Christmas Lights

As we are preparing to install new Christmas lights for Winterfest 2016, we thought a look back at 2015 might be fun!  Wow, thousands of lights adorning every tree and shrub at the store and hotel – it took many thousand man-hours to put everything up .. but we think it was worth it.

The Incredible Christmas Place

 

The Inn at Christmas Place

 

Most of the lights we used are available for purchase at the store, or online at www.christmasplace.com.

The 27th annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest celebration starts with an official lighting ceremony in Patriot Park on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.  The light displays placed throughout the city will be illuminated at dark; for those who haven’t been before, it’s a beautiful display of lighted Christmas characters lights lining the parkway.  The light show actually begins in Sevierville (lighting on Monday night) and continues all the way to Gatlinburg (lighting on Wednesday night), a wonderful driving trip to make on an early winter’s evening – with a big thermos of hot chocolate to fuel the journey, of course.  The lights will remain on through February 28th, 2017, so you have lots of time to plan a visit to the area.

First comes fall, then comes Winterfest .. and finally it will be time for Christmas!  It’s only 96 days away – that’s 13 Saturdays to go.  Yippee!

Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

Quick & Easy – Easter Chicks!

Easter is upon us, and guests at The Inn at Christmas Place on Saturday will be treated to cookie decorating before the 5th annual egg hunt on the lawn.  Here’s a sneak peek at the cute cookies guests will be decorating (and eating, of course):

Pilsbury Bunny Butt Cookies

Hmmm.  Something must have slipped when I cropped that last picture.  Guess you’ll just have to come and be our guest this Easter to see the rest of that cookie story.

Anywho, on the way to deciding on the cute cookie idea, Kristy came across another, equally cute idea – it just takes a little bit longer to create, so we suggest you try this at home.

Easter chicks

The basic idea is shared on the site Sweet Simple Stuff, and it’s pretty easy.  You need (emphasis provided by Kristy):

  • FLAT candy sticks or coffee stir sticks – round ones are just trouble, nothing but trouble
  • Nabisco® Nutter Butter cookies
  • Yellow candy melts
  • Reese’s Pieces®
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Orange Tic-Tacs®
  • Parchment or waxed paper

Melt the candy.  If you have the patience, you can split the Nutter Butters open and add a dab of melted candy in the middle to secure your flat stick; or, you can just insert the stick between the layers and go on.  You’ll get better results if you use a spoon or spatula to coat the cookie with yellow candy – dipping can lead to an unfortunate and messy loss-of-cookie situation.  While your candy coating is still good and melty, place two chocolate chips for eyes, a Tic-Tac for the nose, and two orange Reese’s Pieces for the feet.  To complete your chick, add a yellow Reese’s Piece on each side of the cookie to make wings (not pictured here, you can see them on the site if you use the link above).  Cool on your food-safe paper of choice.  Place on the BREAKFAST TABLE (my emphasis), and quickly devour eat .  (I have been told it’s not polite to devour at the breakfast table.)  (I didn’t have a whole bag of Reese’s Pieces to use for my display picture .. but I did quickly devour the samples, not at breakfast.)

Don’t you just love using The Google to look for all kinds of fun and easy ideas to brighten your holiday table?  Hope you’re planning some fabulous treats for your Easter weekend!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Up next, pictures from our pop-up Spring Shop at the store – Christmas first, but we have to get past spring (and summer and fall) to get there, don’t we?!

Two for Tuesday

As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts turn to romance, and to romantic spots on the planet.  Spots like Paris – I haven’t been since I was quite young, but I hear it’s aging well! I noticed this distressed-look fabric ribbon printed with iconic French images and text, and found a glittering Eiffel Tower with which to pair it.  I’m also intrigued by the chocolate brown spruce I used in this photo.  It’s such an unusual – but gorgeous – color choice for Christmas!  Pair it with a white tree and either pink or blue – yummy color palette for a tree. Eiffel Tower & Ribbon My second Tuesday find is – here I go with chocolate again – a rich, brown glittering poinsettia.  I just realized my theme – I must be anticipating Valentine chocolates coming my way!  This could be a problem on the calorie frontier .. maybe I’ll just stick to a little eye-candy instead.  (No fudge for me.  No truffles for me.  No M&Ms for me.  I can do it.  I can do it.) Brown poinsettia What’s on your schedule for romance this February – Paris or chocolate?  Or both?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  For a truly romantic holiday, book a get-away for two at The Inn at Christmas Place – pick your package, with choices including a gift basket, arranged roses, and more.  Why not add some chocolate-dipped strawberries from Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, or a gourmet Valentines apple to share?  We have a lot of ways to help you celebrate!

Choc strawberries

Elves Behind the Scenes: Picnic Time!

