Waiting for Snow

They started it last week, issuing a winter storm warning for us for tonight and tomorrow.  That got the rampant speculation under way.  This morning, the forecasters said we’d start with rain and end with snow tonight, with no accumulation.  But reports are coming in of snowing-like-mad and an-inch-on-the-ground-and-still-coming-down.  We’re making excuses to walk by the window and peer out, looking for our share of the white stuff – at the first sign of which we will no doubt head out for supplies and the kids will anticipate a day or two out of school!


In a Spin, 2009 Snowbabies

Didn’t you love snow days when you were a kid??  I think that no matter how much you loved school, you still loved not-school even more!

I remember sledding down the hill on a big, flat piece of cardboard with my visiting-from-Florida cousins!  Sled til you’re soaked and frozen, then come in for barely long enough to dry and warm up, and out the door again.

If you’re hoping for snow, may your dreams be coming true today – school’s out in Sevier County.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I have picked out a couple of very elegant reindeer poised to pull Santa’s sleigh this year.  Both of these gentlemen surely promise a smooth and speedy ride, wouldn’t you say?

Regal in gold and white or exceptionally distinguished in jewel-encrusted gold gilt.

These two graceful and stylish characters will add real glamour to your holidays!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

checking in…

So, you remember a month ago when I reminded you that it was less than six months til Christmas?  And I sent you that gift list form to get started?  to keep that whole panic-ing thing from hitting in the middle of December?  The one where you just can’t remember what Aunt Bee said about that scarf with the fringe and the thing in the middle – did she love it?  did it clash?  How are you doing on your list?

for Mom

I will continue to hound remind you about this.  I only have your best interests at heart. 

Dad (legend in his own mind)

You could just hand a copy to each loved one to list their requests – no effort required on your part except to remember that you’ve handed them out and need to get them back.

Keep the kids busy

Don’t forget those family members that don’t have opposable thumbs – and any orangutans that happen to be around the house.  Santa’s usually got something in his bag for them, too.

As you’re putting away all the gear after vacation, leave enough crawl space to get to the decorations in December, and think about some new elements for this year to keep it fresh.

 I’ll be back next month.  You could save me some time by letting me know how far along you are already…

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

but first, Whoa!  When I crested the hill early this morning there was a tsunami cloud bank backed up against Chilhowee Mountain – spreading out fully as far to the west as the mountain extends.  From that aspect, the cloud bank was perfectly level and dense and preparing to roll across the valley swallowing everything in its path.  It must have been spectacular as it lifted from the foothills through the morning hours.

Although snowmen are my favorite theme, I know there are plenty of folks who would choose to pack up and spend their Christmas holidays in a warm and sunny place that would allow for the accumulation of sand between the toes.  Here’s how you do it in spirit if it’s not possible in reality: 

White tree – not just flocked, fully white (not of nature, of course) with white lights.
Various shades of aqua and turquoise interpreted in sparkling leaves and coral branches.
Ornaments reflective of a seaside setting – brilliant fish, seahorses, Santa in Hawaiian attire and convertible, light houses.
Hang a few fish and some coral from the ceiling.

Add an inflated palm tree, slip into your swimsuit, scatter some beach towels in front of the fireplace, stick a tiny umbrella in your eggnog, and you are there.

Finishing touch: a wreath above the fireplace.

Now, go find yourself some sand……….

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. I can count, but I felt this tree deserved the full-on theme treatment, not just two lonely pics!  New trees and decorating themes are appearing daily now.

Two for Tuesday

Okay, yes, I know it’s Thursday…but sometimes life happens, you know?  Thanks to a terrific storm in the area and the downing of neighborhood trees, I had no power on Tuesday (for about 23 hours) and when I made it to the store yesterday we had been struck by lightning and lost a few of those critical systems without which modern life and, you know, the taking in of other peoples’ money in exchange for the good stuff, simply cannot proceed.  People, keep a land line in your home, just one – you already know that my cell phone was begging for re-juicing right when the power went down, natch.

Anyway, on Monday before the storms the air was so thick and it was so hot that I was thinking about ice cubes already, so here are some frosty things to keep you thinking Christmas.

Snowman Music Box

Snowman Music Box

Cuddly Snowman Pillow

Cuddly Snowman Pillow

Sassy Snowman

Sassy Snowman

Snowman Choir

Snowman Choir

 Yes, it’s more than two – I’m feeling bad about missing a day, though.  Got to keep on Santa’s Nice list – besides, snowmen are my favorites!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

My sister sent me this list of ingredients which, when combined, are supposed to make a fantastic turkey burger.  Teensy little problem, she didn’t send that sometimes helpful element called “measurements.”  Okay.  So, she later told me that it came from an Oprah Winfrey show, and I really tried to find the recipe on her site.  “The Oprah.com search feature is currently undergoing a major upgrade and is temporarily unavailable.” 

