Archive for the 'Christmas Jewelry' Category...
Filed under Christmas Jewelry, Seasonal Jewelry
Words only nibble at the edge of the meaning of Christmas spirit, but Christmas accessories ignite the feeling and spread it to others. Christmas scarves are a classic gift that oozes with Christmas spirit. This year, the supply seems to be low, but you have a source and can keep the tradition going of scarves as a classic Christmas gift.
The traditional gift for Dad is ties. For Christmas, ties with a message are even more meaningful. What could have more of a message than Christmas themes that radiate the holiday spirit?
Christmas pins stir feelings of nostalgia with designs in gingerbread men, Christmas carolers, old fashion sleighs, and vintage Santa designs. They have a magnetic quality of drawing customers.
Crystal Necklace Sets
Sparkle that galvanizes attention, crystal necklace sets have raised the bar on beauty in jewelry. Make your customers irresistible for holiday parties and Mardi Gras balls that follow soon after.
Has costume jewelry lost its direction? Apparently so! But we can count on gemstone jewelry that is never out of style for this holiday season. Customers recognize an intrinsic value in gemstone jewelry that delivers the beauty of nature.
Whether its gemstone pendants or any other classic pendant, the basic wire choker is a piece of jewelry needed to show off these works of art. Humble chokers add a hidden treasure in your shop as something customers need, but have great difficulty finding.
Hat Scarf Sets
Hat scarf sets are the practical Christmas gift that lets your customers look good as they keep warm. Pompoms are stylish again this year.
Animal Hats for Kids
Kids love stuffed animals. These animal hats have the same cute look and soft furry texture. There will be no trouble getting them to bundle up with these cute animal hats.
Cubic Zirconia Jewelry
If diamonds are beyond the budget this Christmas, the look and the feeling are still there with cubic zirconia jewelry that looks so real, only a jeweler knows.
Avery practical gift that is rarely found-purse hooks solve the problem of finding a sanitary place to put their purse. The hooks balance on a tabletop with handbags using the hook to remain suspended above the floor.
No matter what the dire news reports, most shoppers still know the meaning of the season.Nativity scenes let them share the meaning.
Sculptured Pewter Writing Pens
For customers digging for rare treasures, these sculptured pewter writing pens provide something they won’t find in any other shop. They come in dozens of themes and designs. Each one comes in a black velvet box with white satin lining.
Filed under Christmas Jewelry
Posted by admin on Thursday, December 18th, 2014
What is the magic of small business gift and accessory stores? In a word, it is surprise. Surprise after surprise makes these small businesses irresistible. Cracker Barrel Restaurants recognized it and must have done an extensive study to capture the intrigue of a quaint cottage shop. One item mesmerizes you with sparkle, the next with nostalgia, then comes practical use, followed by the surprise of reviving something long since forgotten. The surprises never end. It is not the slick look of department stores, but something very homey and comfortable.
Black Friday is upon us followed by Small Business Saturday, but these labels are the invention of Madison Avenue advertising. The reality is the everyday consumers find surprises in small businesses-the most creative people on earth. Let’s review some items that may add to the magic of your shop.
Filed under Christmas Jewelry, Costume Jewelry, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Marketing, Seasonal Jewelry
Posted by admin on Thursday, November 27th, 2014
The Drive of Christmas Giving that the Economy Can’t Stop
Every time we are in a slow economy when the end of the year approaches, economist release their dire predictions for Christmas shopping. But when Christmas on 34th Street starts playing on TV and Silent Night on the radio, hearts melt and everything changes. Se we can never count Christmas out.
Start with some classy Christmas jewelry especially the pendants that double as a pin and have the look of sterling silver. Do you remember the sterling puffy hearts that were once a rage? A stamping process created the puffy hearts from a thin sheet of silver. They were hollow inside, creating lightweight pieces that were nice size.
The rising price of sterling hindered development of new designs. But an innovative manufacturer picked up the idea using the same process with thin sheets of steel to produce jewelry that looked identical to sterling. The line is mainly pendants and earrings. Most of the pendants have a pin back letting them double as pins. Some of the very classy Christmas jewelry is part of this line.
