Ready or not . . .

 . . . . Thanksgiving, the Christmas will be here before you know it.  I’m getting a head start and brought in a few holiday decor things to my booth at Stars this week.  Then tomorrow I deliver to the ‘Every Husband’s Nightmare’ show in Hillsboro.  After that show ends next Saturday, I’ll have even MORE holiday goodies to bring to Stars.

Here’s what I’ve done to start off the season:

P1370188I think my decorating theme for this year is ‘simple elegance’.  Lots of pretty vintage glass baubles in jars and bowls with mini fairy lights give off a truly magical glow!

It’s almost impossible to truly capture the beauty of the little lights in pictures and in the well lit store; but you get the idea.  Some of these arrangements are ‘all inclusive’ pieces, where I have priced the container with the lights and baubles to be sold together as one item.  The rest of them are priced individually so you can just buy what you need.  If you already have the glass baubles and just need the container to put them in, OR if you have the container and just need a few more glass baubles.

SO many different ways to display these holiday lovelies.  Think outside the box and use what you have to place your ornaments in.  Or buy something that will serve multiple purposes.

P1370193This is actually a cupcake stand!  Pretty little boxes with bows always add a festive touch to your decor, and you’ll have a gift box handy if you need one for a last minute gift!

P1370189I’m pretty sure that the white metal stand filled with ornaments was intended for this very purpose.  But you could also use it at Easter to hold your colored eggs.

Milk glass punch and candy bowls look pretty filled with ornaments too!

You can even fill the dome lid of your cake stand with baubles!  It’s a bit of a tricky process and you have to be sure that no one inadvertently takes the lid off ‘to see what will happen’.  A mess.  A mess will happen.  Which is why I didn’t fill the ones in my booth with glass baubles!

I’ve got some awesome vintage crystal snack plates with cups for you holiday entertaining.  And some beautiful silver espresso cups and saucers.

There is never a shortage of Milk Glass dishes or vases in my booth!  The milk glass vases are really pretty with vintage glass baubles on top of them too!

Always a plentiful supply and variety of stoneware dishes too.  Be sure you have all the serving bowls and platters you will need for serving your holiday feast.

P1370208I hate to admit it, but my wall space become more of a depository for ‘all the stuff I can’t fit into my big booth’, as opposed to a theme planned vignette.  A few bits of fall still available in my wall space.

Stop on by and get into the holiday spirit.

Stars is open 7 days a week; 11am – 6pm.

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Retail reality check!

I needed a few craft supplies and some new Christmas lights.  I typically have ‘at least’ 50 strands of lights on hand; but this was the year that nearly ALL of them decided to burn out.  ALL AT ONCE!

I usually try to run little errands like this in the morning on my way to the store.  Just didn’t happen this week.  Michael had his company party to go to on Friday night (and would have his dinner there) so I decided to head out and do a little shopping AFTER work.  BAD idea!!!  I may never go shopping in the evening EVER again!  Especially not during the holiday shopping season!

I grabbed some dinner at McDonald’s, then headed to a craft supply store that begins with “M”.  I really just needed some crochet thread to use to string tags with.  But I like to look at what all they have ‘as long as I am there’ and since I don’t get out that often.

I could not get all the way through one single aisle without hitting an obstacle!  There were piles of product in boxes waiting to be re-stocked blocking the aisles so you could not get a cart through.  Now I understand the need to restock in the retail business and that sometimes you get started on a task and get called away to do something more urgent.  But shouldn’t the PRIORITY (especially this time of year!) be to make your store as ‘shoppable’ as possible???

There were NO employees unpacking these numerous piles of boxes that roadblocked every other aisle.  And on the aisles that weren’t blocked with boxes, there were those huge ladder contraptions in the middle of the aisles.  No getting around those with a cart either.  And it it wasn’t a ladder or a pile of boxes in my way, it was another shopper, their cart poised in the MIDDLE  the aisle, hand on the cart handle and blocking the rest of the aisle by standing as far away from their cart (while still keeping their hand on the handle) as possible.  And when I would politely say “Excuse me” so I could get by, you’d think I’d spewed a string of swear words at them?!?!?!  sigh.

At the check out some lady was having a MAJOR meltdown and wanted EVERYONE in the store to hear about it!  From what I could tell she had brought something to exchange and been told “anyone could help her”.  Then after she waited in line, she was told she had to go to the customer service counter (which is also a cashier) and of course there was a long line there too.  Meltdown woman was the third person back.  After the current customer was done checking out, meltdown woman pushed her way ahead of the next person in line.  The cashier explained that she needed to help ‘the next person in line first’ and meltdown woman SCREAMED, “NO!  You need to help me RIGHT NOW!”  The cashier finally called the manager.

They didn’t have any of the little white lights I was looking for, so reluctantly I headed to “T” which is just a few stores down.  I headed back to the Christmas decor section, this time dodging shopping carts full of product left in the middle of nearly every aisle.  At first I kept thinking ‘why are people abandoning their carts?’; then I realized it was stuff being put back out on the shelves, but again, no one was there putting it back.  The carts were just blocking the aisles.

I managed to reach the Christmas section without too much drama.  But could not get anywhere near the aisle with the lights.  One group of kids had pulled a bunch of ornaments off the rack and were sitting in the middle of the aisle ‘playing with them’.  No parent in sight.  I turned around to go the other way.  At the other end of the aisle a couple of kids were playing with some kind of musical toys.  They had activated a hundred different ones and it was utter chaos!  I really almost asked where their mom was!  Got to the aisle with the lights and there was a family with five kids all spread out; kids playing tag and grabbing stuff off the shelves . . .  and I could not get any where near the lights.  I practically RAN out of there!!!

Seems like I had SO many people in our store in November commenting that they “weren’t ready to think Christmas yet”.  Were they really waiting for THIS kind if shopping atmosphere????  I honestly don’t think I will EVER go shopping in the evening during the holidays EVER again.  If I HAD to do all my shopping in that kind of ‘holiday atmosphere’, I’d seriously just skip Christmas!

sigh.  Well, now I know why I see so many weary faces when they come into OUR store.  And why they are so pleasantly surprised when I offer to ‘gift bag’ their purchase for free, and actually leave out store with a smile on their face.

Good luck out there!

OUR WEBSITE:  www.cscrafts.com/aj.html