Two for Tuesday

Christmas ornaments, how much variety there is at Incredible Christmas Place!  We could never limit ourselves to only traditional colors and styles, that would be no fun for you or for us.  We’re always going to show what’s new, different, and fun for your Christmas tree.

My first favorite today is a [taupe fur poinsettia] with gold glitter balls and a touch of gold glitter on the petals.  (I know, the glitter is a surprise…not.  It’s me.)  It’s mounted on a spring with a clip at the end, so easy to clip into your tree for a subtle sparkle.

Taupe Fur & Glitter Poinsettia

In our never-ending quest to offer every [bird ornament] that was ever conceived by a Christmas designer, here’s a cutie!  [Iced white cardinal], sort of bristle-y but with tail feathers, and such a sweet look.  Warning: he’s just a little bit shed-y on everything.  He’s also on a clip, so you can attach him to the perfect branch with ease and convenience.

Iced Cardinal

Here’s a peak at the tree on which we used that taupe poinsettia, our 2016 Misty Lake theme.  I have more pictures coming, because we have the most beautiful ornaments working on this tree, too, along with that amazing, 4′ strand of 480 lights.  You remember that gorgeous bunny, too – see him right there in the middle?  There’s a deer head at the top, if you can distinguish it.  So much going on with this tree!  Do you like a natural look for your Christmas tree?

2016 Christmas Tree - Misty Lake

Take a moment and find two things to love about your Tuesday, too!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S.  Exciting weekend!  It’s finally here, our [Department 56] artist signing weekend.  Saturday, November 5th, from 2 to 5 p.m., both an artist and a village designer will be here, so come and claim your signed house, and take home some new design ideas for your own 2016 village display.

Two for Tuesday

My two picks of the week (a.k.a. the two picks I made that are on the website.  Y’all, this is so much harder than you might think, because we have 10,000 items on our website but we have 30,000+ items in the store!  You’re just going to have to come and see for yourself; I have so many favorites that you can call to order but haven’t yet been added to www.christmasplace.com.  It can be quite maddening, especially if you love Christmas like I do.):

Christmas Collectors

Even if you aren’t a collector, this gazebo would be a great addition to your holiday decorations.  In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Department 56, they have released a special gazebo for the Dickens Village, Snow Village, and North Pole Village.  This is the [North Pole edition gazebo], with Santa and Mrs. Claus offering a toast to all the residents of the Pole as they celebrate the completion of another successful Christmas Eve delivery.  (They do each have a glass raised in celebration, trust me, it’s just hard (impossible) to get into the photograph.)

Department 56 40th Anniversary North Pole Gazebo - Christmas decoration

Stocking Stuffers

Yes, this is where the line begins to try out for the [Reindeer Games]!  Who can resist these crazy reindeer in their knit sweaters and scarves with over-sized noses and booted feet?  Not Santa!  These fellows would look so cute leaping out of a stocking on Christmas morning…

Whimsical Reindeer - Christmas decoration

It’s 116 days to Christmas.  That’s 17 Saturdays.  Yes, you can officially start to get excited about Christmas, please.  We’re here for you!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Our Labor Day Tent sale starts this Friday – but remember, we’ve moved the tent to a location behind the store, not in the courtyard.  It’s definitely happening, even if can’t see the red-and-white stripes from the parkway.  Come on in and find the bargains you’re looking for to get your holiday decorating underway.

P.P.S.  I almost forgot – National Tailgating Day this Saturday!  For all you North Americans, you know what this means – school colors, a grill, preferably some unhealthy-type food groups.  More to come, but Santa will be tailgating in our courtyard starting at 10 a.m., and the first 500 guests will receive a Santa-autographed football.

Christmas Nativity Sets For Every Decor

Ginger Cottage Nativity Scene

This nativity creche is lit by inserting a bulb on your Christmas tree through a hole in the bottom panel, highlighting the three-dimensional construction of the balsam wood scene.

Christmas is only 141 days away!  (That’s 21 Saturdays, if you’re counting.)  We can tell it’s getting closer here at Christmas Place – all sorts of lovely new Christmas decorations are arriving daily – it’s our favorite time of summer.  Today, a sampling of the many [nativities and Holy Family pieces] available – you’ll find one to compliment almost every decor theme and style.