The Christmas pendants and earrings provide the expensive look of sterling silver in more affordable fashion jewelry. Add some chokers from the choker selection so your customers have an attractive way to wear the pendants. The Christmas pendants have a classy and expensive look for your customers to wear, but they also make a meaningful Christmas gift with the valuable look of sterling silver.
Next Newsletter: What is Hot for the Holidays
The next newsletter will explore all the new items for the Holiday stretch. Your success concerns us. Looking back over the year, the economists’ predictions for consumer buying have missed the target most of the year. The coming upturn has not happened. We are working hard to find the items that will make it happen for you. That is what our next newsletter is about.
Filed under Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry, Fleur-de-lis Jewelry
Posted by admin on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Fashion Items Consumers Can’t Live Without
The fashion items people can’t live without go by many names including impulse items. With fleur-de-lis being a hot item in Louisiana, these rhinestud ball caps caught on immediately. The hats have pizzazz and go straight to the heart of those captivated by the fleur-de-lis.
These are the kind of products we need to fit the just-got-to-have category. For women going to formal events, the got-to-have item can be breath-taking crystal jewelry. For church ladies it can be a stunning dress hat. The products in this category have to have an irresistible attraction shoppers just can’t live without out.
What items does your customer base find irresistible. These are the items you need at least a modest selection of in your shop. Irresistible beauty trumps cheap price for shoppers.
Filed under Brooches, Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Seasonal Jewelry
Posted by admin on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
CONSUMERS TRUST SMALL BUSINESS FOR HOLIDAY & FORMAL JEWELRY
Did you notice the emphasis this year on supporting small business in Christmas shopping? Conventional wisdom says this is smart because small business is the backbone of the American economy. But how much does putting out the message help the Christmas season for small fashion businesses, especially when they are always competing with big box companies?
A far more effective way to draw consumers to small business is offering the fashion accessories that shoppers trust small retailers for far more than they trust the majors. We discovered 12 categories that do just that and covered the first nine in the last two blogs. Now let’s look at the last three, which are in the holiday or the formal jewelry and accessories area.
10) HOLIDAY JEWELRY—RHINESTONE SETS
Restaurants, clubs, and ballrooms offer special dining and entertainment every New Year’s Eve. This gives couples the opportunity to dress up and enjoy a romantic evening out. Women go shopping for the knockout apparel that will turn heads that night and plenty of retailers will be competing for the sales. But accessorizing the dresses is left mainly to small business because they have the abundant options to make the perfect match for the outfit.
Rhinestone necklace sets will be high on the shopping list for these consumers. Nothing seems more traditional than rhinestone for New Year’s Eve, but most major retailers have a very limited selection. It’s small business that has showcases of options because they specialize in the glitzy look all year. Yes, when New Year’s Eve is gone for another year, small business will have the glamorous jewelry for proms, bridal, pageant, and balls while the majors are changing their showcases to a casual look.
Small retailers offer the traditional looks that many women are comfortable with as well as the edgy designs that are rising in fashion. This season look for the glamorous looks in rhinestone that you would expect in the diamond jewels of royalty. Designs fit for a queen, grace the neck with lavish crystals surrounded by smaller rhinestones. This tasteful extravagance is the ballroom look for this New Years Eve.
When we think of rhinestone jewelry, sets crafted from rhinestone chain come to mind. This look actually never existed before World War II because the machine to produce the rhinestone chain hadn’t been invented yet. Before that, rhinestone jewelry was limited to handset stones that we call crystal jewelry today. And these crystal sets are back in a big way because of the fashion trend of statement necklaces. This has carried over into formal jewelry and crystal necklace sets deliver with larger stones and bold statements.
With bracelets so big in trends, we can’t overlook crystal bracelets that add a glamorous accessory to the wrist. Crystals again provide bold, sparkling designs that will stand out for holiday wear—everything from bracelets inspired by Art Deco to the gorgeous look of The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry. This really adds excitement to a New Year’s Eve ensemble and where do you find it—at the small retailer locations that not only have the wide selection, but provide personal service in putting together the perfect look.
