Move Over, Reindeer – Time for the Elf Games!

The reindeer at the North Pole aren’t the only ones who enjoy games – the elves like to compete, too!

Friday, it was a “Decorate the Tree” contest.  Each elf team was asked to design and decorate using an unique tree theme they dreamed up themselves.

The competition was fierce, as teams had only 5 minutes to select a theme, scour the store for products, and produce the final result.

Our design and display elves did the judging, and here are the results.

Peach, Purple, & White Dream

Winner, Most Effective Color Presentation

Casualty of Battle: Tree Down! Tree Down in Quad 2!

Grand Prize Winner, Overall Design & Designers’ Favorite!

Proving that elves make good team players, everyone has a creative side if they take the time to give it a try, and … you can put a lot of stuff onto a 3′ tree!!

Only 128 sleeps – and 18 Saturdays – until Christmas – and it’s never too late to start trying to be good…

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S.  Don’t miss our August 2014 Sale-on-Sales!  On line or in the store, take an extra 40% off anything with a clearance price ending in 97 cents.  Expires 08/31/2014.

 

Christmas Windows!

We’ve been teasing you with glimpses of the construction phase – now we hope you’ll enjoy seeing the final product.

Betsy & Prissy created a variety of vignettes – there’s a window to inspire everyone for the holidays.

In the toy store window, an idea you could easily duplicate in your tree – mini airplanes are hanging from an “Ornamotor” light strand plug-in, so they spin!  I wonder if our giant elf is easier to manage than a comparably-sized, real-life elf??

The combined  peppermint and gingerbread window is a sweet favorite, filled with bright colors and tasty decorations.

The Nutcracker window is quite grand, dominated by a regal purple and gold color palette – but there’s room for every color at Christmas! Check out the whimsical star – is that a frog prince on your head, or a nutcracker prince under your feet?  Notice the pair of scrolled brackets used to provide more anchors for decorations – an elegant solution for a tight space.

Sparkling in clear simplicity, the Nativity scene quietly highlights our reason for celebration.

Fast becoming our new favorite, the Christmas Place Home collection has a homespun take on decorating – for any season! Keep watching for more information of this fun new assortment and a tour of our freshest ideas.

Just watch out for mirrors .. there would have been one more photo in this group but for an, ah-hem, “accidental #elfie” of the photographer.

Lots more sunny days to come this summer – come and pick your favorite window, and start dreaming of Christmas – only 153 days (22 Saturdays) until The Big Day!

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S.  I almost forgot – look who’s waiting to greet you at the front door .. what a sweet little character!

Choices can be so hard, you know?

Every day, so many choices.  Coffee, tea?  White socks, red socks?  Banana nut muffin, cranberry orange scone?

Here are just a few of my hard choices…

Do I need a turquoise chair for my big blue vase, or a big blue vase for my turquoise chair?  (Both.)

White trim, black trim, or leopard trim?  (One of each, different occasions.)

Do I need a big, sparkly, mirrored urn or a bigger, sparkly, mirrored urn?  Or a pair?  (Things look better in threes.)

Rustic, burlap snowman or lighted, lantern snowman?  (There is more than one room in the house.)



Here’s a choice over which I did not wrestle – warm, toasty, soft, and pretty!  Turquoise with snowflakes, of course.


And this – a new Natures Winter Wonder Woodland Santa from Jim Shore.  I love the snowy white and soft pastels of this, as well as the cute animals.


I hope your choices are as easy as these!

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S.  Don’t miss our “favorite Christmas photo” giveaway on Intstagram – #christmasplace #christmasinjuly

Oh My Minis!

I have, from childhood, been drawn to miniature things – miniature figurines, miniature tea sets, mini books – I even have a collection of mini, hand-painted water colors picked up along my travels.  So when I found the new, mini fairie collection in the store, I immediately fell in love with these darling little cottages, figures, and accessories.

How I would have loved to arrange the pieces and imagine complicated (and probably somewhat incomprehensible) tales of their comings and goings.  You probably know a youngster who would dream of finding a little fairie under the tree or in a stocking on Christmas morning!  Take a peek at the collection.  (Click two times on any image to see the full-size photo.)

Santa and his village are also represented in miniature.  These pieces could easily become holiday heirlooms to be arranged and rearranged by both grown-ups and children a hundred times, for many Christmases to come.

The tables, chairs, mushrooms and plants, and many other accessories are sold separately, so you can assemble the village that suits your fancy.  They would look so sweet on a bookshelf or tabletop.

Not every fairie is a miniature, though.  Here’s a delicate girl who would add real charm to your home or greenhouse – and she’s wearing a touch of Christmas sparkle.  Everything’s better with a little glitter!


