Even as families carve jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween, anticipation is building for the Christmas season. In Columbus, holiday events kick off Nov. 3-5 with the Downtown Columbus Christmas Open House. Twenty-two participating merchants will be festively decked out for shoppers Nov. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 15 of the 22 stores will be open from 1-5 p.m.
Generous downtown merchants have donated gift certificates worth more than $1,000 as prizes, said Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow.
“Two lucky shoppers will have the opportunity to win one of two downtown shopping sprees valued at over $500 each,” she said. “Who does not enjoy gift certificates at Christmas time, or any time of the year?”
Winners will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Christmas Open House is a unique opportunity for many downtown merchants to showcase their products including clothing, food, hand-crafted furniture, gifts, jewelry, art and more, Bigelow added.
Merchants are busy preparing. Party and Paper owner Susan Mackay is a veteran of many Open House events.
“It’s a great festive time downtown, and you’ll see lots of wonderful things and take part in discounts. It’s a great way to start your Christmas shopping,” said Mackay, whose store at 411 Main St. will boast 10 Christmas trees, gourmet foods to sample, in-store specials and a variety of fall and holiday items.
One newer participant is Steel Forest Furniture Co. Owner and designer Chip Gerber and staff are readying for their first full-fledged Christmas Open House after recently relocating from Main Street to 124 Fifth St. S.
“We’re looking forward to it. With more space, we have the ability to showcase more items and have a lot of different ones for the holidays we’re manufacturing,” said Gerber, who crafts custom steel furniture and accessories. “Some of these ideas are suggestions from customers, and we encourage that.”
An added Open House feature this year will be the Golden Triangle Chapter of Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) selling popcorn at the corner of Main and Fifth Streets as a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization. PRAM is a statewide network of public relations professionals. Members share knowledge and provide a forum for networking with other public relations practitioners at monthly meetings.
“Each year, we anxiously await the arrival of the holiday season, a time to celebrate with our families, reminisce about the past and make new memories for the future,” said Bigelow. “The holidays bring a special magic to the air and the Christmas Open House is the first sign that the season has begun. You certainly don’t want to miss out on it or any of our downtown holiday activities — and how about those fabulous door prizes?”
More holiday events
The Downtown Open House will be followed by the Holiday Farmers’ Market Nov. 18, the Lighting of the Christmas Tree Nov. 27 at the east end of the Old Highway 82 pedestrian bridge downtown, Wassail Fest Dec. 1 and the Columbus Christmas Parade Dec. 4.
To learn more about Downtown Christmas Open House or other holiday events, contact Main Street Columbus at 662-328-6305 or any participating business.
Columbus Downtown Christmas Open House participating merchants (as of Oct. 19)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.