If you’ve been to the store or the hotel, you surely know how hard the elves work every day to make everything special for you.  Each August, our “owners & outlaws” (as we call them) host the elves at a pre-season kick-off picnic – it’s one of our favorite days – after Christmas, of course.  Our Elf on the Shelf, Chrissy, sent out the invitations a few weeks ago.

What other tent color would Santa have but red and white?

The food was a special treat – Chef Manolo Diaz flew in from Puerto Rico to cook for us – and who else but a chef would fly in with a GIANORMOUS paella pan – big enough to feed everyone at the North Pole.  Finally, we can answer that nagging question that so often wakes you up in the middle of the night.  Just how big a pan do I need to cook a meal for 200 elves all at one time?

THIS BIG!

How many airplane seats do you suppose that thing took??

Also hiding underneath all the *shiny* foil (you know I love shiny!) was tender, garlic-marinated pork.

Even the most responsible elf sometimes can’t resist a quick sampling before dinner gets to the table….

It’s the owners and outlaws turn to serve the elves, and we get to thank them for all they do for us throughout the year.

Chrissy loved the red peppers and green olives in the Christmas – make that chicken – paella.

Now here’s how you really dig in, elf-style!  Go for it!

Ho, hum. No milk bone treats for me? Sorry, Latina, hopefully we’ll remember next year.

Can’t have pork and paella without brownies. BIG brownies. PLENTY of BIG brownies.

Because, BROWNIES.  (Oh, Chrissy.)

Chrissy encouraged the elves to share a little instant praise with each other, too, for the great teamwork that keeps us all on the mark each day.

It’s a great time for the elves from both sides of the parkway to relax together and enjoy conversation over a good meal.

More dessert, Chrissy? Can we teach you about the elf way of sharing, dear?

Now it’s time to get down to the good stuff – to finish decorating all our Christmas trees, throw a bunch of new lights up on the roof, fill the racks with new ornaments and gifts and goodies, and keep singing loud for all to hear – so you’ll all join in the Christmas cheer! We’re sure looking forward to seeing you at the store between now and Christmas.

~Janet @ Christmas Place

P.S. If a trip to Tennessee is not in your stocking, just join us at www.christmasplace.com – we’ll be adding new goodies every day until Christmas.

Over at The Inn…

It really is the most wonderful time of the year for the Inn at Christmas Place!

Red and green are the colors of the season for us, and just take a look at how beautifully they invite you to come and warm your hands and hearts around our fireplaces.  We’ll start out on the corner first, though, with a choir leading off with Christmas tunes .. don’t they make you want to sing along?

The cloudy day has not dampened their enthusiasm!  Round the corner, and flanking rows of green candy canes, twinkling with lights and brightened with red-and-green bows, lead the way from the parking lot.

Richly-garlanded in red and green, our front doors are guarded by toy soldiers in sentry boxes.

Come in, take a seat by the fire, warm your hands and feet on a chilly afternoon!

Our lobby tree is dripping in more reds and greens – a magnificent sight!

Take a closer look at some of the ribbons and ornaments.

And of course, there must be sparkling presents around, calling the curious to wonder what treasures wait to be unwrapped on Christmas morning…

When you’re ready to venture down to the lower lobby, Santa will be waiting for you, high in the tree, reviewing letters from boys and girls around the world!

If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll be visiting one night when we’re blanketed with snow.

We’ll keep the lights glowing and the cookies warm for you!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

How do you take your coffee?

You may remember that I am an NPR junkie – and this week, my reward was a segment from Coffee Week coverage.  They’ve run a fascinating series exploring everything from the discovery of coffee to its spread throughout the world, but Wednesday really caught my attention.  The publisher of a San Diego newspaper for area coffee houses tells how a simple observation and a cup of coffee saved a man’s life.  Find the whole story here.

Coffee Lover Christmas ornament like Starbucks emblem but with reindeer in circle, coffee beans around the base. May be personalized.I recommend you put in some ear buds and listen to the conversation – it’s worth a couple of minutes of your time.

Here’s a funny ornament for the coffee lover in your life – ready to be personalized!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Have you tried the White Christmas Blend we use at The Inn at Christmas Place?  I hear it’s smooth– and addicting!

December is fast approaching!

Are you looking for a special place to help bring on the spirit of Christmas in December?  Here’s what our guests will be getting up to all month long at The Inn at Christmas Place.

There’s something for everyone – and remember, if you just want a relaxing night in, you can pick up a family-friendly movie at the front desk to watch in your room.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  We’ll even make a reservation for Christmas dinner for you at The Partridge & Pear Restaurant!

(Click twice on the poster and you’ll be able to read all the details.)

Father’s Day Garden Party Time!