May even your tiniest dreams come true this Christmas – but we hope you’ll be dreaming big, too!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  One more – in pure white, she’s quite the charmer of butterflies.  She kind of reminds me of a famous area resident .. hmmm, of whom am I thinking now?

Three (ish) for Thursday!

I only say (ish) because I can’t use just three pictures – there’s more – and even a video!

We’re putting together a new home décor section in the store, and it’s filled with a mix of country garden and, of course, Christmas goodies.  I immediately fell in love with the AquaFlame flameless, water fountain candles.  They are beautiful and relaxing, especially tucked in among some greenery and lighted flowers.  Here’s a little video that shows them in action.

Fill the wax cylinder with water, and it bubbles up the center making a flame look at the top, and runs back down the interior perimeter of the candle.  It can run on batteries or be plugged in to an outlet, and there’s a convenient, built-in 5-hour timer.

Do you love those distressed signs like I do?  I’m a big fan of the rustic look.  Here are a couple of other signs that caught my eye today.

And #3 – Santa says “USA All The Way!” Yes, he’s excited that the U.S. team has advanced in World Cup soccer from the Group of Death to the elimination round – the team’s still on the nice list for now!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. You do realize that Christmas is officially less than six months away now? I thought you did.

Santa is Good with Technology!

The only thing missing is a red hat with white fur trim, right?!

The next time you come to the store, here’s one more reason to check out Department 56 – look for the iPad, and find the latest information about products, video design tips, and store opportunities.  This is the first of several tablets we plan to use throughout the store to give you the opportunity to learn more about all your favorite collectibles.

We’ve designed it to be extremely user-friendly!  Although it won’t bring you a cup of coffee or rub your feet, it does have only four buttons to push – well, screen-touches – to get right to the information you want to see.

Here in Dept. 56, we offer a quick overview of each village collection – you may not have realized just how many there are, and we’ll tell you why each is unique.

One of the favorite links is to our Designer Tips – and we plan to add lots more tips during the year.  (You can also find these at our website Designer Tips link and on our YouTube channel.)

You get to choose which video you want to watch – or, feel free to watch them all!

You can also sign up to receive e-mails from Christmas Place – and you can choose what messages you want to receive from us – general store information, notice of promotions and sales, information about your favorite collectible items, etc.  We will never sell your e-mail address to any other entity, so you can be confident you won’t be receiving anything from us that you haven’t requested.  You can also ask us to remove your e-mail from the list at any time.

Lastly, you can sign up for our Christmas Rewards program – the more you shop, the more rewards you receive!  You can also receive rewards when you shop online, no minimum purchase is required, and every qualified order adds to your rewards balance.

Santa is very happy that we are now able to offer you so much more information on demand – I think I heard him exclaim that everyone who uses the iPad to look up information is automatically on the nice list this year!  ;)

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

As Seen at Christmas Place!

It’s great to be back on the blog again!  We had some technical difficulties over the winter, but we’ve taken care of all that, and I’m looking forward to catching you up with what’s been happening here at Christmas Place and in our little corner of the state – where spring has definitely and finally sprung.

I am going to start with my favorite – photo sharing – here’s my “as seen at Christmas Place” album of the week.  Guess who has just come in from the North Pole to get these Christmas Place elves back into shape for the season?


Well, now that we’ve got the really important stuff out of the way…here’s some fun stuff – just a random collection of items and departments that caught my eye as I strolled through, looking at what’s changing this year.  We have a brand new look in personalizing – what, you can’t tell this is personalizing??  Wait until you see it again next week – we’re so excited with our red floor, and there’s a brand new counter on the way.

 

  These beautiful butterfly coasters I discovered on sale in Santaland.  We also started a sale today in the breezeway – 40% off the lowest price – lots of great bargains there.

Elf Joyce offered to show off the new spring collection of patterns from Vera Bradley – did you know we carry the best selection in East Tennessee?  (shhhhh….right now, all the discontinued items and patterns are on sale for 40% off – don’t tell your friends until you’ve had a chance to check the selection yourself….)

The new summer colors are here too:

My favorite monkey bag (which I’ve shown here before) has shown up with this cute-cute-cute little fox this year – and look at the extremely stylish horse head version below.  So cool.

Fall has always been such a popular theme for us that we decided to add a year-round fall corner – you’ll be inspired to plan ahead when you find this niche in Santaland.

I can’t help but love the creativity of this last image – an old, distressed frame with fall finery attached – including those brilliant little mice! – beautifully highlighting a gorgeous fall wreath.

