Open New Year’s Day!

Yep, we’re open on New Year’s Day – people have been asking.  Regular store hours, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

We wish you prosperity, joy, and peace in the New Year!

16911_5850_m-fireworks-free-stock-photos

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

We’ll be celebrating the new year in just a few short hours, so I had to go looking for sparkling things today, and I love these ultra-close images – hope you enjoy them, too!  First, a few silk and velvet flowers and Christmas ornaments for the tree, and then a charming Winter Fairy Christmas decoration.

Velvet Magnolia Blossom

Velvet Magnolia Blossom

Velvet and Gilt Ornament

Velvet and Gilt Ornament

Velvet Poinsettia Blossom

Velvet Poinsettia Blossom

Winter Fairy

Winter Fairy

I hope your New Year’s Eve is a magical one!
~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Wilderness Wildlife Week in the Smokies

In 2009, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park turns 75 years old!  Founded in 1934, ours is one of the most popular national parks in the country.  I’m looking forward to special events throughout the year that will highlight the history and attractions of the park.

Hoar Frost-coated trees in the Smokies

Hoar Frost-coated trees in the Smokies

The first event of 2009 is the 19th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, held January 10-17, 2009, in the Music Road Hotel Convention Center.  This will be the longest kickoff event to the park’s celebratory year, and several special classes, seminars, and events have been added to the schedule.  More than 150 expert presenters will be involved in the over 220 programs and activities for the week, and there are also scheduled hikes in the park and a “then and now” photo exhibit covering the last 75 years.

Some sessions will be limited in size, and registration will be available from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 9th, in the convention center lobby, and again early each morning during the week. 

There will be character portrayals of Theodore Roosevelt, William Bartram, and John Muir; a special textiles of the Smokies exhibit, including items never before displayed; programs for students and children; and a photography contest.

Learn about nature photography, slide show presentations, woodcarving, flora and fauna in the park, stream fishing, playing the dulcimer or harmonica, dowsing, and all about the history, folklore, and music of the peoples of the Smokies.

Contact the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at 865-429-7350 for a complimentary copy of the Official Program.  I picked up a copy this afternoon, and after reading through the schedule, I may have to take that week off to catch all the presentations I’d like to see!  

Most events are free, though the “Then and Now” photo exhibit and dessert reception on Saturday evening, January 17th, is a fundraiser in support of the Friends of the Smokies organization, and reservations are required.  Call 865-932-4794 or reserve on site.

Let me quote a bit of information from the program:

“Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 4,000 species of plants that grow there.  A walk from mountain base to peak compares with traveling 1,250 miles north.  Several resident plants and animals live only in the Smokies.  It also has a rich cultural history.  From the Cherokee Indians, to the Scotch-Irish settlers, this land was home to a variety of cultures and people.  Many historic structures remain standing.  Subsistence turned to exploitation as logging concerns stripped the region of timber.  Recovery is now the dominant theme.

There are 9 million visits per year.  The National Park Service must balance the needs of the land with the desires of the people both today and for the future.”

I’m really looking forward to the 75th anniversary year of the park, and Wilderness Wildlife Week will be a great place to start!

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S.  Mom, you & Dad should think about entering the photo contest!   Go here for the rules and here for an entry form.

Food for Friday

In case you are checking, yes, it is Monday!  I forgot to leave you with a recipe on Friday, so I’m making up lost ground today.  Here is an easy recipe that my grandmother used to let us help with at holidays – it would be great to get the kids to make this on New Year’s morning while they are running around the house or waiting for the big feast to begin ~ and it has a FUN name they’ll love, too!

Monkey Bread

350 degree oven; 35 minutes baking time in a bundt pan

3 (10 oz) cans of buttermilk rolls
1 C sugar
2 T cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C chopped pecans

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a large ziplock bag.  Cut rolls into quarters with your kitchen scissors, put them into the ziplock bag, and shake til well coated.  Layer the rolls with chopped pecans in a bundt pan and set aside.  In a small, heavy saucepan, melt together the butter & brown sugar, boiling for one minute.  Pour over biscuits.  Bake in the middle of a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Let the pan rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Easy, delicious, and a name kids will enjoy – we just tear off chunks and stuff our faces!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Happy Boxing Day!

Today is Boxing Day for the peoples of HM’s kingdom – of which we are not a part here in East Tennessee,  but no sense not wishing you a happy day-after-Christmas anyway!

