OLAH Christmas Shoppe open for holiday season

By Randy Johnston

Special to the Herald Review

EVART — The glittering tree adorned with handcrafted ornaments takes center stage this year at the fifth annual Osceola League for Arts and Humanities Christmas Shoppe.

With the Christmas tree as centerpiece, volunteers have been busy for weeks creating a gala Christmas village atmosphere for the grand opening of the popular Christmas Shoppe.

Patrons can bring their Christmas list and shop for a fascinating array of fine art, crafts and distinctive one-of-a-kind creations in a nostalgic small town atmosphere combining old-fashioned plank flooring, wainscoted walls and original tin ceiling tiles with twinkling lights, garlands, wreaths and tinsel.

The Christmas Shoppe is open now through Dec. 21 and has extended holiday shopping hours — from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Area residents will enjoy browsing for a wide variety of gifts created by local artists and craftsmen including oil and watercolor paintings, stained glass, jewelry, handbags, photography, pottery and knitted, embroidered and crocheted items.

Customers can shop for special touches to decorate every home, including sparkling centerpieces, quaint figurines, snowmen and Santas.

Ornate and classic tree ornaments also will be available. Starting at $1, they are thoughtful gifts and stocking stuffers as well. Choose from cloth, wooden, beaded and vintage Victorian styles.

New items for this year include custom-crafted coin rings that combine history with precious metal designed by silversmith Paul Maitre from Mecosta.

Mary Lloyd, of Sears, also is a newcomer. She resurrects neglected items, transforming them into useful treasures.

A vintage train travel case, for example, takes on new life as a carrying case for Fido’s water and food dishes, leash and favorite toys. A discarded tea kettle adds a quaint touch to the garden as a snug bird house.

Longtime league member, Bonnie Neumann, also offers a recently published book of poetry called, “Sharing Memories, Gathered Words.”

“I’m amazed that northern Michigan has so many talented artists and craft people,” said Marion resident Linda Fordyce who visited the shop for the first time. “It’s a wonderful American tradition and it’s nice to see folks in Osceola County carrying on traditional crafts and preserving a lot of ethnic influences from the old world. The shop has a great blend of fabric, glass and wood that makes it interesting visually and fun to browse in.”

League secretary Renee Tolgo said she is looking forward to this year’s offerings from local artists.

“We’ve been working hard to get everything ready for this year’s Christmas Shoppe,” Tolgo said. “I appreciate the help from all our volunteers who’ve done such a great job to find artistic and eye-catching ways to display the quality arts and crafts our local artists have to offer. I think folks will love the Christmas atmosphere and bright and cheery look of the shop and we hope to welcome many of them here.”

The Christmas shop provides a venue for local artists to exhibit their works. A portion of all sales is donated to the league for operating expenses and to sponsor other activities.

New artists are always welcome. To learn more about the league and how to take part in the Christmas Shoppe or other programs, contact Tolgo at (231) 388-5749.

The Osceola League for Arts and Humanities studio and Christmas Shoppe is at 207 N. Main St. in Evart.