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.