And the Name is…

 The Partridge & Pear at Christmas Place!

Inspired regional fare by Chef Aaron Ward, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We’ll offer Christmas dinner with family-style service, so you can even argue over who got the most sweet potato casserole (okay, I just made that up, I can’t promise sweet potato casserole will be on the menu…but it really should be, don’t you think? and maybe peas with those baby onions?).

We’re redesigning the space to accommodate curbside drop-off and pick-up, and expanding the restaurant to add private dining rooms you can reserve for a board meeting, business meeting, baby shower, Christmas party … private rooms!  How cool is that!

A couple of cozy fireplaces, a bake shop, and three hot meals a day.  We’re so looking forward to welcoming you to a meal with us next summer.

South view (from across the Christmas Place parking lot):

Restaurant elevation south

East view (from across the Parkway):

Restaurant elevation east

See you there!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Team Christmas Place Smashes 2009 Relay for Life Goal!

We’re very proud of our outstanding achievement!  We set our 2009 goal at $8,000, and by the end of the campaign we were able to donate $10,425 to the American Cancer Society.  I think that’s a smash, don’t you?

We’re so excited to have won several awards for the first time this year, too, that we have to show you pictures.  Here are our awards for:  $10,000 Club Award; Best Campsite; Heart of Relay, awarded to Debra  Musgrove for her outstanding fund raising and spirit; and Team Captain Achievement Award, won byAnthony Berry for keeping us all going and keeping our team website looking great.

Award 2

We were third in fund raising for businesses our size in the county.

Award 1

How did we raise $10,425?  Along with our associates at The Inn at Christmas Place, we hosted a couple of successful (and delicious) bake sales;  staged a bluegrass and gospel concert with Dean Townsend and friends in Sevierville; raffled off several enticing gift baskets over the summer (our staff is really creative!); Christmas Place owners hosted our yard sale in their garage last spring;  we received generous personal donations and sold lots of luminaries during the Relay for Life event; and, finally, customers in the store donated over $2,000 through our collection canisters.  Our customers rock!

Relay for Life honors both cancer survivors, like Teresa in the purple shirt below, and those whose lives are lost to cancer, like Debbie’s mother, Betty Howell.

Debbie and Teresa w

The theme was “Back to the 80’s”, and we had fun exploring the music, movies, fashions, and sports of that decade – which many of us remember fondly… Faith & friends at the campsight.

Faith and girls w

Visitors to our campsite played several games for fun door prizes contributed by individuals and by the Christmas Place owners.

Relay games w

Plenty of time for team member Leland to enjoy a plate of ribs.

Relay Leland w

Our most proud team co-captain, Anthony, picking up his award!

Anthony w

Debra, our Heart of Relay, and Teresa, team co-captain!

Debra-Teresa w

We say a resounding thank you to everyone who helped us exceed our goal this year, and look forward to reaching even higher in 2010!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Chef Aaron has provided another delectable recipe for today.  Chef is pretty happy for a Friday afternoon, not just because it’s the weekend and he doesn’t yet have to work it, but also because a name has been selected for the restaurant!  And that name is … something I’ll tell you about later … but you’re going to love it.  It’s very much in keeping with the Christmas Place experience.

First, something to bake ~ I am imagining serving these scones, warm from the oven, with little pats of real butter and a dollop of fruit marmalade, alongside a steaming cup of tea with cream, while opening presents on Christmas morning.

Cream Scones with Dried Currants

1/2 C heavy cream, plus additional to brush on the scones
1 large egg
1 T vanilla extract
3 T sugar, plus additional to sprinkle on the scones
1/2 t salt
2-1/4 C cake flour (not self-rising)
1 T double-acting baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 stick (6 T) cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 C dried currants

Santa Tray

Santa Tray

In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of heavy cream, egg, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of sugar until the mixture is combined well.  In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; blend in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the currants and the cream mixture with a fork, until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough.  Knead the dough gently on a lightly floured surface for 30 seconds, pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick round, and with a 1-1/2-inch fluted cutter cut into rounds; transfer rounds to an ungreased baking sheet.  Gather the scraps, repeat with the dough, and cut more rounds.  When all rounds are on the baking sheet, brush the scones with additional cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in the middle of a preheated, 400 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Santa Plate

Santa Plate

Remember, dried currants are not the same as raisins – they are smaller, and typically you’ll find them to be darker in color.  Baked in a scone, they soften and plump just the right amount. 

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon; t = teaspoon

For your holiday open house, or on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, a plate of homemade scones will warm the heart and share the love!  Here are a few of the Christmas serving plates we have in the store this season.

Cozy Snowman Platter

Cozy Snowman Platter

Flake Snack Plate

Flake Snack Plate

Peppermint Candy Tiered Plate Stand
Peppermint Candy Tiered Plate Stand

So many choices, so few days to sample all the baked treats at Christmas time!

