Is it time?

It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in the Smokies, nearing the end of February, and I just passed a car that is still sporting its red Rudolf nose – no, wait .. is it “still” .. or is the driver already anticipating Christmas 2013, as we are here at Christmas Place?!  Hmmmm….

For those of you who simply insist on putting the tree away for at least a couple of months each year, and since we have made it past Valentines, Gumdrop, and Presidents days, now might be the time to take down the Christmas tree.

Think about it for a moment, though.  Do you really want to struggle with making it all fit back into the original box, adding a 5th .. 6th .. 7th .. layer of tape, and then having to drag the big, unwieldy box through the house, wedging it through doorways and around end tables and furry family members who have no concept of what you are trying to accomplish without their assistance, thank you very much, and finally into a storage area (probably up or down stairs, or even outside)?

No, you don’t!

Look no further, sweat and struggle no more.  We are pleased to tell you that we have the perfect solution for you right here.  You must get one of these marvelous tree storage bags – not just a bag, but a bag with wheels.  How fabulous is that?

Christmas tree storage bag, with wheels, for 7 or 9 foot tree

Portable, lightweight, flexible, stuffable, handles for easy transport .. where’s the cup holder on this thing??  Room to store your power strip and extension cord(s) right in the bag, so you don’t have to hunt them down next year.  I don’t know if there’s a Facebook fan page for it yet – but it seems like there ought to be!

You also need bags for your wreaths, to keep them free of dust and other potential off-season mishaps.

There, the last part of Christmas 2012, taken care of in a most convenient way.  Now you can sit back and wait for the new trends and styles in Christmas decor to form themselves into your perfect decorating scheme for 2013.  We’ll be right here to help with that, too.  Don’t you just have a wonderful feeling of peace and calm and preparedness for next Christmas, you lucky thing.

Good for you, because, well, Christmas is only 309 days away.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Speaking of next Christmas, the new Snowbabies and Department 56 pieces are available for pre-ordering already!  If you’re a fan of the National Lampoon movie “Christmas Vacation”, this is the year for you – remember Cousin Eddie’s RVIt’s here! 

Saddle Up! Time in Pigeon Forge

Have you discovered Saddle Up! yet?  It’s a Winterfest Event in its 13th year, a long weekend of cowboy fun, food, and entertainment.  Events range from musical performances and storytelling, private concerts and free food tastings, to a Saturday Buckaroo Roundup at Clabough’s Campground and evening Cowboy Dance, wrapping up with a chuck wagon breakfast and Cowboy Church at Stages West on Sunday morning.

Guests at The Inn at Christmas Place will have exclusive access to a private evening of food and entertainment on Wednesday, February 20th, when Kent Rollins and T. Scot Wilburn team up to offer a sampling of chuck wagon cooking, storytelling, and music in our own parking lot!

T. Scot Wilburn was born with western music in his blood.  The Montana native’s father and uncle, Harold and Vernon Wilburn, were members of the legendary Snake River Outlaws, one of the hottest cowboy bands in the Northwest during the late ‘40s and early ‘50s.  Scot, a talented musician who can play anything with strings, toured more than a decade with Wylie & the Wild West.  He produces Saddle Up’s “Stories & Strings” concert and this year performs with his own band, the Shut Up -N- Playboys.  Follow this link to an interview and performance during “Stories & Strings” at Saddle Up! 2012.

T Scot Wilburn plays fiddle

T. Scot Wilburn

Kent Rollins is the epitome of what a cowboy should be; he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk each and every day.  And he’s a darned good cook.  Just ask the folks at The Food Network, where Kent recently appeared on “Throwdown! With Bobby Flay” and “Chopped: Grill Masters.”  Kent, his 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon, stove “Bertha” and wife Shannon travel across the country to cook and entertain and make new friends.  He’s been cooking and telling stories at Saddle Up for years and has helped grow the event during its 13 seasons.  (He also comes with a supply of his own killer mix called Red River Ranch Seasonings – I’ve used this on everything from scrambled eggs and green salad to steak, and it makes anything taste better!)  Learn more about Kent here.

Kent Rollins with his chuck wagon at Saddle Up Pigeon Forge

Kent Rollins

There’s still time to reserve your nights at The Inn before the cowboys hit the trail again ~ just be sure to pack your boots!  (Check out the selection at Stages West if you need a new pair.)

Not all the events require tickets, but for those that do, you can purchase them online at www.mypigeonfore.com/saddleup, or on-site during the event.  Saturday’s Buckaroo Roundup at Clabough’s Campground in Wear’s Valley (no admission charge) offers a variety of fun activities for the whole family, including branding and roping demonstrations, pony rides, and a chuck wagon cook-off between seven wagons.  It’s a truly a great way to bust out some plaid and spend a day with the family!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  We’ve got to get in on the fun here at the store, too ~ we’ll be offering 15% off all our Western ornaments and decor here at Christmas Place throughout Saddle Up!

P.P.S.  NO NO NO, I categorically refuse to try the mechanical bull.  So don’t even try to change my mind about it.  Now, how are my hair and lipstick??

Elves at Work!

See, we don’t ALWAYS wear our fur-trimmed hats, green tights, and curl-toed shoes!  But we ARE always looking for ways to do things better – here we are, brainstorming efficiency improvements in inventory management – so you’ll see even more quickly the best new merchandise our buyers select this year.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Extra credit if you can point out the two most unexpected elves in the room…

…and then it flooded .. just a little ..

We were very blessed to be spared the worst of yesterday’s weather, but there was plenty of rain over the mountains.  Leaving work Wednesday night, I drove as close as I dared to the raging rapids behind the store.  It was dusk, and still raining, so I must apologize for the quality of these images, but I think you’ll get a feel for what was happening.  On a normal day, the water would not even be visible from this vantage point – did you even know we have a river running behind the store?

It’s amazing to see the water surging around our picnic tables and into the lot!  By the way, I did not use a special lens or any computer manipulation – the special effects here are just raindrops on the camera lens – kind of interesting, I’ve decided.

Just to compare, here are pictures I took Thursday – the day after the flood.  If you are familiar with the area, you can see that the water that surged into our lot left a bit of a mess in its wake.

You can’t even see the water in the river today!

Oh, wait .. here it is – still surging – but down several feet from yesterday.

Okay, yes, a few feet of river water rise is quite an event for January in Pigeon Forge!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Beautiful snow on the mountain peaks – more on the way this weekend.  It’s okay if it stays up on the mountain peaks – camera range will be quite sufficient, thank you.