Fall for Tuesday!

Oh, yes, fall has arrived!  And the people are rejoicing!  Several of us mentioned the need for a light jacket this morning, and we may even get  overnight temperatures in the 40s next week.  Yippee!  We’re received some good, soaking rains in the last few days, and if we get enough of that, the leaves will come out beautifully for us.

And so, on a fall theme, I have today fall colors from Vera Bradley, and fall treats from Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen to entice to you come for a visit.

Check out the just-released colors – my particular favorite is Buttercup, the first on the left, followed in order in the picture by Twirly Birds Navy, Twirly Birds Pink, Baroque, and Versailles.  (Of course, in Indiana where Vera Bradley is headquartered, it is pronounced Ver-sails.  Just so you know.)

Vera Bradley Fall Colors

As before, they have also interpreted these prints with a slight twist in the Frills collection, laminated fabrics with a kicky kind of style.  I love the Lunch Bunch bags!  It’s all such fun stuff.

Frill in Curly Bird Pink

Frills in Buttercup & Baroque

It’s time for pumpkin fudge at the Candy Kitchen!  I took a super-close photo so you can see the spices in the mix – isn’t it lovely?  All that sweet-and-spicy goodness waiting to be enjoyed.

While you’re sampling the fudge, keep your fingers crossed that there’s an iced cookie in the case .. look at that happy pumpkin sprinkle on top!

Glorious Fall!  How we love your cool nights, misty mornings, and warm afternoons.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Yes, I did get to sample the items in today’s photos.  In fact, I’m also picking up the Buttercup Lunch Bunch!

Food for Friday

Oooo..I just found the prettiest and most fun cookbook in the Gallery with a wonderfully promising subtitle ~ The 12 Days of Christmas Cookbook, The Ultimate in Effortless Holiday Entertaining.

The folks who compiled this collection really had fun with naming their chapters, following the pattern of the Christmas carol ~ Beverages-a-Blending, Cookies-a-Cooling, Desserts-a-Delighting, and so on, all the way to Soups-a-Simmering.  In the middle is Ca-a-an-dies (five-gold-den-rings, you get it?).  “On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me An Appetizer on a Platter.”

The pages are all printed in Christmas-y shades of red & green, and accented with snowflakes and candy striping.  “Effortless Entertaining Tips” are included with each chapter, and on page 184 I just found the most delightful idea called “Scrambled Dinner.”  No, it’s not serving scrambled eggs, it’s serving a secret meal in which every dish – and beverage and utensil and napkin! – is given a Christmas name and guest have to order based only on the names – like “Clouds over Bethlehem” (mashed potatoes) and “Herod’s Scepter” (dinner knife).  A guest might end up with meat, veggies, and dessert, but only a toothpick with which to eat!  What a fun party idea – if your friends are up for some holiday hijinks!

The recipe I’ve selected to share is called “Strawberry Pretzel Salad” because I was immediately intrigued by the idea of mixing a sweet, soft strawberry with a salty, crunchy pretzel – I enjoy mixing sweet and salty together – and wondering where to get fresh, tasty strawberries in December.  Turns out I might like this recipe for many more reasons than just sweet+salty!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ingredients
3/4 C butter or margarine, melted
3 T sugar
2 C crushed pretzels
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
**2 (3 oz) packages strawberry-flavored gelatin
2 C boiling water
1 (16 oz) package frozen strawberries
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained

In bowl, mix butter or margarine, 3 T sugar, and crushed pretzels; press mixture into 9×13-inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 C sugar.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spread evenly over cooled pretzel crust.  In bowl, combined gelatin & boiling water; stir to dissolve.  Mix in frozen strawberries & pineapple.  Allow gelatin to set slightly; pour over cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate til completely set.  Makes 12-15 servings.

I think I’ve had a slice of this heaven at a party or a pitch-in sometime in the past, and I’m so happy to have a recipe for it – I’m going to make it for an event this Sunday!  I’m just not sure how they class this as a salad though .. sounds like a fruity dessert to me.

This cookbook is item 491000, and it will be on our website later today – as soon as it is up, I’ll add a link to it from the photo above.  In the mean time, if you love strawberries, and maybe chocolate, too, how about a really special ornament for your Christmas tree??

Taking a bite NOT recommended!  Enjoy!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

**UPDATE!

Okay, I tried to make this on Sunday, having printed a copy of this post to take with me to the grocery store.  I did not notice until I had half of it constructed that I had NOTHING to add to the two cups of boiling water!  I’m so sorry, folks, that I left out the 2 boxes of gelatin!  As it was, I only used one box of gelatin, and my dish failed .. which means I’ve been munching on the crust and cream cheese layer only, and I had to buy a snack for my Sunday night gathering.  I hang my head in shame (though I love the sweet & salty mix, even without the fruity layer).