Now, about that restaurant name … when I said later, I didn’t mean now later.  I meant later later.  Don’t worry, blog readers, you’re at the top of the list when it’s time for the grand announcement ~ we have to scoop to you, first, of course.

Have a great weekend, everybody!  It’s almost Monday….

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

Two for Tuesday has to take a tardy this week … When the alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. this morning, my first groggy thought was “oh, no, I forgot to do two!”  Not to worry, it will be a Wonderful-Wednesday instead.

We just unpacked a new line of the cutest baby Christmas clothes!  Check these out – pinafores, overalls, bibs, booties, and more. 

Reindeer Set

Reindeer Ensemble

 Notice the selection of cute socks and the ruffled bloomers in the picture.

Rudolph Pinafore

Rudolph Pinafore

Santa Bloomers

Santa Bloomers

Holiday Slippers

Holiday Slippers

Santa PJs

Santa PJs

Santa Bibs

Santa Bibs

Rudolph Dress & Striped Tights

Rudolph Dress & Striped Tights

If your kids are a little older, your little girlies might enjoy one of these adorable felt Christmas purses:

Penguin, Reindeer, and Snowman

Penguin, Reindeer, and Snowman

It’s just a world of cuteness in Santaland today!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Labor Day Weekend Tent Sale

It’s time for our annual sidewalk tent sale, Saturday, September 5th,  through Monday, September 7th.  It’s a great time to snap up bargains on clearance and scratch-and-dent merchandise for decorating and gift giving.  There is always a wide assortment of goodies from every department in the store, including ornaments and floral stems.

2008 tent sale 1

Last year, it was a beautifully sunny day ~ and people were shopping faster than we could load the goods into the tent!  We’ll be selling on the sidewalk from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday.

2008 tent sale 2

As always, our motto for the tent sale is “shop early, shop often!”  Hope to see you there.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

The Doll Tree

This beautiful, flocked tree is located in our doll area, and is loaded in pinks and greens and Christmas sparkle.  Here’s my challenge – it’s a fairly tall tree to begin with, and they have seated it in an antique baby crib which adds another three feet of height, and the angel on the top reaches the second floor ~ she needs her own spotlight!  I hope you will get a feel for its beauty in this series of pictures.

Doll tree

As I was taking pictures, one subtlety I noticed is the use of brown in the color scheme.  It doesn’t jump out at you, but it really enhances the richness of the softer pinks and greens.  Now that I’ve mentioned it, do you notice the brown bead garlands and ornaments included on the tree?

Here’s a view from above.  That’s not a hula hoop, that’s the top rim of the crib.  What a creative way to display a tree  in your nursery or anywhere in your home – if your ceilings are high enough – you can fit plenty of presents right under the crib!

Angel tree topper

Angel tree base

Birds and butterflies, rocking horses, tiny dolls, tea cups, hearts, and stars are just a few of the ornaments on the tree.  The most astonishing thing ~one designer decorated it in one day!  Here are a few close-up images – this is a pretty glitzy tree.

Doll tree detail 1

Doll tree detail 2

Doll tree detail 3

Doll tree top detail

Of course, with this abundance of glittery pink ornamentation, it’s a very feminine style.  Not to worry, men, my next tree will be just for you.  Yes, JUST for you.  Trust me, ladies.  Something the men will appreciate.

~ Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Several of my friends have been busy preparing their kids for first terms at college this fall.  As I was browsing the cook book racks, this title reminded me of weekends home from school, when moms make sure to cook our favorite foods.

The cook book of the week is Comfort Foods, another gem from Gooseberry Patch.  Illustrated in their always-charming fashion, and filled with plenty of cooking hints alongside the delicious recipes, this volume includes a chapter called “Comfort Foods for One or Two.”  I know that college dorms of today are much better outfitted than in my day (illegal hot plates on top of our tiny fridges!), so I thought I’d do a recipe that might remind you of home – but a student could prepare it in a dorm room, too.  I’m sure one could substitute the microwave variety of mac & cheese, and bake this in a toaster oven.

Crispy Bacon Mac & Cheese722009 Comfort Foods

6-oz pkg macaroni & cheese mix
1/4 C bacon bits
3 T Italian-style dry bread crumbs
1 T fresh chives, chopped
1 T butter, melted

Prepare macaroni & cheese per package instructions; stir in bacon bits.  Spoon into 2 greased 12-oz casserole dishes and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, chives and butter.  Mix well and sprinkle over each casserole.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until topping is golden.  Serves 2.

If you find a college student who has actually traveled to school with two 12-oz casserole dishes, please let me know.  I think this dish would be enjoyed by kids of all ages – toss together a green salad while the casserole is in the oven for a nutritional side dish.

