This past weekend, our family headed to Elmira, NY to visit the National Soaring Museum (post to come) for my husband’s birthday. After the museum, lunch, and a stop at the Mark Twain Study and exhibit at Elmira College, we popped into the Christmas House. My husband was a bit surprised, since he knows I object to Christmas and Halloween décor vying for the same retail shelves during the month of September (or earlier!). I’ve been hearing about Elmira’s Christmas House ever since we moved back to the Finger Lakes almost eight years ago, so we just had to stop!
The Christmas House is located in one of Elmira’s grand Victorian Homes on Maple Avenue and you can’t miss it because a restored antique car on the front lawn welcomes you. The elegant house was built in 1894 by lumber magnate Justus Harris, and throughout the house, his love of wood shows in the beautiful wooden fireplaces, the trims and the moldings. During its history, the house has seen a number of transitions… in families who lived there and in uses (the house was once a residence for young men studying aviation and the main floor was briefly a beauty parlor). Fortunately, in 1983, it was rescued by Elaine and Tony DiBiase who opened a 3 room Christmas shop in the building. In 1988, local colorist Paul Murphy gave it its charming Victorian makeover to become the great painted lady it is today. When we were there, the exterior was being painted, so just imagine how stunning it will be when finished! Inside, the shop has now expanded to take over the entire street level. Seven rooms warm you with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas, even on the hottest day of July.
Lovely, funny, imaginative and quirky holiday ornaments created of every possible of material surround you throughout. It would be hard to imagine the ornament you couldn’t find here. Several years ago, I looked far and wide for ornaments of the Radio City Rockettes and, had I known, the Christmas House could have provided several different styles to choose from.
The shop is brimming with Christmas décor. Angels, Nativities, santas and nutcrackers are more plentiful than Christmas songs lacing the airwaves after Thanksgiving. In each room, full-sized and miniature trees are dressed out in themes that change annually.
The wall of the front parlor had dozens of different types of tree lights, and scattered throughout, there were many gift items including jewelry, scarves, fragrance lamps, hand bags, candles, soaps, cuckoo clocks, goodies for children, food and kitchen items, and even a few things designed specifically with men in mind. One entire room was stocked floor to ceiling with Christmas (and Halloween!) Village houses.
The Christmas House is open:
Late June to Labor Day: Monday and Wednesday thru Friday 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM, Tuesday By Chance (Please Call), Saturday: 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM and Sunday: 12:00 Noon (or earlier:-) – 5:00 PM.
Labor Day through October: Monday and Wednesday thru Friday 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM, Tuesday By Chance in September (please call), Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM,Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
November – December 23: Daily: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
December 24: Open 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
December 26 through Closing Date: Open Daily 10 AM – 5 PM. Closed New Year’s Day.
Come and enjoy the Six Months of Christmas at the Christmas Shop, located at 361 Maple Avenue in downtown Elmira.
Thinking of visiting Elmira, NY? Don’t miss the National Soaring Museum (post to come) in Elmira as well as the Mark Twain’s Study and exhibit (See our post, “A New York Yankee in Mark Twain’s Study“).
Visiting Elmira NY or the Finger Lakes region? Check out our posts about other Elmira, NY attractions:
Copyright 2012 © Carol White Llewellyn. All rights reserved.