Olive wood from Israel is used in the construction of this popular collection of hand-crafted creches and ornaments from Bethlehem.  This is one of the largest olive wood scenes; they are also available in smaller sizes, and as ornaments to hang on your tree.

Olive Wood nativity

Our talented floral design team has used a large Holy Family trio as the centerpiece of this grand arrangement.

Custom Floral Tabletop features the Holy Family trio.

One of our newest collections is crafted in Italy.  This magnificent, bejeweled set features rich fabrics, detailed accessories and ornamentation, and delicately-painted figures.  The two angels flanking the grouping are each sold separately.  While the Bible story tells us that only the shepherds visited the baby Jesus in his manger, it is hard to resist depictions that include the three Wise Men, who arrived up to two years after the birth.

Crafted in Italy, nativity set includes Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and three Wise Men.  Angels sold separately.

A more simple, natural style is found in this carved-looking collection of 12 pieces, the largest of which is 18 inches tall.

Carved-look Nativity Set of 9

Celebrating their 40th year in business, Department 56 has just introduced an exclusive anniversary set, The Inn at Bethlehem.  The four pieces will be the highlight of any collector’s display.  We’ve displayed ours with [these palm trees], sold separately.  The other side of the building is equally rich in detail, including the front entrance to the inn.

Department 56 The Inn at Bethlehem set of 4

We also offer a large selection of Holy Family groups, such as this Foundations Holy Family figurine, standing 12 inches tall and delicately hand-painted and subtly adorned with crystals.

Foundations Collection Holy Family Figurine

If your holidays are spent near the beach – or just wishing you were near a beach – consider this figurine – the Holy Family with a driftwood sensibility, highlighted by nautical ropes and sea creatures.

Holy Family Figurine, beach theme

Neither a nativity scene nor a holy family, this show-stopping piece nevertheless highlights the theme of the season, peace among all creatures on earth.  The stone and resin figure stands almost 16 inches tall.

Lion & Lamb Peace on Earth figurine

The peace we love in the store comes early in the morning, when the sun streams through our stained glass window, lighting up the collectibles gallery in a rainbow of colors!

Collectibles gallery

Where available, clicking on the photo above will take you to the specific item on our website; I’ve also linked to our Nativity group and the palm tree accessory.  Items not directly linked (such as the floral arrangement) may be ordered by calling the store at 1-800-445-3396, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. We would love to see a picture of your favorite family nativity – share it on our [Facebook page].

Memorial Weekend Tent Sale

But you can shop all week! The tent is staying up until June 5th, and you have 9 days to save 50% on all kinds of things for your Christmas celebrations – and other items, too. We’re liquidating some home decor and spring flower inventory. Come take a peek – we can’t list everything you’ll find in the tent, there’s just too much.

Charles Viancin silicone storage solutions:

Christmas Place tent sale Memorial week - housewares selection.

Pre-made bows and ribbon sampler collections:

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - ribbon bundles and bows

Lawn decorations – in need of a little loving care, but oh, so fun!

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - Exterior elf and reindeer figures

Lemax and Department 56 lighted houses – and I think I see a cookie jar or two in there, plus a Possible Dreams and a Jim Shore Santa?

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - Lemax and Department 56

Pre-made floral items in glass and metal containers:

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - pre-made floral arrangements

Unassembled floral arrangements (wink wink!):

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - floral stems and arrangements

Unbreakable ornaments and glass decorations:

Christmas Place Memorial week tent sale - unbreakable ornaments, glass Christmas decorations

Just for fun .. look who was on time to work this morning – Ms. Canada Goose with two of her goslings! They love the river behind the store for a morning swim. One of the mamas has 10 babies to herd, I’ve been told – I’m hoping to see her soon.

Canada goose with two goslings

As we always say – shop early for the best selection, and shop often for new sales merchandise being put out each day! Happy first-weekend-of-summer!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. Even if you can’t make it to Pigeon Forge for Memorial Day, you can still order gifts in honor of your military service men and women – check our selection here.

