2009 Christmas School Drawing Contest Winners!

We’re very happy to announce the winners of our 2009 school drawing contest.  All kindergarten, first, and second grade students in Knox, Blount, Jefferson, and Sevier counties were invited to submit drawings of their favorite Christmas images.

A grand prize winner from each county has won a $250 check for the art department of his or her school; and a $25 gift certificate from the store, an autographed Singing Santa CD, and a free photo with Santa.

We also selected a best-in-school winner from each campus, who receives an autographed Singing Santa CD and a free photo with Santa.

Grand Prize Winners

Jefferson County:  Colby Wyatt, Dandridge Elementary School
Blount County:  Cierra Lucynski, Porter Elementary School
Sevier County:  Kailey Daniels, Seymour Primary School
Knox County:  Kennedy Brothers, Carter Elementary School

Best-In-School Winners

Jefferson County:  Jaycee Schroeder, Dandridge Elementary; Wesley Hickle, Piedmont Elementary; Abby Shipe, Rush Strong School.

Blount County:  Lainee May, Porter Elementary; Jordan Taylor, Eagelton Elementary.

Sevier County:  Zackery Tilley, Seymour Primary; Oliver Reagan, Catons Chapel Elementary; Maggie Hardison, Pi Beta Phi Elementary; Sarah Whaley, Pigeon Forge Primary; Savannah Rockwell, Sevierville Primary; Haley Sami, Wearwood Elementary.

Knox County:  Taitayana Hubbard, Carter Elementary; Cody Peacock, Cedar Bluff Elementary; Justin Hager, Bonny Kate School; Brooklin Pickens, Gap Creek Elementary; Heath Martin, Cedar Bluff Elementary; Trinity Merrifield, Mount Olive Elementary.

The winning drawings from each student are currently posted on the walls in Singing Santa’s performance area, and will remain on display through the holidays.

Congratulations to all participating artists!  Their creativity is delightful to see, and we also say a big “thank you” to all the teachers who encouraged their students to submit drawings.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I must say that the store is beginning to look just a little bit bare ~ well, to those who are here every day, at least.  Our customers still are finding plenty to browse and enjoy, though.  We’re loaded with ornaments, garlands, lights, ribbons, stems, and all the extras to make your holiday a sparkling affair.

We’ve had a great selection of snowmen ornaments this year, and I came across these whimsical, ice skating fellows today.  They look so happy!  I love happy snowmen, don’t you?

Now, for those of you who are truly obsessed completely committed to celebrating all things Christmas in every facet of life, have you yet selected your Christmas shower curtain and curtain rings?  We have some really cute ones!  Continuing in the happy snowman theme, how about a woodland-style presentation?

Choose from a variety of shower curtain hooks to enhance your look.

Finally, polish things off with a couple of pieces of Christmas tree soap and an embroidered hand towel.  Remember, if you don’t have time for a thorough cleaning, light a few candles and let your guests enjoy the ambience and hopefully overlook the grime.  (Oops, am I giving away a secret there??)

Santa, please bring me a maid BEFORE Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Well, let’s just hope that Santa is not as far behind in toy production as I am in talking!  But it’s still only Monday … he has 10 more days.  No worries.

Our selection this week is another from Gooseberry Patch, Christmas Book 11, a new, 2009 publication.  That’s a lot of Christmas, but I for one can really never get too much Christmas!  In addition to being chock full of scrumptious recipes and foody gift ideas, this volume has craft recipes for things like snowmen ornaments, papier-mache ornaments, wreaths, fleece throws, and table runners; decorating tips and how-tos; gift wrapping ideas; and so much more.  It’s another WOW volume from Mary Elizabeth, Holly, Kate, and Spot.

No matter how hard I try, in my very scientific methodology of recipe selection, to land on a salad page … oh, no, once again the order of the universe has selected a dessert page.  Pfft.  I must do as the universe directs.

Peanut Butter Strudel Pie

3/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
9-inch pie crust, baked
2/3 C plus 6 T sugar, divided
1/3 C all-purpose flour (one day I am going to forget myself and say “all-porpoise” like I really want to!)
1/4 t salt
2 C milk
3 eggs
2 T butter
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cream of tartar

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and peanut butter to resemble coarse crumbs; spread over the bottom of the pie crust, reserving one tablespoon for topping.  Set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together 2/3 cup sugar, flour, and salt; gradually add milk.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 5 minutes more or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Separate eggs, placing whites in a separate bowl.  Beat yolks and blend in a small amount of the milk mixture; stir well.  Return all the yolks to the pan; cook and stir over low heat for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Cover and set filling aside.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  (Tip from Janet:  egg whites beat more quickly when everything is at room temperature.)  Gradually beat in the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar, one at a time, until all sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form.

Reheat the pie filling over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until hot.  Pour hot filling over peanut butter crumbs in pie crust.  Top with meringue, being sure to seal around the edges.  Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of peanut butter crumbs.  Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until meringue is golden.  Cool completely before serving.