Although I managed to navigate through to the recipes section and found two other turkey burger choices, I could not find this list of ingredients.  But, sister friend assured me Oprah had encouraged viewers to enjoy and share the recipe.

Finally, thanks to the wonders of google, I found the details, and Bob’s your uncle.  Created by Jeff O’Neil and served at the private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.  Will be on the menu in New York City, Chicago, and my dinner table.  (T = tablespoon, t = teaspoon, C = cup)

1/4 C scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 C celery, finely chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced*
1/8 C canola oil
4 pounds ground turkey breast
2 T salt
1 T black pepper
2 t chipotle Tabasco™
1 lemon, juice and grated zest (yay! an excuse to use my zester from Sur La Table!)
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 C Major Grey’s Chutney, pureed (good stuff – try it on chicken curry, too)

Sauté the scallions, celery, and apples in the canola oil until tender; drain and cool.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed items and all remaining ingredients.  Shape into eight patties, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours so they’ll retain their shape well on the grill.  Season the patties with salt and pepper before grilling, about 7 minutes on each side, and make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.   You can also bake these in an oven or even a toaster oven (saves you heating the big oven in the summertime).  The original recipe recommends serving these with a side of Mar-a-Lago Pear Chutney (yummy!) on toasted bread of your choice.

Now, don’t let the fact that old Teddie Turkey up there happens to be packing a shotgun keep you from trying this yourself.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

*from a friend in culinary school – when dicing, do your best to make sure all the pieces end up the same size to ensure even cooking – and all this time I thought it was just for the prettiness!  dope slap.

Two for Tuesday

I’m pretty sure I’ll never run out of two new things to show every week ~ prowling the shops here is the most fun!  Here are two items I spotted in – and around – Second Nature today.  First, sports mascots from regional (if Louisiana and Ohio count as being in the region) ~ here is a Kentucky Wildcat looking quite ferocious!

In contrast, sitting quietly if no less colorfully in the flower bed out front, surrounded by Chili Chilies, this cheerful rooster!  (No one will notice the presence of a weed or two or twenty if you stick one of these little guys into your beds…)






~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Charming Tails Signing Event!

Take a look at these cute wittle faces – how can you not say “awwww!” –  and who would not want to make these mice feel right at home??  They are from the Charming Tails collection.

On Saturday, July 19th, we will be hosting Dean Griff, the artist who crafts these charming critters, in the store for an exclusive signing from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Titled “Today Is Special Because I’m With You,” these two characters, sitting on a calendar page for “today”, are from a limited-edition collection of six figurines released this year.  You may call to order any of the six specials for the signing event and we will be happy to ship to you the following week.  The limited collection is not currently available in our on-line catalog.

You may order other pieces from the full collection for signing in advance of the event by calling Guest Services.  (There’s not a place on-line to ask that the items be held for signing, so you need a human being to handle this properly.)  There is also a collector’s club for fans of Dean’s work, The Leaf & Acorn Club, and members will receive a special gift for attending our event!

Of course, wouldn’t it be the most fun to come and meet Dean in person and pick out a special piece by which to remember this unique occasion?  I think that’s what you need to do, I really do…

 ~Janet @ The Christmas Place




Artist Signing at the Store ~ Mark Roberts

Throughout the year, we have the opportunity to host in the store some of the delightful artists whose work we carry.  For collectors, these are wonderful times to meet their favorite designers and purchase signed works, increasing the value of such pieces and enhancing their enjoyment of a collection.

On Friday, July 18th, we are excited to be hosting Mark Roberts, the designer of a truly unique collection of  whimsically designed and intricately detailed Santas, Fairies, and Elves.  He will be in the store from 4 to 7 p.m.  Mark will be making a special introduction during this visit of his “Fairy of Miracles,” sales of which will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, one of the recipients of Mark’s charitable donations in 2008 and 2009.

We are currently pre-selling his items in the store and online, and will hold them for signing and pick-up or shipment to customers after July 18th.  You can see his product line here in the store and in our on-line store.

A couple of other elves, from among the many styles we offer:

Come join us on Friday the 19th to meet Mark and view the collection through the eyes of the designer!  Take advantage of the pre-purchase for signing offer, too.  We’ve just received a new 2008 collection of fairies and elves that are the cutest yet.

 ~Janet @ The Christmas Place