We’d love to find out what you’ve been doing since last Christmas.  Can you believe, we’re already almost a third of the way through 2014?  Is it time to start a shopping list for next Christmas?

The sun is shining on our corner of heaven this weekend – I hope you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend, too!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the big, important questions in life: do we add nuts, yes or no?

Sunday, June 16: National Fudge Day

As the celebration is fast approaching, I feel the need to ponder this big life question:  nuts, yes or no?  I am firmly in the “NO NUTS” camp.  I like my confections smooth and creamy.  There’s no need to confuse my taste buds, while in the midst of savoring the creamy sweet goodness of the perfect blend of sugar and cream and sometimes a touch of caramelized something, with a sudden jolt of rough edges and the slightly-acidic tang of a nut.  None whatsoever.  And I’m not even opening up the discussion of which nuts are more acceptable than others.  IMHO, all nuts should be banned from all fudge, henceforth and forever more.  Not that I’ve really given it that much thought over the years.  I have simply never enjoyed a piece of fudge with a nut component.  Ever.

Now please enjoy a few pictures of Mrs. Claus’ fresh fudge, in anticipation of an exciting announcement about a fudge giveaway!

Bear Butter Fudge from Mrs. Claus' Candy Kitchen
Our famous Bear Butter Fudge – chocolate fudge with real peanut butter on top, swirled with a touch of white chocolate.
Tiger Butter Fudge from Mrs. Claus' Candy Kitchen

 Tiger Butter Fudge, vanilla fudge layered with real peanut butter and topped with peanut butter and chocolate swirl.

 Hurshel’s Kiss – chocolate fudge layered with vanilla stuffed with nuts and miniature chocolate chips – our homage to one of our founders, who always had Hershey’s Kisses in his pockets!

 Watermelon!  Layers of green, white, and pink fudge sprinkled with chocolate ‘seeds’ on top.  No kidding, I sampled this one, and it tasted very like a Jolly Rancher Watermelon candy – as agreed between me and a random guest who happened to be at the counter with me and was game for a sampling, too.

 Pralines & Cream Fudge – layers of vanilla fudge sandwiching a layer of caramel & nuts, with a caramel swirl on top.

(As always, click the picture twice to see the photo full size.)  Have you had enough yet?

Fudge Giveaway!

The first 25 customers in Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen this Sunday, June 16th, will win a free pound of fudge!  The store opens at 9:00 a.m.  All you have to do is come in.  One winner per household, please.  We’ll have the fudge packaged and ready to hand over to you.  Everyone’s on vacation, so we don’t care if you have it for breakfast, no judging going on, it is yours to enjoy as you wish.

Sound easy?  And delicious?  Remember, vacation calories don’t count.

We’ll have a little treat for dads, too, since their special day happens to fall on National Fudge Day this year.  Children are invited to make a Father’s Day card from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the courtyard – don’t you think a hand-made card is much more memorable?

Come see us for a really sweet time this Sunday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  We ship our fudge from September to April, but it’s too warm in the summer time, sorry…

From the Camera Roll

I know, most cameras that we use day-to-day no longer have “rolls” in them .. from the card .. just doesn’t sound right!  But here’s the thing .. I take and receive pictures all the time, but then so often run out of time to post them while I’m thinking about them.  So here is a collection of pictures that I WANTED to share from the past month, but didn’t get around to – maybe I should call this a “getting aroundtoit” post.  Either way, I hope you find something to enjoy in these images!

Beginning with .. spring has sprung – in spite of the cold weather, we did manage to have a few days of beauty in time for the annual Dogwood Festival in Knoxville.

Dogwood tree with white blooms

Dogwood closeup of single bloom
Branch of tree with many dogwood blooms

Dogwood tree branch

I love seeing the deep red color on the underside of the petals.

Pink crabapple tree in bloom

I don’t know whether this is a cherry or an apple – it’s pretty, and it produces small fruit that the birds enjoy.

Azalea bushes and impations

 Bright pink azalea bushes in bloom

Brilliant pink azaleas in full bloom – a glorious song of spring!

White picket fence with red maple and Norfolk pine

 We just loved this white picket fence surrounding a tidy little garden!

Pink dogwood tree

 Most of our pink dogwood trees were pale this year.

 And now for something entirely different .. a chalk drawing by our personalizing artist, A.J.  What would we do without all the talent we have around here??  We sure don’t want to find out.

Chalk drawing on black of winter scene with Rudolph & Clarice.