11) GLITZY EARRINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Not every holiday dress is going to accommodate a necklace set and this is where earrings really step up to add the glamour. Options abound in glitzy earrings. Remember the chandeliers from a few years ago? Well they never went away. New designs deliver all the sparkle a girl could want with crystals and motion glimmering with every move.
If shoppers prefer something more traditional, the small retailers specializing in formal jewelry will have a host of rhinestone earrings from conservative size to shoulder duster length. Cascades, buttons, hoops, linear earrings, colored rhinestones—where else can you find this selection? And where else can shoppers get personal service that will have you leaving satisfied with accessories that really set off an outfit.
Don’t overlook crystal earrings. Small businesses have plenty of options for every hair do and outfit. Crystal earrings can have the very feminine look of filigree settings as well as dramatic buttons, bold drops, or the elegance of glimmering crystals in silver plating with black epoxy contrast—so stunning for New Year’s Eve. To find all these options, shoppers must visit small retailers with a focus on formal jewelry because the big box stores seldom have the variety or the personal service.
If we think back a few years, it seems like there was a new trendy fashion item every Christmas. In 2004 it was initials on accessories, in 2005 sequin handbags, and in 2006 crystal brooches. That year the showcases of department stores sparkled with brooches. Each item faded away except the crystal brooches that seem to be here to stay.
But even crystal brooches faded away in the department store showcases while demand continued. The gorgeous designs draw a lot of inspiration from the first half of the twentieth century—Art Nuevo, Art Deco, and designs from The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry. Brooches make wonderful Christmas gifts for Mom, for office gift exchanges, and for other special occasions like bridesmaid gifts. But the only reliable supplier is small businesses specializing in glitzy and formal jewelry.
Demand is high. According to Google, there are 450,000 searches for per month for brooches and another 673,000 searches for brooch. That means customers are looking for brooches and this is a wonderful opportunity for small business.
A high number of major businesses started as small businesses. Popeye’s Fried Chicken began with one chicken house in Arabi, La. Ugg boots took hold in the US when the Australian, Brian Smith, sold them to surfers in California. This is a small sampling of the importance of small business to the US economy. In addition to being the incubator for larger businesses, small business hires nearly half the US workers and is the engine for employment with 65% of new hires.
So survival of small business is important. Retailers can zero in on areas of fashion where consumers trust them more than they trust the big box companies and consumers need to keep small business in mind when shopping.
Filed under Bracelets, Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Pendants, Sports Jewelry, Uncategorized
Posted by admin on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
In the fast pace of the Christmas buying season, how is small business doing compared to the majors. According to the US Small Business Administration, nearly half the employment in the US and 65% of new hiring comes from small business so their survival is vital to the American economy. There is a push this year to make consumers aware of supporting small business in their Christmas shopping. But ask someone if that reflects in their buying pattern, and most will embarrassingly say no.
If that isn’t working, something is. There are a number of items that consumers simply trust small business for over the majors when shopping. In fashion accessories we covered headwear and accessories in Part I and now let’s move forward with fashion jewelry.
5) STATEMENT NECKLACES
If there is anything radically different on the fashion scene in jewelry this year it would be statement necklaces. These brash works in metal strutted the runways of fashion shows and stunned readers on the covers of fashion magazines. But they are just a little too edgy for department stores and most of the majors.
These retailers like more toned-down style with the classy look often inspired by The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry. The Golden Age began in the 1930s during The Great Depression and extended through the 1960s with the most creative houses in costume jewelry delivering elegant works.
But glamorous jewelry didn’t stand unopposed in that era. A rebellious statement in jewelry countered these fabulous creations with hand-made works, mostly in metals, that expressed art with primitive designs. A look back on this medium collects the works into a category called Mid-Century Modern. No doubt, this had to be some of the inspiration going into the bold statement necklaces created in metals dominating high fashion this fall and winter.
Now where do fashion forward consumers find this look when shopping for themselves or others this Christmas? Certainly not in an upscale department store! No, only small business provides the high fashion look that has been dominating the runways. So when it comes to forward fashion and edgy designs, consumers know small business is the only answer.
