By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
Friday, November 9, 2012 —
The election season is over, so is Halloween. And Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
But at Hospice of Stanly County, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Hospice’s annual Christmas Shoppe is open to the public through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For at least the past 10 years, Hospice of Stanly County has offered visitors a place to shop and take advantage of hand-crafted items made by volunteers within the organization as well as contributors who just want to donate items for sale.
Money raised from the Christmas Shoppe will go toward indigent patient care and bereavement and support groups within Hospice. The event also serves as a prelude to the angel sales that go toward the Festival of Trees during December at Stanly Commons.
“I guess that’s where it kind of started because our volunteers were making angels and we sell those each year as a fundraiser,” said Tonya Smith, development director at Hospice of Stanly County.
“I think us making angels, then it branched off into making crafts and selling that as an extra way to pre-sale the angels. It all leads up to the Festival of Trees.”
Angels can be purchased in the Christmas Shoppe for $10 in memory or honor of someone. There has been a different angel design each year of the program.
The Christmas Shoppe has grown each year — from its origins at the Stanfield craft sale to the first-floor meeting room. This season, it is on the second floor of the Hospice building. Once one enters the building and sign in, you can follow the red footsteps on the floor that lead you to the elevator, which whisks you up and into the magical wonderland.
The room is sprinkled with lights, colors and even music that sets the Christmas mood. People can find anything from hand-knitted items such as scarfs and pillows to other unique items such as snowmen made out of pine cones that are wearing Duke, N.C. State or North Carolina apparel. There’s also a big table of baked desserts and other sweets like fig preserves and zucchini bread.
“We have a very good group of volunteers who do these crafts,” said Elsie Medlin, who has been a volunteer with the Christmas Shoppe for the past six years after her mother went through hospice care.
“Very appreciative of people who come in and buy them. They get some good gifts and good deals. Something for just about anybody.”
Christine Owens, another volunteer, saw a red, blue and white scarf she particularly liked. She’s also been working at the Christmas Shoppe for six years after her husband was a hospice patient.
“I find it’s fun and, when there’s a lull, we can walk around and shop,” Owens said.
“I find something new every time I walk around.
“I’m wearing a scarf I picked out (Tuesday). I thought about it and thought about it and then I thought ‘I’m working (Wednesday) so if its still there, that’ll be a sign and I’ll buy it.’ So here it is and I bought it.”
Kathy Hicks, volunteer coordinator, said that they have regular customers that visit each year and that it continues to be a popular experience.
“We did have people waiting to get in (Tuesday),” Hicks said.
“They know that it’s happening and its usually people that are here every year.
“They know if they want the items they are looking for, they are here early on the first day so they can make sure to get what they are looking for.”