 And some pretty new things I saw in the gift gallery:

Raggedy Andy doll and ceramic items: reindeer bowl, Christmas tree tray, Snowman tea pot, Santa plate, Christmas measuring spoon set

 Santa cookie jar

 Set of three pedestal with glass dome treet displays

Fabric Doll angels, ceramic Christmas plate

And now I take you to a new clothing collection for real little girls.  You’ll find these delightful outfits in The Boutique.

Sunny yellow girls dress with white daisy-embroidered over-dress

Who’s going to make a splash at the beach this summer??

Layers of peach tulle on an orange-and-white patterned toddler girl's tank swimsuit.

I believe the #1 with ribbons is an accessory piece, and comes in other numbers as well.

And for the littlest princess, flower-accented booties for spring!

Pink & white booties with rose and blue flowers and ribbon ties

An update on construction:  The walls are up and painted, and next we’ll be adding transom windows.

Last but not least .. the bunny is back!  Only one this year, but he/she looks pretty happy to be out and about.

dandelions

These wildflowers start out yellow, then shoot up on stalks and turn white, and then blow away.  They’re just so pretty in the late afternoon sun, aren’t they?

Well, I think that’s about it for my random photo collection today – whew, I’m glad to share all that and get ready for the next group!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Mother’s Day is this Sunday – watch for a special one-day sale in The Boutique – 10% off all day long.

And, by the way, we moved the clearance area from upstairs to Santaland – so no more climb to check out the sales room.  It’s right outside Rudolf’s Retreat now, much easier for grabbing a last-minute bargain before you check out.

Help Us Discover the Name of Our Elf!

{Update )4/30/2013 – Her name is Chrissy!  Thanks to  Teresa & Gary K, Woodruff, SC, for letting us know what her name is.

{Tune in for further adventures with Chrissy as she has fun playing all over the store while all the other elves are hard at work…

{Thanks to everyone who submitted a picture of their own elf and a name!

We’ve been adopted by our own Elf on the Shelf here at the store – isn’t she cute?  But … we have one problem.   When we asked what her name is, she told us one of you would know!   We really need to add it to her Christmas stocking, so we need you to help us find out just what her name is.

And then we decided that, since you’re helping us out, maybe a little contest for fun – and a prize – would be in order!

Here’s how you can help us learn her name:

1.  Share a picture of your own elf in his or her favorite spot on the planet – maybe around your home from last Christmas, or in the car, on vacation somewhere exotic, or just enjoying dinner around town – if your elf is still in town, you might want to take a new picture – and have yourself in the picture, too.

2.  Send us that picture any way you can -

*E-mail:  Send it to us at santa@christmasplace, put “Name Your Elf” as the subject of your message.
*Facebook:  upload your photo on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/ChristmasPlace.
*Twitter:  tweet your photo to us @ChristmasPlace, and include #nameyourelf.
*
Pinterest:  Pin a photo of your elf to your own board, and include #nameyourelf in the description.

3.  Be sure to include your suggestion for the name of our elf in your message or description.

4.  We’ll pick a winner from among all the suggestions, and the one of you who knows her name will receive -

*The picture of your elf posted as the header on our Facebook page for a week (so you might want to include yourself in the photo!).
*A $25 gift card to spend in the store or online.

You have two weeks to submit your suggestions, and Monday, April 29th, is the last day we will accept pictures for the contest.  We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 1st, and the winning picture will be displayed on our header through Wednesday,  May 8th.

Here is the necessary stuff:  Name suggestions without a picture will be appreciated, but not entered into the contest for prizes.  You can submit more than one picture and name, but please don’t submit the same picture more than one time.  Employees of Christmas Place Properties and their family members are not eligible to win, though we would love to see pictures of your elves!  All the pictures will be kept in a photo album on our Facebook page, so you can come back and enjoy them or share them with your friends.  You understand that your image may be used on a web site, Facebook or other social media site, mailing, design board, and other publicity, at the company’s discretion for promotional purposes.  You release The Incredible Christmas Place and The Inn at Christmas Place, its contractors and its employees from liability for any claims by you or any third party in connection with your participation and the use of your photograph and/or video images for their business uses, including but not limited to print, television, and web uses.  We may publish your picture when we talk about the store or products online, in print, or in any other medium, with no financial compensation to you.  Mom and Dad, we will not use your child’s or children’s full name(s), but we would like to use their first name(s) and geographic location when we announce our winner.  If the winner is under 18 years old, your mom or dad will have to help you spend your prize.

Whew, I’m sorry that has to be so long…

Okay, we’re starting now!  Send us a picture of your elf (and you), and the name you think belongs to our elf!  Good luck!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Do you think she has more than one name? -you know, a before name and a behind name and a between name??  We can’t wait to find out!