Study hard, play hard, and we’ll see you at Christmas, kids!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

C = Cup, T = Tablespoon

Cardinal Christmas Tree

Another work of breathtaking beauty from the design team!  They spent almost as much time on the ceiling around the tree as they did on the tree itself; it’s filled with branches and birds ~ including some darling miniature owls ~ and dripping with frosty fringe and icicles.

First, a picture of the blank canvas, with just a few cardinals alluding to what’s to come.

Cardinal before decorating

The ceiling ornamentation is already in place.

Cardinal ceiling 2

My favorite owl!

My favorite owl!

Cardinal ceiling 1

Cardinal owl

Add a few bits and bobs to that flocked tree, maybe a couple of yards of ribbon and a pair of deer, and voila! ~ you have a masterpiece!

Cardinal Theme Christmas Tree

Cardinal Theme Christmas Tree

It really takes your breath away!  Here are a few close-up pictures.  On the other side of the tree from the image above, you’ll find a delicate white birdcage, dripping with red crystals.  Notice that they have used really large silk poinsettias as additional focal points on the tree.

Cardinal birdcage

In addition to a wide variety of cardinal ornaments and cardinal light strands, you’ll also find doves, snowmen, Santas, and snow girls throughout the tree – everything in red and white, of course.  We like to mix in fabric and glass pieces, hand-painted ornaments, and a variety of berries and leaves.

Cardinal have faith

Cardinal peace on earth

Cardinal joy to the world

Now that’s a frosty tree for the middle of summer!  I love those frozen pine cones, and the way the lights on the tree glow through the snow-covered needles.

I’m off roaming with my camera for the next tree to show off.  Please let us know if you have questions about any of the decorations you see here – we  add things in the store faster than we are able to get them onto the web, of course!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Great Smokies Rededication Ceremony!

I just received a message from Friends of the Smokies about acquiring tickets to the park rededication ceremony next month, in celebration of the Park’s 75th Anniversary.  I’m sure it will be a grand event!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
News Release

Immediate Release Contact: Nancy Gray 865/436-1208
Date: August 18, 2009


The public is invited to attend, on a first-come, first-serve basis, the 75th Anniversary Rededication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 2, along with a host of dignitaries and distinguished guests, including the Park’s 75th Anniversary Ambassador Dolly Parton. The ceremony will begin at 11:15 a.m. and will end around 1 p.m., but because of the logistical challenges associated with transportation, guests should
expect to devote a full day to this activity. People will depart by bus as early as 8 a.m. and should plan on returning no earlier than 3 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at Newfound Gap.

Park officials have identified a 2,000-person capacity for the event at Newfound Gap. All attendees will be transported by charter busses to the site from satellite locations outside the Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Cherokee, N.C. Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) between Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Cherokee, N.C. will be closed from 8 p.m., September 1, to 6 p.m., September 2.

There is a limited number of seats available to the public and these are being assigned in the order that they are received. Requests will be taken until capacity is reached or no later than Monday, August 24. A special email address has been set up for ticket requests, i.e., Up to four tickets can be requested by one individual. The requester will receive a reply to be followed later by a confirming email once ticket availability has been determined. The following information must be received to obtain tickets: 1) Your Name, First and Last, and the Full Name of Your Guests (up to four individuals); 2) Mailing Address; 3) Telephone Number; 4) from which location will you depart—Cherokee or Pigeon Forge; 5) how many vehicles in your party; and 6) (if applicable), are you confined to a wheelchair and require a bus with a wheelchair lift?

For those who do not have access to email, people can call 865 436-7318, ext. 258 and leave a message with their name and a telephone number. They will in turn receive a return phone call. While a telephone option is offered, the email system by far is the most efficient way to contact the Park to request tickets.

“We have done our best to reach out to a cross section of people to share this moment in the Park’s history,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “We are excited about the program that will mirror the original 1940 dedication and especially pleased to have all of our special guests and impressive slate of dignitaries together to celebrate the Park’s 75th anniversary.”

Dignitaries who will take part in the event include: North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen; U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan from North Carolina and Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and all three Congressmen whose districts include the Park, Heath Shuler of
North Carolina and John J. Duncan, Jr. and Phil Roe of Tennessee.


Two for Tuesday

I mean, really, just how adorable are these perky little guys!  A whole forest of cute stocking holders for your Christmas mantle…me want one…

Snowman Stocking Holder

Snowman Stocking Holder

Continuing in the adorable and perky mode, here is a basket of warm, fuzzy cuteness – Boyds Bear ornaments with sparkling holiday messages.  These would make great door prizes for your holiday open house!

Boyds Bear Ornaments

Boyds Bear Ornaments

I’ve linked the image above to one of the bears; the other two are pictured separately on our site, just search for Boyds Bear Ornaments.

How did I get all warm and fuzzy on such a hot summer afternoon?  I should have been scoping out icicles.  Have a cool yule, y’all!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place