Christmas in July

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

My two-year-old daughter, Stella Lucy, looked out the window this morning and said, “Snow!” No snow was in evidence; what she pointed out were big, fluffy clouds. Confusion is to be expected of a toddler.

 

Many people purposely confuse themselves this time of year by celebrating “Christmas in July.” This is mainly a time for retail sales, but you can also find craft fairs using the moniker, typically selling artisan wares.

 

At the GasLamp Too booth Christmas Nostalgia (Booth T-357), it is Christmas every day of the year. The booth carries antique, vintage and new ornaments and other Christmas items of décor, just for the holiday fan who needs a mid-year fix.

 

Among the items at Christmas Nostalgia is a range of Cody Foster Original houses and churches. The two in the photo, above right, include diminutive details, such as a tiny sheep on the house at left and a bluebird and a snowman on the house at right (house, left, $72, and right, $110).

 

Cody Foster founded his craft business in 1991 when he was only 16. He learned his designing and construction skills from his grandmother. Foster then went on to become famous in the artisan community for reviving the German Christmas tradition of glittery “putz” villages

 

A raccoon, rabbit, bunny and squirrel will make a cute foursome hanging from any Christmas tree – or tied to a birthday gift for a lucky child (photo, above left; each ornament, $13.50; Booth T-357). These felt finger puppets were made by artisans who work in a fair trade production center in Kathmandu, Nepal. Each one has a string attached so that it can be used as an ornament, but each one is also designed so that it can be used as a finger puppet or to top a pencil. Each one is made using environmentally-friendly dyes and 100% natural Nepali wool.

 

In the same vein as these wool finger puppets, Christmas Nostalgia offers hand-felted wool birdhouses that can be used right now (photo, right). As cute as they are, they may be hung inside or outside. Small birds – wren, chickadees, nuthatch and titmouse – can use these as their homes, as each birdhouse is made of naturally water-repellent wool (and also includes a clean-out door at the bottom). Like the finger puppets, these birdhouses are made in Kathmandu, Nepal.

 

The charming, 14-inch elf in the photo, left, is a modern Annalee version of the classic elf ($32). The elf – with his cheery expression and pose-able limbs – has a history that began with the birth ofBarbara Annalee Davis in Concord, New Hampshire in 1915. Known as “Annalee,” Davis made her first dolls as a hobby while she was a teen. Then during the 1950s, she turned that hobby into a toy business with her husband. In the early days, stores used the company’s “skier dolls” to decorate their windows during the winter season.

 

This 1930s gnome-and-mushroom tree stand, below right, was made in Czechoslovakia to hold the famous “feather trees” of that country’s tradition ($325). Such tree stands were made in Germany and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s; in fact, it was in the 1870s that garden gnomes were introduced by a family business in Graefenroda in eastern Germany, so the marketability of gnomes has a long history in that region. This iron tree stand would make an excellent center piece, even in the off season. 

 

Christmas is half a year away. That said, at Christmas Nostalgia one can find treats suitable for the season, or for right now; just think how much a tiny wren would love a wooly birdhouse in which to sleep on a summer night. 

 

 

 

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