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bouts of fisticuffs, nor with taking out empty present boxes, or returning gifts to stores!  While the origin is debated to this day, it is most commonly described as the day when  the “upper class” bestowed beneficences on the “lower class”, to maintain class boundaries – lords and serfs, masters and servants in feudal times.

Today is also the sixth day of Hanukkah, the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” or celebration of the time when God miraculously kept a lamp burning for eight days, after a band of Jewish rebels were able to reclaim the temple in Jerusalem from a pagan ruler.

I hope all of you have had a delightful Christmas celebration, in whatever way you choose to enjoy it.  I, myself, was ruthlessly attacked by Silly String- and marshmallow-gun-toting relatives.  I guess it’s how we share the love in our family!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Christmas schedule – and a first-ever after-Christmas Sale at the store!

I’ll be off the next two days, wrapping presents and baking my famous triple layer cheesecake, then opening said presents and eating said cake on Christmas day!  I’ll be back on Friday to give you a run down of the holiday.

Oh, and I’m announcing that we are having our first-ever After-Christmas Tent Sale on Friday and Saturday, 12/26 and 12/27!  We’re putting up a tent in the courtyard and filling it with lots of lovely things, and it will be open for sales from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Also, everything that’s on sale in our stores will be a little bit more on sale – we’re taking an additional 10% off already-marked-down prices.  This is a great opportunity to get started on next year’s decorations – and help us clear out the stockrooms before the dreaded inventory days.  If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and see what we’ve got.

Merry Christmas, Jouyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, and Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

LED Lights – a note for crafters

So, this weekend I spent a day with a nearby friend, and she showed off the LED Christmas lights on her tree (which she purchased from a competitor which shall remain unnamed, pooh on her) – they were very pretty.  However, her family is used to warmer lights on their Christmas tree, and the LED strands she used included more blue and purple colors, along with cooler white bulbs.

Being a crafter, she had to experiment on the LED lights herself.  What worked in the end was an application of alcohol inks from her rubber stamping hobby!  She applied Butterscotch Ink from the Ranger Inks-Adirondack reinkers collection, and the white bulbs were warmed right up to a rich, golden shade.

She also tried this color on some of the purple bulbs, and they took on a lovely peach shade when dark, but still glowed purple when illuminated, so that didn’t work.  She ended up buying an extra strand of white, coloring a handful of the lights, and substituting them on her strand.

Just so you know, LED lights come in a variety of colors and in two shades of white, cool and warm. –Oh, and I was just looking in the online store, and our warm lights are on special right now – check it out.

C6 Warm White LED Lights

C6 Warm White LED Lights

Hope your lights are glowing on this cold winter day!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

Okay, I’m either ahead for this week or very late for last week….yeah, I’m late for last week.  I just realized that in the hustle and bustle of the last days before Christmas, I forgot to do a Two for Tuesday.  Oops.  So, here are my choices – alternative ways to go red and green this Christmas!  These items are available in The Boutique.

Green Stone & Glass Necklace and Earrings
Green Stone & Crystal Necklace and Earrings

This cool green stone and crystal pair will light up a holiday outfit and take you right into spring (can we talk about spring yet, especially on a day when the weatherman said it was 12 degrees out – and we are warmer than a lot of the country?).

Add a winter white outfit, and accessorize with a handsome red bag and a couple of accessories.
Red Bag Collection

Red Collection

You’ll be the chicest Christmas shopper in town, or the best gift-giver around!
~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Forum Contest 2008 Grand Prize Winner!

Congratulations to Wade – you are the Grand Prize Winner of a $100 gift certificate to www.christmasplace.com!  We just drew your name out of the representational hat (we didn’t have a real hat, so we had to substitute….)!

Many, many thanks to all those who participated in our first forum contests, and congratulations to the winners.  We’ll plan some more fun for 2009 – be thinking poetry ~ and especially limericks! ~ for next year.

A very Merry Christmas to all our forum members, and a Happy New Year!  We look forward to meeting you on the boards again very soon.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends close by.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

A shout-out to our two Elves of the Year!

cmas-plc-elfWe are sending a shout-out to D.J. Townsend and Shawn Arnold, our two Christmas Place Elves of the Year!

D.J. is a retail elf, and he’s a charmer – greeting and helping customers, always with a smile and eager to please.

Shawn is a systems elf, the only one among us who whistles every morning – just try to catch this guy in anything other than a Christmas-y mood!

Congratulations to two very deserving men for the honors of Elf of the Year!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place