6) QUALITY CHRISTMAS JEWELRY
Looking back twenty years in the jewelry industry, Providence, Rhode Island was the center of American jewelry manufacturing. Many businesses were cottage industries that specialized in aspect of production—linking, carding, soldering, casting, plating. But competition from China with lower prices and gradually improving quality dismantled the American industry piece by piece.
Then an economic slowdown caused Chinese manufacturers, importers, and major retailers to be extremely cautious. Seasonal jewelry was a risk because sell through had to occur in a short period of time. So the 2011 Christmas season is woefully short of quality Christmas jewelry that is traditionally part of the holiday spirit. Consumers wear it to work, while shopping, and to family gatherings. It’s as much of Christmas as stockings hanging from the mantle. But with short supply, where do shoppers find this quality Christmas jewelry that delighted everyone in years past?
Small retailers are suddenly the go-to source for classy Christmas jewelry. They do not need a massive inventory to satisfy their clientele and they have an uncanny instinct to find resources.
When consumers want to express the holiday spirit with charm bracelets that have enameled charms in Christmas colors or quality glass bracelets with lampwork beads, most likely the only source is the small retailer.
Classy resin pins in creative designs make wonderful stocking stuffers as well as accent pieces to spread holiday cheer, but this Christmas they may be hard to find outside of small business.
Pendants and earrings stamped from a thin sheet of metal with art and personality that is irresistible—you guessed it—only small business. “Best Brand” is the creator of these works of art and this line of fashion jewelry is so labor intense that it is simply impossible to supply the high quantities the majors would want. Each piece goes through stamping, plating, polishing, and often enameling for color. The finished product makes any consumer proud to give it as a Christmas gift, but this exceptional jewelry will only be found at small retailers.
7) PENDANTS AND EARRINGS
Actually, Christmas jewelry is only the tip of the iceberg for “Best Brand”. Their selection of pendants and matching earrings covers nearly every look in fashion plus endless themes. The workmanship is so fine that the company proudly has its name impressed on the back of each piece. And we are equally as proud to distribute the line, which we know from sales records goes exclusively to small business.
Just look through the pendant line and you will find something for nearly every event or location. And most pendants have matching earrings. On our site an items number is preceded by PD for pendants and FS for earrings. To find a matching earring simply change the PD to FS and put the code in the search box.
Most businesses buying this line follow a theme. It could be sea life for beach locations, horse and Southwest themes for a western store, motorcycles for a bike shop, baseball for little league fundraisers, and the list goes on. So where do consumers find this exceptional line of fashion jewelry—only at small retail locations.
8 ) LOCAL THEMES AND NICHE MARKETS
This brings us to another excusive of small business–local themes and niche markets. No national retailer will understand local interests as well as the small businesses that live and operate in the area. What a huge advantage this gives to the small retailer!
We are located in South Louisiana. If you watch Swamp People, you get a glimpse of a piece of our culture—Cajun music, crawfish boils, seafood, and the home of seasonings and hot sauces. The themes in jewelry that goes to the heart of locals is not found in major retailers. No, it is small business and often local artists. The same is true in every locale.
Even sports from local high schools that everyone has, to avid fans of college teams provides opportunity for small business. The LSU vs. Alabama game was billed the game of the century. Licensed jewelry for both teams is found on our web site and small businesses certainly have a market for it with all the dedicated fans these two teams have.
Now back to the local high schools. Small business can rally capitalize on this theme because no manufacturer can afford to produce a line for such a small market. Begin with school colors. Glass bracelets on the site provide a variety of two-tone color and most likely your colors are there. Next use the search to find your mascot in pendants and earrings. If it isn’t there, choose pendants for the sport such as football related pendants and earrings. These slide on chokers found under fashion jewelry. To really make the jewelry pop for your high school add school color. Pick beads in the right color from loose beads on the menu. These beads have a 4mm opening so they can slide on many chokers so make sure some of your chokers will accommodate the beads. Group all the pieces together in your shop to tell a story and sell individually so your customers can build their own look.
This the advantage small fashion retailers have that helps them overcome the heavy hitters in the majors.