Two for Tuesday (no, really! well, maybe…)

Okay, yes, I know it’s Friday!  Such a busy week with inventory counting of everything in our warehouses and on the sales floor and in my office, working on projects, and going to the elves’ Christmas party.  So I didn’t get my two pictures up on Tuesday.

As a reward for your patience in waiting for a post, I’m sharing “Five for Friday” — but I won’t give the post that title, because then you’ll probably want more.  Again.  Like, next week, and the week after that, and the week after that!  :o  So enjoy this one-week bonus, please.

Let’s start with plenty of glitter – a show-stopper IMHO, the glitter-scape of Santa, trees, and village outline is also lighted with twinkling LEDs that give the layers sparkling definition.  Battery operated, this can easily become a Christmas focal point anywhere you’re feeling bold enough to embrace your inner glitter-fan.

Glitter scape2

It’s the stars of Christmas, Santa and Frosty.  Love the vintage design style, and the over-the-top glittering snow coating this ornament and figurine.

Santa&Frosty

 Give me more!  Here’s a turn to glittering gold for the holidays, with these ivory-colored holly leaves edged and sprinkled in gold glitter with clusters of gold berries on the stem.

Gold-Cream maple leaf

Had enough?  Okay…how about some silly Christmas fun.  We agree ‘staches are in fashion these days – and even Santa has a good one.  Found this darling mug in the Christmas Gallery – there are a couple of other styles in the collection, but they’re not on line, in-store only, call 1-800-445-3396 to order.

Mustache mug

Have you added an ugly sweater to your Christmas tree yet?  Department 56 put together a great collection this year, including Grinch sweaters.  I’m partial to the Christmas tree with the lovely faux-fur cuffs – and I really don’t want to call it ugly, okay?  It’s cute!

Ugly sweaterslr

Just a few of the things I love this week.  I’ll be back on schedule next week.  If you see something on line and would like to see more pictures or see it “in use,” don’t be shy, just ask!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Deconstruction and reconstruction continue at the store – we elves can’t wait to see the final result!

remodeling

Department 56 is Now Under Construction

We’re already wrapping up day three four of our construction adventure, and the results so far are spectacular!

Jill Shlung, a designer who works with Department 56 on their showrooms and other special projects, is in the store through Saturday.  She’s rebuilding our Dickens’ Village and North Pole displays, and giving tips to guests all along the way.  We’re also drawing door prizes every day this week, and our already-reduced Department 56 merchandise is an additional 10% off through this Saturday only.

On Friday night and Saturday, June 6th and 7th, she will give three free seminars to our guests!  Friday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. she’ll talk about “Waterfalls, Tunnels, Caves & More.”  Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon her topic will be “Creating a North Pole Village.”  Also on Saturday, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., she will share “Village Techniques.”   Late breaking update:  due to travel plans, the afternoon seminar will have to be cut a bit short, so come early so we can get plenty of info before Jill has to leave!

Come and learn more about creating displays with your own favorite collectibles.

Here’s a little photo gallery of our progress, from our staff gearing up for a week of construction to Jill’s results through early Thursday afternoon.

You are now entering the construction zone!

Monday morning, Dickens’ Village is nowhere in site.

The elves are appropriately attired for the construction zone in hard hats – but with a little elfin flair, of course!!

Clearance collectibles are ready to fly off the shelves!

And the reconstruction is well under way…start by gathering a few miles of Styrofoam and some knives for cutting, as well as some interesting props – notice the decorative suitcases stacked in the corner, to give height variations to the display.

Add a couple of days of labor, and look what you get – a glowing display of narrow streets lined with houses and people and all the architectural and landscaping details that depict life in Charles Dickens’ time. I happen to really like the streaky, atmospheric light effects on the trees…my colleague says I just need to clean the camera lens.  What does he know.

Take special note of the wreaths back-dropping the village – the clocks in each one are a new addition from Dept. 56 this year – the time on each one is set at 5 to 6, of course.

Later on, we’ll have detailed instructions and photos showing how the sparkling stream and waterfall were created – and I believe Jill will be sharing this technique on Friday night, too.

