By Erin Bozdan | Photos Courtesy of Linda Wine
Christmas is a joyous time of year where love, kindness and the spirit of giving fills our hearts. The Christmas Shop, launched in 1948 by the ladies of Emmanuel Church in Middleburg, has embodied that spirit for 70 years.
The Christmas Shop has been a beloved staple of the holiday season and an important fundraiser for the community. In the beginning, the ladies would set up shop for a few hours on a Friday night, cook roast beef dinners for their husbands, and encourage them to shop. Now, the magical event encompasses several days and takes in enough funds to help support the church, donate to local charities and assist with the upkeep on the Parish House.
The shop returned to the Middleburg Community Center for the first time in 25 years on Nov. 1. The event is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. On Nov. 4, the Christmas Shop will be open from noon until 5 p.m. More than 25 exhibitors from across the country were invited to showcase their goods. Visitors can find jewelry, fashions, home décor, gourmet foods, toys, and soaps along with other wares and art. Artists Kerry Waters and Barbara Sharp will showcase their studio work.
It takes a village to organize the annual endeavor. The Steering Committee for this Christmas village included Linda Wine, John Denegre, Kevin Daly. Mary Anne Gibbons, one of the shops oldest volunteers, heads up sponsorships and outside decorations. Through them and a great many others, the Christmas Shop lives on and the spirit of the original mission which is simply to give back. “It’s all about giving” says Wine. “Most people come the first day and shop for themselves, then they come back the next day to buy for other people. We are raising money so we can give it back out to the community.” Emmanuel’s Treasures, one of the people’s favorites, returns. Each year parishioners go in to their basements, attics, and barns to rediscover fun items to donate. “Everyone loves it because they are finding great things for a steal of a price,” says Wine. “Who doesn’t love a bargain!”
A very unique and special exhibit this year is that of artist Dana Westring’s Neapolitan Nativity scene. For Westring, this has been a 12 year labor of love. The background is that of an Italian village on a hillside with apartments above and shops, bridges and alleyways. Westring adds new figures each year to make an entire an entire village come to life. The crèche can be seen throughout the Christmas season at the Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains.
In addition to fabulous finds, the daily activities include raffles running every two hours, lunch by The Aldie Country Store and a photo op with a Christmas fox. We are in Middleburg after all!
This article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of Middleburg Life.