It’s time for our annual Father’s Day Garden Party at Christmas Place!  We’re adding some fun to your Christmas Place visit with activities for kids & adults on Saturday, and a treat for Dads on Sunday.

Making a card for Dad requires plenty of resources & lots of concentration.

Here’s a schedule:

  • Face Painting, 10 am to 5 pm (either in the breezeway, or in Personalizing if it’s too hot) (Saturday only)
  • Cookie Decorating, Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm (Saturday only)
  • Hourly Instant Winner Prize Drawing, 11 am to 5 pm – At the top of each hour, we’ll start a brand new drawing – all the entry forms from the last hour disappear – and you must be present to win, because it is an instant winner thing.  That’s why we named it the Hourly Instant Winner Prize. (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Guess the Lights – yes, we re-lit the big tree by the staircase, so you can enter your guess on Saturday or Sunday.  We’ll find out the winner of a $50 shopping spree next week – we have to look at every entry on this one to find out who guessed the right number!
  • Make a Father’s Day Card – kids (and dads!) love this one – 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday only
  • Flower beds – we’ll have an updated list of all the beautiful plants in our beds throughout the courtyard; pick up a list by the front doors, just inside Personalizing, and at Second Nature, Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, or The Boutique.
  • Make a Wreath demonstration, in the Floral Department, 11:30 am and 3 pm (Saturday only).  At the end of the demonstration, we’ll give away the item we make.
  • Decorate a Mesh Box demonstration, in the Floral Department, 1 pm and 4 pm (Saturday only).  At the end of the demonstration, we’ll give away the item we make.
  • SUNDAY – Dads get a coupon for a free soft drink and cookie at Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen – ’cause we love our sweet Dads!

    Trying to hold very still …. So hard …..

Also, as a special treat this year, Rudolf will be visiting us on Saturday!  The kids love to meet Rudolf and give him a big hug, so be sure to have your camera ready for all the cuteness going on.  Santa’s newest elf, Peppermint, will be here on Sunday to entertain the kids, too.

Now, when you bring Dad for his treat on Sunday, why not also bring him for lunch at The Partridge & Pear Restaurant, where the special just for Dad will be a 12-oz Prime Rib, soup or salad, and mashed potatoes & green beans – all for only $10.99 – when one of you also buys another entree.  And, Chef has decided to give Dad a free dessert on Sunday, too!  (Maybe Dad will offer to share his cookie with you, since he’s getting a free dessert as well.)

Sure hope you get to join us for the fun this Saturday & Sunday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. I hear the pool at The Inn is the perfect spot to be on a hot summer afternoon…..

“Mr. Dickens is Coming!”

For one day only! – Monday, September 24th, two performances – Mr. Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, will be performing Mr. Dickens is Coming!, “a light-hearted and varied look at the life and character of Charles Dickens, at The Inn at Christmas Place.  Gerald uses scenes from the great author’s works, diary extracts and observations from those who knew and worked with him. With its fresh and modern perspective, Mr Dickens is Coming has always proved a popular show.”

Gerald has worked as an actor, director and producer for many years.  In 1993 he created his first one-man show, a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol inspired by Charles’ own energetic readings of the 1860s.  Our audiences (including me!) have been thrilled by his performances at the hotel in the past two years.  (He’ll be back November 11th & 12th to perform it for us again this year.)  He has an amazing way of bringing each character to life through facial expression, vocal inflexion, and physical mannerisms, all while wearing the same costume.

A fascination with the life and works of his subject led Gerald to write and direct further one-man shows including Mr. Dickens is Coming!, Nicholas Nickleby and Sketches by Boz. He regularly performs in major theatres and arts centers as well as at hotels and stately homes. He has appeared at several arts and literary festivals in the UK and has been entertaining cruise ship passengers worldwide since 2007.

Gerald enjoys introducing the works of Charles Dickens to children and young adults, and has taken workshops and performances into schools, colleges and universities both in the UK and the USA.  We have been thrilled to have him at our hotel!

We invited him for an extra visit this year as the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.  We have put together a special package for hotel guests that includes a 1- or 2-night stay, dinner at The Partridge & Pear Restaurant, and tickets to the show.  Click here to book your stay and show time (performances at 3 pm and 8 pm, with a brief time of greeting guests after each show).

We’re very excited to be bringing this second show to our guests, and know you will not be disappointed.  I was really blown away by his skill and style when I first saw him perform, and you will be, too!

~ Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Sorry about the slang, there, but I really can’t think of a better way to say it than “blown away!”  He was awesome!

Do you drive electric? Then you should stay with us!

Several months ago, we installed something pretty cool here at the hotel – two charging stations for electric vehicles!

We’re always looking for opportunities to be a “greener” property.  If you see something green that you think might work for our guests, please drop me a line about it.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place