Now, on to the North Pole.

And a few more miles of Styrofoam.  Hey, who’s that paparazzi photo-bombing my shot??

Jill is always happy to take a moment to describe what she’s doing, so be sure to ask if you have any questions.

We’ll be video taping the seminars to share later, but if you have the chance, we know you’ll enjoy coming in person to watch, learn, and ask questions (and maybe we’ll pick your name for a prize).  If you can’t come, though, feel free to send us your questions via Facebook, Twitter, or even e-mail to santa@christmasplace.com – we’ll be sure to get answers for you!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  You’ll find more pictures of the event on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so check them out – and we’d love to see YOUR pictures, too – just use #MyVillage or #ChristmasPlace – we would like to share them with our community.

P.P.S.  Remember, click twice on a picture to see the full size image.

Snowbabies!

It has been more than 25 years since Kristi Jensen Pierro first revived the Snowbabies collectible with her simple, sweet drawings and bisque figurines for Department 56.  In the tradition of figures dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, she draws inspiration from her own life experiences, photos, and stories expressed through designs reflecting the activities of small children.  Many years later, her designs continue to gain popularity as her themes have kept up with modern society – like “Spa Date” and “Zero Calorie Cupcake” – wouldn’t we love both of those in real life?!  Here are some photos from releases this year.  In addition to updated themes, Snowbabies now frequently come with colorful knit accessories and glittering accents.  The Snowbabies themselves are generally about 3″ to 4″ tall – don’t be fooled by these larger-than-life photographs.

"Flash Drive"

Wedding Snowbabies

Snowbabies celebrate a very classy Christmas!

A Very Deer Pair

SnowDreams - adding a little glitter for the holidays!

Animals are often featured in the Snowbabies collection – especially the polar variety!

This snowman is lit from within for a warm glow on a winter's night.

Snowbabies Baby - we can personalize many of these for a new wee addition to the family!

Snowbabies also come from many popular children’s stories and personalities, such as The Wizard of Oz, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Cinderella,  Winnie the Pooh, Kermit & Miss Piggy, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, and more.

The Tin Man

You will also find Snowbabies around at Easter time with decorated eggs and cute little bunnies.

"Somebunny Special"

Snowbabies are also made in a wide variety of ornaments (many of which we will personalize for you here in the store!).  The glittering shadow box series is new in red this year.

Shadow Box Ornaments

You’ll often find Snowbabies collections on display year round.  Made from porcelain bisque with hand-painted faces and hand-applied detailing, each is meticulously crafted – and very charming!  Those unique “snow crystals” are made by a process of forcing a clay mixture through a series of increasingly fine screens until the right shaving stage is achieved.  Each figure is then painted with a bisque slip and the shavings are carefully applied in the proper areas.
The variety of styles in both figurines and ornaments, including many angel-themed pieces, make Snowbabies a wonderful gift for so many occasions – new baby, girlfriend fun, family events, and, of course, at Christmas.  There are also several varieties of accessory trees in colors to compliment the Snowbabies series.  Take a closer look at these delightful babies and their friends – you just might meet a new friend yourself!
Keep it snowy!
~Janet @ The Christmas Place
P.S.  Don’t forget our Department 56 artist signing on Saturday, November 2nd, with Scott Enter.  Although he designs primarily for the village collection, as a representative of Department 56’s creative team, he will sign Snowbabies on request.  Details will be posted on our Event Calendar next week.

So Many Pictures, So Little Time!

Just about every week, our Department 56 elves are reporting the fun of helping families begin new Department 56 collections.  Parents are encouraging their kids to each select a village to collect – and with eight official “villages”, collections within villages, Winters Frost, and classic brands like Mickey’s Christmas, A Christmas Story, Peanuts, The Grinch, and the newest – Christmas Vacation and The Simpsons – there is quite a lot from which to choose… and I could go on.

Here are some of the beautiful collection photos taken by Department 56 for their 2013 releases – many of these houses and accessories are already here in the store, and the pieces that won’t be delivered till after September are available to order now.  You can even order from our online store and tell us to hold them for the artist signing on November 2nd – we added this new feature to the site just last month.  (More about the signing down below.)

