of being.  It comes long before Cow Appreciation and even Walk on Stilts days.

The United States is the only country with a known birthday.  ~ James G. Blaine

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  ~ Erma Bombeck

We welcome a visit by Uncle Sam to the store this weekend.  He will be handing out American flags to our guests, and reminding us of the hard-won freedom our nation cherishes and celebrates on Independence Day.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

I know you did not think I was kidding

Dudes and Dudettes, just to help you along, here is the most simple of gift lists to get you started – just print yourself some copies of this single page and get started.  You know there will be 4th of July sales and Labor Day sales and back to school sales and Thanksgiving sales before we even get around to Christmas sales.  Might as well start gathering ideas and taking advantage of deals now.  Check out all the great deals we have here in Santa’s Basement already!

Think how much more fun you’ll have in December when all you need is some paper, ribbon, and an afternoon with scissors (no running!) and tape.  No sweating the gift budget and fighting crowded parking lots and engaging in shopping cart wars – you could even fill the gift closet ahead of time!  (wait, you don’t keep a gift closet?  Oh, you must, for those drive-by gifters – it’s much nicer than regifting … but really, who’s going to notice if one or two things just happen to end up making a u-turn on the old gift highway?  we’re not judging.)

It’s almost Monday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Coming to terms with reality

It is very important that you accept the fact that it is now less than 200 days until Christmas, and you may already be behind on your list of things to be accomplished in order to deliver that most perfect holiday ever to your family and friends.
Deal with it.
Deal with it now.
It is not too late.

Why are you still reading this instead of working on your card list, your gift list, your decorations planning, your meal planning, and your outfit(s) for the Christmas party(s)?  Stop reading now and start working on Christmas!  You.  Yes, you.  Go.  Now.  Today is the day to start celebrating Christmas.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I really did a triple take…walking through the warehouse…of a CHRISTMAS store…spot a box of shotgun shells???  Ooooookaaaaayyyyy.  Turns out, they are lights for the tree!  Bit of a relief…but just a bit.  Shotgun shells on the old tree?  Things that make you go hummmm.

May I stick with the hmmmmmm theme a little longer?  I’m just throwing out a guess, but … Carmen Mooranda?  or is it Cowmen Miranda? — well, good guesses, but: it’s Moolin Rouge!

Turns out there are about a dozen of these bovine beauties from Cows on Parade in the store.  They’re just moooo-licious!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

32 Things We Love in the Store!

Another contribution from the elves at the store – there’s a lot to love around here!

  1. Stained glass windows – Ginger L.
  2. The family atmosphere – Nina, Dawn
  3. The staff – Amy, Nina, Willy, Linda T., Judy, Margaret, Janet
  4. Our own Singing Santa – Yippee!!! (yep, that’s how it was signed…I need to meet this Yippee with the three exclamation points – sounds like my kind of person!)
  5. The dolls – Maria S.
  6. Floral designs – Penny E.
  7. The overall beauty of the store and grounds – Nina, Linda T.
  8. Stars in the ceiling – Anon.
  9. Decorated trees – Ginger L.
  10. Fudge – Ann
  11. Working with Albert – “From all of us girls”
  12. The Department 56 Halloween display – Jenny H.
  13. Our own elf, Buttons (Ginger) – Patti H.
  14. The music – Willy
  15. The kids and families that visit us – Margaret
  16. Zeke, the crazy guy – Anon.
  17. Holly with glitter – Janet
  18. Vera Bradley – Vivian
  19. Our owners, for giving us a great place to work – Beth
  20. Celebrating Christ’s birthday every day – Phyllis
  21. All of my elf friends, short and tall – Cindy
  22. The lights and colors – Willy
  23. The food we bring to share – Penny E.
  24. Meeting and talking to our sweet guests – Margaret, Phyllis
  25. Sunshine Club (for staff members) – Maria S., Anon.
  26. Andrea’s artwork (one of our personalizing elves is a true artist) – Beth
  27. That God is always welcomed here – Susan R.
  28. The amazing artistry of our floral and display teams – Cindy, Beth
  29. Life-size nativity – Ginger L.
  30. Butterflies in every color – Janet D.
  31. Candy Kitchen – anything and everything, including sandwiches – Teresa H2
  32. Everything – Ernie

I really like that a third of this list of things we love in the store is people.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Mountain Roads

A recent move has set me on the search for new shortcuts to work.  GOOD NEWS!  From my old hideout to the new, I first dropped nine miles, and, thanks to some wonderful mountain byways, three more are gone.