Now that I have returned to the office, revisited the original recipe, & updated it above, I hope you’ll have more success.  Also, I was making mine with raspberries instead of strawberries, and I found a box of raspberry jello in the cabinet – how amazing is that .. when did I last think to buy raspberry jello?  I think you could mix this up with any fruits & jellos that strike your fancy – while looking for frozen raspberries I also contemplated a package of frozen mixed berries, and a friend recommended frozen blueberries.

Note to self:  better blogging through better proof-reading!
 

Two for Tuesday

We have some new friends in the store this year, and I think you might like to meet them…

First, well, you’ve probably already met the big guy ..

Santa & Roy

 .. but that Roy is quite the charmer!  Roy is joined by ..

Albert & Jimmy

 .. clearly Albert is none to happy about Jimmy choosing his magnificent antlers for a nap! (Elf sold separately.)

And there’s just something about Bob ..

Bob & Mikey

The elves find him irresistible, too, even with that big nose – at least his doesn’t glow in the dark!  Looks like Mikey is hitching a ride back to the north pole. (Elf sold separately.)

I found another Santa sitting in the breezeway yesterday, just waiting for a friend.  Could you be the one?

Santa's waiting for you!

I have seen a few smaller versions of these very funny reindeer around the store, so if whimsy is your theme, come by and check them out!

And now, from Really Big Decorations to a collection I think would be a perfect stocking stuffer ~ you might want to buy one of each and keep them around for occasions when you just want one little gift for someone special. These porcelain plaques are about 5″ square (the larger one is 5″ x 6.5″) and have two brass hangers securely attached to the back.  They come with the velvet bows you see here, and retail for only $11.99, a great value!

There are several more styles, these three just happen to be my favorites!  I love the dimensionality they have – the letters and decorations are raised, and the colors are rich and elegant.

Only 92 days til Christmas, and we are starting to feel the excitement!  Don’t forget about all the artists coming to visit the store over the next three months – check out the list here.  We’ve just added performances by a local seniors choir and a high school handbell choir, both of which are quite excellent.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

 

Santa’s Secret!

Today, Saturday, and Sunday Only

Santa’s Secret Grab Bag!

On-Line Promotion

Our web buyers have pulled together a selection of items sorted into three themes, Gingerbread, Santa, and Snowmen, and created 12 bags for each, filled with all kinds of goodies.  You pay only $15, but your Grab Bag may be worth up to $50 if you’re on the nice list!

You may get novelty lights, a cookie jar, figurines, a holiday throw rug, salt & pepper shakers, guest towels, ornaments, garland, mugs & coasters, gift tags, throw pillows, an apron .. and the list goes on.

Are you up for a fun holiday surprise?  Santa’s Secret Grab Bags go on sale at 9:00 a.m. each morning, and quantities are limited to only 12 each day.

Bet on a sure thing – the cutest holiday decorations around!  Add a grab bag to your shopping cart now.

Snow Minions!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Our First-Ever On-Line Tent Sale!

Did you know you can have a tent sale on-line??  We sure are!  They took a lot of items from our site to put into the Labor Day tent sale here at the store, so we took a bunch back and are doing our on on-line tent sale!

Christmas ornaments, figurines, floral stems ~ garland, ribbon, stockings ~ an angel tree topper ~ we’ve got a great selection at tent sale prices. 

Designers, it’s the perfect time to stock up on decorations in volume ~ enough to use all around the house!

Prices are straight from the tent sale, and won’t go any lower, so shop early to get just the items you want.

Pick up a few strands of long-lasting, low-energy LED lights in red & green, multicolored, or beautiful blue.  Add punch to a pre-made wreath, garland, or candle ring with a selection of leaves & silk flowers keyed to your own color theme.  Snag an old world Santa for your mantel.

Only 102 days left til Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Okay, rest of the world, I did not know that chickens could lay GREEN eggs .. I did not.  But they are lovely!  I purchased a dozen home-grown eggs from one of the associates here at the store, and they are really too pretty to crack open.  I feel like I want to blow them out and preserve them .. but she’s told me the shells are a lot harder than store-bought egg shells, so my chances of success are slim and none.

One of her lovely ladies likes to lay a BIG brown egg each day, too.  It just makes me happy to look at the beautiful colors in my carton.  In honor of these extraordinary eggs that have come into my life, I have to share a recipe that calls for eggs, don’t I?

Christmas mornings, my family used to rush around opening presents and then race to put together breakfast before everyone died of starvation .. you know how that is when you’re roused before dawn for the fun!  We finally had a good thought between us and began doing breakfast casseroles that we put together the night before and just pop in the oven on Christmas morning – and it’s wonderful.  The food is ready at about the same time all the wrappings have been rounded up, and there’s less to clean up before preparations for The Big Meal begin.