9) GEMSTONE JEWELRY
The flight to quality in fashion jewelry dates back to the shocking tragedy on September 11, 2001. Suddenly family, prayer, and heroism trumped bling that was the trend of the day. Fashion jewelry went through a worldwide search for art and materials that were classic.
Crystal, Murano style glass, lampwork beads, and gemstone jewelry were some of the mediums that captured that attention of retail customers. But gemstone jewelry continues while interest in other forms of fashion jewelry receded. Department stores still grace their showcases with a few selections of semi precious jewelry, but small business is where consumers will find the extensive selection.
Yes, demand remains high because semi precious jewelry has intrinsic value and unique design that synthetics can’t duplicate. Department stores left lots of change on the table by moving on. Every time I am in a department store, I look at their showcases. Season after season turquoise and coral return. In addition, each season has at least one other semi precious stone included in fashion jewelry–amethyst was a recent example. But demand is exceeding this limited supply and customers that have grown to love the intrinsic beauty of semi precious jewelry know that the only place to really find selection is in a small retail location.
The blog that follows will wrap up the fashion accessories where small business excels with a look at the formal side of jewelry and accessories.
Filed under Christmas Jewelry
Posted by admin on Thursday, December 1st, 2011
IT’S CHRISTMASTIME and the retail world is ablaze with holiday windows to lure and thrill customers across the country. This year, themes run from tradition and nostalgia to high tech and international concepts. One is better than the other, so let’s take a quick tour of some of the more extraordinary of the crop:
Remember the great Christmas phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” written in 1897 in a letter from the editor of the New York Sun newspaper to a little girl, Virginia, who wrote to the paper expressing her doubts about Santa’s existence?
Well, that wonderful real-life Christmas tale is recreated by Macy’s in its Herald Square store windows, complete with theatrical and high tech techniques, synchronized lighting, sound, animated movements and even LCD screens.
–Anybody who has ever seen Macy’s Christmas windows (you pick the year…any one) knows they just don’t get better than this, and the 2010 offerings are as good as any. It’s all wonder and magic and delight after delight for children and grownups alike!
Christmas, Japanese Style
JUMPING ACROSS THE GLOBE to Tokyo, we find the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi interpreting “The Nutcracker” in its exquisite, Asian-inspired holiday windows. Japan is primarily Shinto, with a little Buddhism added, but the country has long had a love affair with Christianity’s season of light, celebrating Christmas with lights and retail windows of the most remarkable kind.
The retail chain’s Nihonbashi district store features scenes from the classic Nutcracker tale, while the Ginza store blends traditional and modern techniques into a fabulous presentation with lights shaped like bubbles.
–Shadow puppets appear in the shape of rabbits, reindeer, wolves, doves, and other animals, while the Nutcracker’s main character, Clara, is seen in various vignettes, including dreaming about a prince, and sitting on top of a merry-go-round horse surrounded by the world’s most fantastical toys.
GIFTS FOR CHILDREN ARE AMONG THE WONDERFUL THINGS CHRISTMAS BRING US. HERE ARE SOME LOVELY CHOICES MADE FOR THE SEASON:
- Angel children’s jewelry.
Fields of Snow
NEW YORK’S BLOOMINGDALE’S has turned its windows into an electronic wonderland to express a “Happy, Merry, Peace, and Love” theme. Close to 100 digital screens brilliantly arranged in a mosaic give visions of winter wonderland landscapes filled with falling snow.
–Here is the icy North, with its huge pine and fir trees all outfitted in white for the holidays and transforming the city’s fast-paced Lexington Avenue into a splendorous white Christmas mirage. It’s techno-spectacular!
Not far from Bloomies, over on Fifth Avenue, is the elite Bergdorf Goodman, in love with travel of the galaxy-kind this year. A trip to the moon window was inspired by a 1902 film by the famed Georges Melies, director of the first science fiction movie.
–World travelers, vintage luggage, and elegantly dressed mannequins on top of Pegasus are just the beginning of the extravaganza. There are cherubs, hot air balloons, model boats, antique diving masks and nautical stripes.
–Set to a “Wish You Were Here” tempo, these windows are so brilliantly expressive of Christmas, with all its lavish embellishments and extravaganza, they just have to be seen!