The byways are so quintessentially “hill country” that I have to attempt a description.  First, there’s a sharp curve to the right, then back to the left, then up a little to the right around a curve so blind that there’s a mirror at the end of the drive to enable safe entrance to the road, then a steep downhill that cuts sharply left before swinging sharply right around the next blind curve, and then a first pass over the creek….okay, guess I won’t do the whole six miles, but I could!

Truly, the land is extraordinarily beautiful in these hollows…lush stands of trees covering the hillsides (can’t wait to see them in fall) – reportedly more full than in several years, thanks to a late spring frost last year.  Narrow meadows in between, gentle green spaces, some receiving just a slice of sunlight, but still quite hot on summer afternoons.  The bounty of flora in the area contributes to the “smoke” of the Great Smokey Mountains.  In the early morning, mist rises from the valleys and wandering creeks in a bewitching haze, fracturing first sunlight, whispering of the heat and humidity to come.

There are roof lines among the trees on seemingly unreachable hillsides – where are their driveways, I want to know?  One hill is so steep that, if I don’t get a good running start at it, I have to down shift to make it to the top  – but I always look at that spot for the four horses peeking out of their barn, out over the valley.  Right up against the road a little further back (just before the church on the hill) is the murky, reed-ringed pond of one farm, and on several of the most warm recent afternoons there has been one cow standing deep in the middle of the pond, with a few ducks paddling around.  The rest of the herd is keeping to the deep shade of a stand of trees at the bottom of a steeply terraced hill.  They must have a way around, because they sure can’t be going over that one!

To my dearest friend, Lisa, darlin’, I love you to death, but there is not enough Darvon in the continental United States to make it possible for you to accompany me on this particular drive, no matter how desperately you might want to view this piece of heaven!  On a couple of hills, even the driver’s stomach does a flip at the top – and I promise, I’m never airborne!

I hope you get to visit this part of the world and travel a few of these mountain roads yourself one day soon.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

We carry the cutest collection of these little Smores ornaments – for the teacher, the chef, Baby’s First Christmas, with a stocking ~ even Halloween ~ there’s one dressed as a ghost!  Here’s a really popular style for newlyweds.  These little darlin’s are only about two inches tall.

You’ll also find a complete selection of musical instruments to decorate the tree.  Here’s a showy set of drums, and you can get a single snare style, too.  Shop for banjos, a whole range of guitars, fiddles – well, maybe they are violins, it’s hard to say – pianos, and your complete brass section as well.



Happy Tuesday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

and a good time was had by all!

It was standing room only as over 100 Father’s Day cards were made Saturday by guests at the Garden Party!  Kids also had a great time with face painting (their own…by a professional…), clowning and ballooning, a scavenger trivia hunt throughout the stores, and cookie decorating.

and then there was this giant parrot…IDK, a little scary – but he came along with some real companions.

  (Mac is the one in the scary human outfit!)








We gave away lots of prizes, demonstrated decorating wreaths and  (glittery) Christmas boxes, built a small Department 56 village display – the size you could have on your coffee table or book case.  Dads even enjoyed a free cookie on Sunday – peanut butter was reportedly the favorite, note to bakers.  (I’ll check with Singing Santa to see what he prefers; more later.) 

Sure hope YOU will join the fun next time!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Beautiful flowers in time for the Garden Party

broken record alert….we are having a Garden Party here at the store this weekend!  Sure I’ve mentioned it a couple of times already, but having enjoyed the preparations so much I’m really excited ~ and hopeful that a lot of people will stop by and join the fun!  Our landscaping team has done an outstanding job with summer flowers, of course.  Here’s a picture of the model train in our courtyard.

Come on over to the store on Saturday and Sunday for face painting, wreath-making and bow-tying demonstrations, Father’s Day card making, Department 56 demonstrations, flower tours and sales, cookie decorating, parrots of all kinds, clowning entertainers, and ~ my favorite ~ we’re giving away prizes every hour.  What could be more fun than a couple of days filled with FREE entertainment, demonstrations, and prizes!

Have a great weekend, and Happy Father’s Day to all the deserving dads out there.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place