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Yes, I still own a strand of those big, super-hot Christmas bulbs!  And in homage to that infamous trip to pick out the tree….

Snow Village Harley Davidson - new Roadside Cabins

Coca-Cola Collection - love that classic Santa Claus!

This spectacular model of the famous Chrysler Building in New York City is one of the largest pieces Department 56 has ever made, at over 22″ tall.  Featuring chrome plating on the top spire and both interior and exterior LED lighting, you’ll keep this one on display year round.  The Chrysler Building, completed after a competitive race to build skyscrapers in 1930, still stands today as the world’s tallest brick building.

The Chrysler Building, Christmas In The City - staged on a mirror for added drama - ingenious.

 From the New England Village, The Dirty Owl tavern is wonderfully detailed and colorful, with a very warm glow about it.

New England Village

Dickens Village - love the blue pebble stream!

 There’s an ever-so-slightly-haunting subseries to the New England Village called “Salem Willows,” depicting some of the history of Salem, Massachusetts.  I kinda like these spooky-ish houses.

New England Gables

My favorite is next – this glittering collection is the easiest to display, as trees and accessories are all mounted together on one base – just plug in and enjoy.

Winters Frost - enough glitter to keep me happy!

What about the more whimsical collections, you ask?  North Pole Village has some of the cutest little pieces this year!

North Pole Village

Grinch Village

Disney Village

Don’t forget one of the most enduring classics of Christmas – Rudolph!

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer - with Rudolph, Clarice, Sam, Bumble, Santa - but wait, where's Yukon Cornelius?!

And one of the more recent classics…

A Christmas Story - we have that lamp .. with a red shade!

Now, back to our fall artist signing event – on Saturday, November 2nd, designer Scott Enter will be here at Christmas Place from 12:30 until 3:00 p.m. to sign the houses that you purchase – and a few Snowbabies, if you like.  Scott is the creative force behind The Original Snow Village and many other pieces.  We will have so many pieces for him to sign that weekend that we must limit him to houses, not the smaller accessories (like people).  It’s always fun to talk with the designer about his inspiration and vision for the villages, and to swap ideas with other collectors as well.  You will also want to enter our drawings for door prizes each hour.

On both Saturday and Sunday, November 2nd and 3rd, we’ll host our annual Secondary Market Sale in the courtyard.  This is where collectors rent tables and sell retired pieces from their own collections – and it’s a great opportunity to hunt for those elusive pieces that will complete your own collection.  You collectors know how much fun it is to get together with those who share your interest in these beautiful lighted houses – and perhaps pick up some new display tips along the way.

If you would like to rent a table for the weekend, please contact Teresa Hughes at 1-800-445-3396, extension 148.  She has all the details about the Secondary Market sale.

So circle the first weekend in November as an important date to visit Christmas Place!  If an in-person visit is not possible, then shop on-line with us and you can still have your houses signed.  You can also give us a call at 1-800-445-3396; our Guest Services team would be happy to help you with a mail order.

Building a family collection and working together to set up a holiday (or year-round) display of your favorite pieces is a rewarding way to spend time forming those family traditions that will be treasured for a lifetime and beyond.  These beautiful houses are definitely to be shared from each generation to the next, and can be the foundation for many of your most treasured holiday memories.

Happy collecting!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Tomorrow – the Halloween collection!

Animated Specials from Department 56

Animated Toy Stores

Long-time Department 56 collectors will be expecting to see special gift sets in the mid-year collection, but they’ve done something different this year.  Instead of sets, they are offering the cutest animated toy stores for three villages – Snow Village, Dickens Village, and North Pole Village.

“Toy Town Toys” in The Original Snow Village is brightly-lit, and animated with a rotating miniature Christmas tree visible through the shop’s windows.

“Tegan’s Toy Shoppe” in Dickens Village has a rotating display of Victorian toys suspended from a tower in front of the store.

The colorful North Pole Village addition, “Jolly Fellow Toy Company,” shows its wares on a rotating carousel visible through the shop’s brightly-lit windows.