Ah, the French!
NOT TO BE OUTDONE by the rest of the world, Paris clocks in early, where The Good Life is the main theme of opulent window displays inspired by the grandeur of France’s chateaux. Puppets designed by fashion designer Alber Elbaz wear miniature versions of his haute couture tuxedos and gowns…making these windows gloriously appropriate for the fashion capital of the world.
All over the globe, Christmas is in full swing. Store windows are showing off the creativity, whimsy and wonder of the retailing world. Salvation Army carolers still stand on street corners, collecting for the needy, and reminding everyone of the blessedness of giving. Chestnuts continue to roast on city avenues. And shoppers scurry here and there, looking, smiling, choosing, buying, and – even in the usually impersonal New York and Paris – wishing one and all a Merry Christmas.
Yes, Virginia, it’s that glorious time of year!
GIFTS, GIFTS, GIFTS! HERE ARE SOME TO MAKE ANYONE SMILE:
Filed under Christmas Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
Christmas is coming and with it, all the excitement and thrills the season can bring. But this year could be a rough one for retailers. The economy is bumpy and nobody really expects Christmas sales to be brisk. Of course, one good thing in a grey outlook: Fashion Accessories are among the few top product categories riding a somewhat high road. Choose the right items to sell, and chances are you’ll come through this period feeling pretty good.
But…what about your store, your image, your Christmas? We all know you have to decorate the store for Christmas if you want to rev up your customers to come in and buy. How do you do that on a budget? It’s not all that difficult. To start with, think red. Plenty of it. Santa Claus red, to be exact.
You can put up a big poster or portrait of Santa Claus and voila! You’re in the season! You can also buy a half dozen or more of fairly large poinsettias, and put them around the store. They look great, and cost very little! Christmas wreaths are almost essential for this time of year. And scented Christmas candles will transform your store into a holiday haven in seconds!!
Don’t forget that your products often make the best Christmas decorations! Consider a bright green clutch handbag alongside a red scarf. Or, a collection of cozy winter hats put out on a counter surrounded with pine branches (you can often get them free at your local Christmas Tree outlet).
HERE ARE SOME IDEAL GIFT PRODUCTS TO DISPLAY THIS CHRISTMAS:
- Nativity scene tie with manger and Star of Bethlehem
Sights and Sounds
If you sell toys, by all means use them to set the Christmas mood. You can also purchase an inexpensive set of toy trains and set one up in the store. What is more fun, more reminiscent of Christmases gone by than the sounds and sight of a train running its tracks?
And, don’t forget the power of sound. Get some good Christmas music and play it 24/7, or however long you’re open for business. Depending on your customer base, you can choose very specific music, too. Spiritual Christmas chants are great for a more sophisticated, classical music-type market.
It’s always a good idea to be available to your customers for special help and service. You might put up a chair, and hang a fun sign above it saying something like, “Christmas Gift Consultations.” Set a time each day when customers can come in and get personalized help in choosing gifts for their families and friends. This is a terrific sales booster. People often don’t know what to buy, and they will feel happier and more confident in a gift backed by your advice.
A Time to Give
Giving something away is a tradition for this time of year. Having hot cocoa or cider available for customers has been a wonderful idea for many retailers. Just offer each person who comes into the store a small cup, and watch his or her eyes light up! A small piece of candy will go even further with children.
And, talking about children…oh, this is an area of endless possibilities. But for just one starter idea: Consider setting aside a Saturday morning for a story-telling Christmas session. Invite customers to bring in their little ones for an hour or so. You can buy wonderful Christmas books at your local bookstore, and read one of the stories to the youngsters. Be sure to make it interactive: Ask the children how they feel about what is going on in the story as you go along. You’ll surely have as much fun as the kids, if not more.
–Don’t fail to have a display of children’s accessories that the parents and grandparents of the youngsters can look at.
WONDERING WHAT CHILDREN’S ACCESSORIES TO CHOOSE? WE HAVE A RICH COLLECTION AT REASONABLE PRICES:
- Small to medium tiara combs – wonderful for little girls!
…Stay tuned to our blog. We’ll have plenty of Christmas ideas coming up…!