Here is a sister publication to the last 3-in-1 I shared,  filled with more recipes submitted by some of your favorite brand names.  The Church Potluck, Sunday Suppers, & Bake Sale collection is another feast for the eyes as well as the dinner table!  I’ve picked a breakfast casserole from the Brunch for a Bunch section that is a play on one of my favorites, French Toast.

Aunt Marilyn’s Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Ingredients
1 large loaf French bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
3-1/2 C milk
9 eggs
1-1/2 C sugar, divided
1 T vanilla
1/2 t salt
6 to 8 medium baking apples, such as McIntosh or Cortland, peeled & sliced
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar (optional)

Place bread slices in greased 13×9-inch glass baking dish or casserole.  Whisk milk, eggs, 1 C sugar, vanilla & salt in large bowl until well blended.  Pour half of mixture over bread.  Layer apple slices over bread.  Pour remaining half of egg mixture over apples.  Combine remaining 1/2 C sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl; sprinkle over casserole.  Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake uncovered 1 hour or until eggs are set.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Makes 6-8 servings.

In the picture, the serving is garnished with a mix of red and blue berries for a very festive presentation on a Christmas-green plate.  It’s making me look forward to Christmas morning already – which is only about 105 days away, people!  That’s only three-and-a-half months already – my favorite time of the year!

I guess I can’t hang on to my beautiful eggs forever, I’m going to have to enjoy the insides as well as the outsides.  Maybe I’ll try slicing them open with an exacto so I can glue them back together, covering the seam with a bit of cheery (and likely glittered!) ribbon.  Sounds about right.

Have a grand weekend – the Shades of the Past car show is on, and we’ve been enjoying the parade past the courtyard all week!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Lots of Artist Events Coming Up!

We have lots of artists coming to visit Christmas Place in the next few months.  Take a look at our calendar here.

Ne'Qwa Art

R.J. McDonald, a fine art painter from Nashville, Tennessee, will be with us once a month til the end of the year.  Well known for his wildlife art, he also loves painting Santa Claus, and has a collection of beautiful, detailed depictions of holiday scenes.  One favorite includes Santa reviewing the Nice names list, and there’s room for Mr. McDonald to personalize the print with the names of your children and grandchildren.  He’s introducing a new Christmas print this year.

Egyptian Glass

In October, we welcome four artists and an author, starting with our new fan favorite Mario Taré, a delightful designer of Christopher Radko glass ornaments.  Trieste from Ne’Qwa Art, an exquisite painter of ornaments on the inside of the glass, will be here to autograph ornaments.  Linda Paul, the co-creator of Egyptian Museum Glass, will visit the store for a signing.  We welcome R.J. McDonald for a weekend, and finally author Carol Aebersold, author of the most clever children’s book and creator of the “Elf on the Shelf” tradition.

The second weekend in November will be a very busy one for us!  R.J. McDonald will be here all weekend.  On Saturday, Barbara Lund, the Department 56 designer of Dickens Village houses and collectibles will be in the store for a signing.  Also that weekend, we will host our annual Secondary Market Sale in the courtyard ~ collectors of Department 56 will be on hand to sell items from their personal collections.  If this is of interest to you, please contact Teresa Hughes at 864-453-0415, extension 148.

If you’re familiar with the renowned Fontanini nativity collectibles, you’re in for a treat – Stefano Fontanini will be here from Italy for a signing of their handsome and detailed nativity pieces.  We also have a special signing piece for sale that day, a Gloria Angel ornament.

We have a very special treat on Monday, November 15th – the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Charles Dickens, will be in the store in the morning to sign autographs, books and Dickens collectibles.  Later that day, he will be giving two performances of his one-man enactment of A Christmas Carol at The Inn at Christmas Place.  Each performance will be followed by a tea and dessert reception catered by The Partridge & Pear Restaurant.  Tickets for the two performances are $24.99 each, and may be purchased by calling either the store at 1-800-445-3396, ask for Guest Services, or the hotel at 1-888-465-9644.  I’ll give more detailed information on the event in a follow-up post.

R. J. McDonald will visit us one more time the weekend before Christmas, so you’ll have another chance to pick up an autographed print as a special gift for someone ~ maybe yourself?!

We’re also hoping to add some choir performances and other special treats as the holidays approach.  Of course, there will be Christmas dinner at the restaurant, and daily activities just for Inn guests throughout December.

Can’t you feel the holidays approaching?  We’re excited, and looking forward to seeing a lot of you in the store soon!

~Janet @ Christmas Place