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon; t = teaspoon

I think the universe was right!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

See, I fooled you.  You thought I was going to be normal ordinary and post this on Tuesday, but no, I waited til Friday!  Just a little Christmas fun!

We have a really nice assortment of Christmas jewelry in the store, everything from whimsical and contemporary to traditional, elegant pieces.  I was planning this post on Monday, and it turns out that jewelry is one of our specials this week ~ most of our collection is 25% off now through December 17th.  Here are just a couple of samples I photographed.







I’ve also been admiring these sparkly, jingling little hanging decorations ~ they look great on the Christmas tree, but could easily hang from a wreath or a shelf, or serve as a front door decoration.  They just seem so cheerful to me.

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back on Monday with my Friday recipe.  Santa’s just keeping us very, very busy around here!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

“The Truth About Santa Claus”

My favorite morning radio program, Morning Edition on National Public Radio, today interviewed the author of a new book, The Truth About Santa Claus; Wormholes, Robots, and What Really Happens on Christmas Eve.  It was the most charming story I’ve heard all week, and well worth a listen

Did you know that Santa doesn’t actually travel across space as you and I understand it from housetop A to housetop B; he warps space to bring point B to point A, and then the reindeer leap through, pulling him and his sleigh to the next housetop.  Who knew!  and what a time saver!  Also, Santa’s red suit is made of an amazing composite material that bends light around him, so we sometimes cannot see him right in the room with us.  Author Gregory Mone explains these and other mysteries about Santa ~ actually, it’s just that Santa’s technology is about 500 years ahead of ours.

I think I’d like to find this book under my tree on Christmas morning! 

Speaking of which, I should probably show you my Christmas tree.  It’s like this silver tree, and I haven’t yet figured out just who to blame for it.  I mean, really, pink foil and white garland and green balls with white polka dots?  Who does that??  I made the tree top ornament with a fuzzy snowflake, a beautiful pink glass star with a touch of glitter, and a dab of hot glue (items also from the store).  But, and here’s the important thing, look how much room there is all around it for mountains of presents!  Not that I’m hinting or anything.  Obviously, I have not yet solved the tree skirt dilemma … white, pink, or green?  Anyone have any suggestions for me?  Please!?

 Well, I hope you’ve expressed yourself in the form of a Christmas tree this year, too!  There is still plenty of time to order decorations and gifts for the holidays, but not much.  Check out this weeks deals and specials, and pick up a few stocking stuffers while you’re shopping ~ free freight for orders of $100 or more is still available.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Letters to Santa

Santa is still accepting Christmas wishes from girls and boys for the Big Night.  Here are a few more precious letters!

Dear Santa, I want a Wii and a four-wheeler and remember that I saw you at a yard sale and I was so happy to see you.  Your friend, Grace

Dear Santa, I want a horse for Christmas (fake or real).  And a gun.  What ever kind.  Sam

Dear Santa, I can eat all my food.  Please bring me a new game for my leapfrog.  Janiece

I want an airsoft gun with 550 FPS.  If I don’t get it I will hurt you bad.  I love you Santa, Logan

What are you asking Santa for this Christmas?  There’s still time!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Not to worry, we forward all the letters we receive on to The Big Guy ~  I’m just borrowing them for a moment!

Food for Friday

Instead of looking through all the cookbooks in the store today, I decided to ask the next person who passed my office what they cook when they don’t want to use a recipe.  Penny, thank you for this one!

Taco Pasta

Cooked pasta of your choice
1 lb ground beef or boneless chicken
1 small to medium onion
1 package taco seasoning mix
as much cheese as you can stand

Cook the meat and the chicken together.  Mix with pasta, taco seasoning, and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve with a bag of steamed vegetables and a salad.

Alright!  That’s as easy as hamburger pie, but with cheese.  I like it!  So, that’s your easy-peasy, make-it-quick dinner at the end of a busy day of searching for parking spaces and waiting in check-out lines.  {But not our checkout line!  We have the fastest-moving line in town, I promise!}

In the local paper yesterday was a recipe that sounds so good, it makes me want to buy this serving tray just to see if I can recreate the neat diamond shapes they achieved for their photograph!

Here’s a link to the article, “Cookies & dessert bars take celebrations over the top.”  Look at the recipe for Gold Rush Bars.  The instructions call for making a fruit spread of dried apricots, figs, dates, and a sweet dessert wine, layered between a lovely buttery cake-like batter, the whole dusted with powdered sugar before serving.  It sounds fairly easy and looks so elegant. 


~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

If you are a fan of the colorful and imaginative creations of Jim Shore, you’ll surely want to add one of these wonderful ornaments to your Christmas tree.  The star has been a particular favorite this year, and the cross is so wonderfully detailed and representative of the ultimate hope of Christmas.

Would you like to delight a child in a special way on Christmas eve?  Offer him or her a bottle of Santa Dust to sprinkle around the front door ~ Santa will be sure to stop at your home for Christmas!

Only 23 days left to wrap presents, cook and bake, decorate, and celebrate.  Use them well!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place