Christmas In The City

The most striking building Department 56 has introduced to date, in our humble opinion, is the over 22″ tall Chrysler Building, a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture.  This reproduction is highlighted with chrome plating, and LED interior lighting and exterior spotlights enhance the building’s famous terraced spire – a very glamorous look, this would be grand as a stand-alone piece!  Before completion of the real structure in May 1930, the spire was secretly added by pushing it up from the inside – a bid to win the race to build New York City’s tallest skyscraper.  It held onto this status until the completion of the Empire State Building a year later.  It still stands as the world’s tallest brick building.  (Figures shown in the picture are sold separately.)

 New!  “The Simpsons” Collection

Fans of the longest-running adult animated sitcom will be delighted to find Homer and family hanging out with Department 56 this year – just in time for their 25th anniversary in 2014!

Snow Village Halloween

The Halloween village collection is one of the most popular lines for Department 56, and with so many colorful, creative, and ghoulishly-whimsical pieces, it’s easy to understand the appeal.  “Jack and His Lanterns” is the latest car added to the Haunted Rails series, powered by being attached to the engine.

Nov. 2nd Dept 56 Artist Store Visit

The best thing is that you can pre-order any of these buildings, and we will hold them for you until our November 2nd signing with designer Scott Enter, and ship them after the event!  Signed houses have a much higher value over time.  (We do not offer signing of accessory items such as the people pictured here.)  Of course, if you’re in the area, we want you to come to the store and meet Scott in person – he enjoys talking with collectors about the pieces and displays that most excite them.  We add to the fun with hourly door prizes and our annual weekend Secondary Market Sale in the courtyard, where other collectors sell retired pieces from their own collections.

There’s a lot going on in Department 56, and we are enjoying helping many families start their own collections, a tradition that will be passed down through the generations and make each Christmas (or Halloween) a more memorable time.  Come see what’s happening, and get in on the excitement!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  We’ll be adding artist signings to our calendar soon, so check the “Visit Us – Event Calendar Page” for information.

Behind the … workshop walls! (Part 1)

Do you sometimes wonder what goes on around Christmas Place when you’re not here?  How do we elves spend our long winter days while Santa is away at the North Pole, or maybe the South Pole (or maybe even Florida, we can’t say for sure)?

Why, we do the same things you do in the winter!  We clean and we straighten up.  Check out this pristeen display of personalized family Christmas ornaments, just waiting to be discovered.

Personalizing Department wall with family ornaments on display.

And sometimes we move the furniture around.

Personalizing Department with sun streaming across empty floor space.

And we love to hide stuff from Santa!

Santaland Sports area with no merchandise.

Where has it all gone?  Why, here it is, right over here!

Old Spice wall of collegiate sports gifts.

Our “Old & New Spice” area is getting a new look with the sports department moving in this year.  Of course, we’re heavy on the SEC collection, but we carry other collegiate souvenirs as well.  We just may have your team here.

And sometimes, we even move walls, if we’re really feeling a burst of energy.

Fresh, white wall installed in the Gift Gallery to create a kitchenalia area.

Remember me? I used to be in the Floral Department!

Gift Gallery new wall, with empty shelves in front.

Oh, yes, there are major changes in the works around here .. some of which will just be in place in time for your next visit.  Now where did the village go??

Department 56 Snow Village display with no lighted houses at all, being reworked for the next season.

Here’s a sneak peek at one special area – look at these gorgeous new flower shop displays.

Row of assorted flowers, all dark red in color.

LOVE!  LOVE!  LOVE!  Gorgeous colors, and the profusion of silk flowers and stems look so sharp in their new, shiny black displays.

Assortment of flowers on display.

Assortment of dark gold-toned flowers on display.

Assorted silk flowers on display.

“Yummy” comes to mind – all those delicious spring colors massed together.  It’s still a work in progress, and we cannot wait to see the finished product – bet you can’t, either.

Tune in for our next “behind the workshop walls” report, as the elves continue to play while Santa is away!  He’ll be back five days a week after Memorial Weekend, though you can catch him this Saturday & Sunday at the store.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  We wish the blessings of peace and freedom for all who may be celebrating Easter, Pesach, or any other special commemoration this month.