Artist Signing ~ Christian Ulbricht

This Saturday, October 30th, Gunther Ulbricht, grandson of the founder of the Christian Ulbricht nutcracker company, will be at Christmas Place for an exclusive signing from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Founded in 1928 by Otto Ulbricht, the company uses native German woods in the creation of their exquisite, hand-crafted nutcrackers and smokers.  The Ulbricht company has provided us with a charming history of the nutcracker:

     No one knows where the first nutcracker was born, or even what he looked like. Various accounts place his date of birth in the 17th or 18th century. His was not a celebrated birth, so perhaps he’s been around much longer.

     One can imagine him being carved during the long winter nights before Christmas. No doubt he was ready in time for the Christmas feasts, where nuts are as traditional as apples and gingerbread. Many early Nutcrackers are fashioned as kings, generals, and policemen. The carvers were delighted to find a practical use for such stern authority figures.

      In the early 1800’s, Nutcrackers were popular in German fairytales. In these stories, Nutcrackers have magical powers for doing good. They come alive when needed and perform miracles for those who believe in them. Tchaikovsky was inspired by one such tale to create “The Nutcracker Suite”, which made Nutcrackers famous the world over.

     Today, a Nutcracker’s mere presence is enough to bring good luck to those who believe in him. You must realize that their large teeth and stern countenance are necessary to ward off evil spirits. At heart, Nutcrackers are only interested in your welfare and happiness. At Holiday times especially, the Nutcracker’s calm, upstanding presence assures one and all that nothing bad will happen; and that it will be a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Like Clara in The Nutcracker, kids enjoy playing with nutcrackers, and the Ulbricht collection are truly heirloom quality pieces.  If Christian Ulbricht nutcrackers are already a part of your collection, you may bring in up to two to have signed by Gunther on Saturday. 

See you on Saturday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Halloween Time!

How spooky is your Halloween village?  We’ve really creeped ours out with giant spiders, a purple skeleton,  and – my personal favorite – Road Kill Cat is back – at least as a decoration!  He’s been replaced for sale by Solar Cat (a.k.a. Rabid Cat – you’ll see…))))).

Where did we get all the cobwebs?  Why, it’s angel hair, of course – what else would we use??

And, here is Rabid Cat!  A few hours of sunlight, and his eyes glow like the head lights on a Ferrari .. well, um, maybe a cross-eyed Ferrari ..


Okay, not sure who took over my computer and inserted that message.  Guess I’m already getting spooked for the holiday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Halloween Giveaway!

Are you ready to spook and be spooked?  It’s almost witching night, and we’ve got a creepy contest going on .. surf over to the Christmas Place contest page and enter to win this pair of boo-licious 19″ lighted bats for your belfry! 

They’re guaranteed to scare up the Halloween fun for all!  The giveaway starts today, and you can enter once a day through midnight (of course!), Friday, October 22nd.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Well, there are only 71 more days until Christmas – but 101 recipes in this cook book .. what are you going to do???  You’ll have to double up on some days to get them all in!

101 Christmas Recipes, a Gooseberry Patch publication, is a colorful and beautifully photo-illustrated, spiral-bound recipe book – I like the easy binding on the book, because you can open it to the one page you want and not have to lay out the whole thing – counter space is often a premium in the kitchen!  Every recipe is accompanied by a full-color photo and a quote from the author of the dish.

This concise volume (by normal Gooseberry Patch standards!) of only four chapters covers Holiday Open House, Snow Fun, Christmas Day, and Sweets of the Season.  You’ll not believe it, but I have not opened the sweets section this time!

Is yours a pizza-loving home? Here’s a quick and easy sandwich recipe, a take on Sloppy Joes that the kids – of all ages – will love!


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
4-oz sliced mushrooms, drained
16-oz jar pizza sauce
6 to 8 slices mozzarella cheese
6 to 8 hamburger or sub buns
Optional:  olive slices, pepperoni slices

In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and onion; drain.  Add mushrooms and pizza sauce to skillet; heat through.  Assemble sandwiches with ground beef mixture, top with cheese slices, adding olives and pepperoni if desired.  Serves 6 to 8.

Doesn’t that sound delicious – and a one-pan meal can’t be beat!

Okay, here are some more recipe titles from the book – all the pictures are just so appealing!  Shoepeg Corn & Green Bean Casserole, Spiced Christmas Cashews, Jalapeno Cheese Spread, Chocolate Eggnog, Eggnog French Toast Strata, Candy Cane Thumbprints, GiGi’s Cranberry Cobbler – uh oh, looks like I’ve passed over into sweets land!  Have I made you hungry enough to bake something this weekend?

You need a copy of 101 Christmas Recipes ~ you just don’t know what you’ll be missing at this year’s Christmas party without it!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Letters to Santa

“Dear Santa, I really don’t want anything, because I have all I need right where I am.  I get to go everywhere I want, I really have a loving family.  I love them too, but my wish is to wish everyone else a Merry Christmas! (and it’s my birthday, October 2nd.)
“P.S.  Merry Christmas Santa Claus
“P.S.S.  I’ll always believe in you”

~ Jessie B.

“Hey fake Santa, listen, my mom told me about Santa 4 years ago, that he is dead, but I think it is nice of you to be Santa.  I guess you like to see their smiles.
“P.S. It is great writing you again.
“P.P.S. Sorry my writing is sloppy, I am in the bathroom writing this.”

Love, B

Okay, so, I’m thinking that even Briley is still a true believer at heart, aren’t you?!  (and she’s going to get a letter from Santa this year!)

~Janet @ The Christmas Place