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Christmas Cottage

Yesterday we celebrated Easter and so today, while I’m still in a holiday mood, I thought we’d celebrate Christmas, let me explain. The other week when my parents were in town we walked past a shop I’ve always been curious about. It’s a little shop on Seventh Avenue called the Christmas Cottage and pretty much all they sell is Christmas items. I’ve always been curious how a place like this survives in the off season, so today we’ll go and find out.

And here we are in Midtown. It's just a couple blocks from here.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! Or if you don't feel like practicing, you could just take the N train to 57th Street, like I did.

And here we are at the Christmas Cottage, a little slice of the North Pole in Midtown.

Here's one of the front windows, which is elaborately dressed with Christmas decorations.

If Mermaids are welcome, then I guess we are too!

Let's go in and see what's happening in the Christmas Cottage.

Wow, this is one sparkly store! You immediately get a Christmas vibe walking in here. All of a sudden, I have an urge to buy a Norelco razor for some reason.

Here's the owners of the store, Diane and Paul Prianti. They started this festive business back in 1985 and have been in this location since 1997. They're very friendly people and they take time to talk to the customers who are shopping in the store. It's not at all like your typical impersonal Midtown store and it brings out a nice holiday feeling when you're in here, no matter what month of the year it is. It's a true family-owned business and their sons work here as well when they're not in school.

Here's Sing, who they told me was the Santa Claus of the store. I didn't see a beard on Sing, but then realized he must shave that thing off for the upcoming summer heat. Let's take a little tour of the store.

Here's a quintet of Father Christmas dolls.

Christmas carolers are up on a shelf in the store.

There's vintage prints that would make nice decorations during the holiday season.

And of course there's a fully decorated tree in here.

Santa is looking down at holiday wooden soldiers on display.

Paul told me that the price of the items in the store range from $2.95 to...

Over $5,000 for this piece of art featuring Santa and his helpers. You can't see it in the photo, but the characters actually move and it's very cool.

There's holiday artwork up on the walls featuring a snowman and various Santas.

And there's buckets on the floor filled with holiday goodies and knick-knacks.

Not everything is Christmas-orientated at the store though, here's a display of ceramic mermaids that reminded me of Coney Island.

Unique handmade pillows cover this wall.

Here's some hand-painted signs for your home bar. You seeing these Al? One of these would look nice in your bar in Miami, maybe I'll get you one this year for Christmas if you're a good boy!

There's other items here, but the main draw is Christmas as these two dueling Santas prove. I decided to get something in here myself.

I found this little fiddle marked with the words, "Carnegie Hall" on it. I thought this was kind of fitting since I had just passed it and decided to get it.

But when I took it up to the register, Paul told me I could have it as an early Christmas gift. This place really brings out the Christmas spirit no matter what month it is. I thanked Paul and now I'd like to pass on the Christmas feeling to one of the TMW readers out there. The first person to comment will get the violin as an early Christmas gift from myself, Paul, Diane and everyone from the Christmas Cottage. Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of Rum!

Christmas Cottage (New website coming soon and they ship world-wide.)
871 Seventh Ave. (Between 55th and 56th St.)

Further Reading: New York Magazine, NY Citysearch and Waymarking.

Santa Claus is coming to town,
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Surprise link, click on it, I dare you!

References (5)

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Reader Comments (18)

I've been there before, to get one of those Caroler figures that my mom collects. nice place

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternight goat

damnit, night goat beat me, looks like i'll have to send away for that violin! cool to see a unique family place like this surviving in midtown!

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

I love Christmas shops..
There was one out in Leavenworth Washington i met Doris Day in.
I wish I had the time and money to go overboard on decorations..
I really want a huge neon Feliz Navidad sign for my roof.
and a life size manger..
bring me here when I visit!

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Marty, This post must have just gone up, I checked at 10:00 this morning & it was the old one. Ok, Night Goat gets the violin! I'll send you a pic of my Grandfathers violin in my apartment. I never understood how these shops make any money myself, but I guess some people look for the sales & wait till next December.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the Freelancer

@night goat: Congratulations, you win the violin! And since I know your true identity I can give it to you in person and save the postage money! I'll buy you a beer with it!

@Bobby D: You were close, but no cigar! Maybe next time!

@Gidget: When I hit Mega-Millions that Feliz Navidad sign will be yours! Too cool you met Doris Day, my parents used to see her in a bar when they vacationed in Carmel, California. Was she nice?

@Dannny the Freelancer: They told me they do quite well all year long, they are definitely the most unique and friendly store on their block and maybe in all of Midtown! I'll be looking for the violin picture and will post it tomorrow, thanks!

April 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

6th comment ...

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

She had no makeup on and looked fabulous..
she seemed nice.. a little embarrassed to be recognized.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

There used to be a bar on 43rd Street off 6th Avenue which called itself the Christmas Bar. I first came upon it in July/August, the hot sweltering months, in the 1970s and went for a drink every now and then. I was working as a phone operator in Archer Messenger Service right around the block on 42nd Street. Don't know what happened to it but then my job faded as well. Ho ho ho...

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMykola Mick Dementiuk

ZZZZZZZZZZ...**HUH**? Wazzit? Christmas...already? Looks like I over slept again......

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Merry Christmas!
Ho! Ho! Ho! (either the Green Giant or three streetwalkers)
I guess it's 'Christmas Everyday' (depending on your spirit)
Sorry we missed (I was in my FIlm Class late)
Got your message and left you one.
We'll try and tag up.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@GENE: I'll buy you a consolation beer when you get to town!

@Gidget: Very cool!

@Mykola Mick Dementiuk: I'll have to check out that corner in my travels and see what's there now. Probably a 7-Eleven!

@Jaws: Wake up, there's only ten shopping days left!

@"Boris": Got your message too, Daddio, I stepped out and didn't see it till this morning. I'll try you tonight. And as far as ho’s goes, there’s also this trio!

April 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Well now Danny can play a sad song for Thomas Kinkade and the end of the cottage industry.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

*On a very tiny violin.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

It's like Rolf's without booze! Nice place! I especially liked that sign in the front window: "Send more tourists...the last ones were yummy." TO: HAWAIIAN SHIRTS! (and Crocs).

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

What caught my eye here today was that "Route 66" sign in the picture window more so than the Christmas decor. I've traveled Route 66 several times in the sixties with my parents and if you get off the interstate you can still travel on some parts to see old motels, etc. My High School was in Glendora California and I had to walk down Foothill Blvd which was Route 66 to get there,,,,,funny. The mention today of Doris Day brought back memories of this lovely lady who just released a CD last year, "My Heart" at the age of 87,,,,,I just love her unconditional love for dogs, she is great.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@csp: I had to Google Thomas Kinkade, but it seems he had a rather large cottage!

@Biff: "It's like Rolf's without booze!" Ha ha ha! Perfect description of this place! You still gots it, Bifferoonie!

@All: I thought you’d like those signs in there! Didn’t know you had traveled that much on Route 66, I hope you got some kicks! One thing I always forget is that Doris Day’s son was Terry Melcher who produced The Byrds and Paul Revere and the Raiders among others. Here’s a good interview with her in the Hollywood Reporter.

April 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Ho! Ho! Ho!

To quote the Marx Brothers while looking over a legal document:

"This is no good there is no sanity clause."

To which Chico responded: "You can't ah fool ah me, there's no such ah thing as Santy Claus!"

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveW

@DaveW: Ha ha ha! Or should I say, ho, ho ho! Love that Marx Brothers scene!

April 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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