Filed under Christmas Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Late one summer when I was a girl, we had new neighbors move in next door to us. I didn’t especially like them. They kept their house dark and you never did know what was going on in there. Even the kids were strange. 11-year old year Jerry rarely played ball with the other boys, and always had his nose stuck in a book.
Charry was 9, and admittedly gorgeous with her long blond hair and bright blue eyes. But she dressed atrociously, we thought, with layers of crinolines, big skirted silk and satin dresses with bows and ribbons and embroideries. – And this when the rest of us dressed in precursors of Gap Kids, at best. As you can tell, these new people just didn’t fit it.
Mostly we all ignored them, and months went by. Soon it was Christmas. My parents were a little conservative about that. We put up the tree and other decorations on Christmas Eve and took them all down January 2nd, without compromise. Keep them up an extra day? Never! But our newest neighbors seemed to have time schedule all their own. To start with, days went past Christmas, without any noticeable decorations or lights. Still dark.
YOU CAN BRING LIGHT AND BEAUTY INTO YOUR CHRISTMAS WITH GIFTS TO PLEASE EVERYONE. TRY THESE:
But then, just before January 6th – “Little Christmas,” we later learned, the Orthodox Rite Christmas – a miracle happened. A real miracle! Just like that, the house was ablaze with lights like you never saw. And what was most incredible was the tree. Oh! That huge, blazing, fabulous Christmas Tree!
Just when everyone’s trees were down or coming down, their’s went up, and it was more glorious than any I had ever seen. It was so fantastic all us kids peeked into the front windows just to get a look it, soaring up the top of the ceiling, with all manner of decoration on it. Different kinds of decorations, such as we had never seen before.
The mother came out and even invited us to see the tree, which sat in its own big vat of water and was cared for daily. There we saw generations of ornaments lovingly brought to the United States from Russia, carrying with them all the memories and history of their family and land.
Here were little delicate ornaments with openings you could look into and see a whole village story unfold! Tiny dolls dressed much like Charry with carefully ironed bows and flowers and dresses. Things you wouldn’t expect to see on a tree back then. Tiny toys with all kinds of moving parts. Jewelry with beads that dripped over the pine leaves and gave even more color and delight. Well, the splendor went on and on. You could spend weeks, maybe months, and still not fully experience it all.
And perhaps that was the idea. Because the Eastern Christmas came and went, but the Tree remained. January came and went, and the Tree remained. Other neighbors became concerned. Some called it a fire hazard. Others used it to remind everyone how weird these people were.
A Forever Tree
February set it with all its ice and snow and blustery weather, and the Tree remained. But by now, it had become a curiosity. School kids would come into our neighborhood to sing Christmas Carols in front of the house, totally freaking out my brother. Somebody reminded that “For everything there is time,” and the time of the Tree was up. But, it wasn’t.
February ended and March began. It was still cold, but cold enough for a Christmas Tree? Week One came and went, but the Tree remained. Week Two did the same. But then…just as mid-March settled in tightly, the lights went out. The Tree, in all its glory, finally came down. The ornaments were all hand-wrapped and put away for another day. Pine needles were carefully swept out. And the house was silent, dark once more.
BEFORE YOUR TREE IS PUT AWAY FOR TE SEASON, WHY NOT ADD A FEW EXTRA GIFTS AROUND IT? HERE ARE A FEW TO TRY:
“Well, it’s about time,” my mother said, as my brother sighed relief. Kids stopped coming around harassing. Christmas was at last past. And you’d think, by then, you’d be glad. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t glad at all. Not only that, but I seemed to develop a whole new respect toward these new people. I mean, image! People who pay no attention to what other people say, and just keep up their Christmas Tree as long as they want. Well, it could have gone on forever.
But of course, it didn’t. It has been years since we’ve seen that family, but we still exchange Christmas Cards with Charry, who lives in California. I suspect her present day Tree comes down in very neat conventional time frame, like ours. Nice trees.
—But oh! I don’t think I will ever forget that Christmas Tree that stood almost forever years ago. Being different, I learned, can be a wonderful thing!
Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, November 30th, 2009