Unique decorations for a special time of year

For the past nine years, the imagination and excitement of youth have all come to life as you walk through the magical doors of The Christmas Shop in Abbeville.

The store name is technically “Classic Designs” but everyone simply refers to it as “The Christmas Shop”. And just the name of the store can bring back the youthful memories of waking on Christmas Day and finding presents under the tree.

Space quickly became an issue for Keffer Delino and Brent Griffin, as they ran out of room at the flower shop to be able to offer Christmas decorations as well. The store, Jim’s Flower and Gift Shoppe, sits along-side Abbeville General Hospital. “We thought about moving all our business downtown but the parking problem has kept us from making that move,” said Delino. “The downtown store has 3,500 square feet of floor space and houses all our Christmas decorations. The only thing we have here at the flower shop are fresh poinsettias.”

Walking into the Christmas store, the larger-than-life Nutcracker is ready to greet you. “We have a couple of Santa’s in the store,” said manager Tisa Senegal. “But we had to hide the really tall one in back among the Christmas trees because it was scaring all the little children. When people walk in here, we hear all the ooh’s and ahh’s and you can see all the little kids that just want to reach out and touch everything.”

According to Senegal, this year’s favorite color scheme is chocolate. She said this is especially true for parents whose children have moved out and there aren’t any grandchildren as yet. When there are grandchildren in the family, she said that the decorations tend to stay pretty traditional.

Basically, the store offers everything from the tree to the decorations that hang on it. Artificial trees range from four and a half feet to nine feet in height and come in regular or slim shapes. Selections include Mixed Pine, Noble Fir, Sitka Spruce, Blue Spruce, Fir Swiss, Fir Piedmont and Olympic Pine. The trees are pre-lit so the problems of hearing someone say the the lights are not even shouldn’t take place. There is even a remote control to change some of the trees from clear white lights to mixed colored lighting.

“The public won’t buy an artificial tree unless it looks real,” said Delino. “With these trees, when the season is over, the branches are hinged and you fold it up like an umbrella. And the quality of the these trees is what makes them last through the years. Also, you don’t have the problems of allergies that you run into with a real tree that has to come down before Christmas even gets here. And, they have a 10 year warranty.”

Griffin also pointed out that the trees they sell are fire retardant.

For Delino and Griffin, the Christmas season doesn’t seem to end. Market for the next years ornaments and gift items to sell begins December 27th and runs through mid-January. “We offer one of a kind ornaments through the companies that make our decorations,” said Delino. “We have the exclusive rights to the decorations we design for a year before they can be offered to other stores for sale. And, our minimum order quantities are really high with the manufacturers. But we do have items that people know we’ll only have one or two of each kind for those who want extremely unique decorations.”

Senegal said some of the decorations they carry for trees include angels, fairies, elves and Santa’s. The store also has decorative branches, branches with berries or feathers in Christmas or Mardi Gras theme colors. Ornaments come in all sizes in the store, including some really big bulbs for equally big trees. For additional Christmas decorations, there are deer figurines of various materials and ranges in height. There are even smaller sized trees to decorate fireplace mantles. And, on the top of a very high shelf, is a tree Senegal described as the lowly Charlie Brown tree, or maybe the tree from Dr. Suess’ “The Grinch Stole Christmas”.

The store traditionally opens September 1st through Mardi Gras. When you enter the store, don’t be afraid to let your imagination come to life.

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