As many of you may know by now, 2019 is a special year for us at Christmas Days. On July 4th, we’ll mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the shop. Back then, in 1969, when Vi and Bill Day, Linda’s parents, launched the enterprise, it was known as the Christmas Dove. They were in a partnership with another chain of Christmas shops by that name, and it helped them get started. They rented two rooms in what was then another gift shop on the north side of Manchester known as the Enchanted Doll House, which closed several years ago after a long run. Vi and Bill built the current home of our business in 1972, and we’ve been here ever since. They renamed in Christmas Days back in the early 1980’s when they became fully independent, and so it has been ever since.
We – Linda and Andrew McKeever – took it over in 1987, and it’s a little hard to believe that more than 30 years have passed since then. So many memories just in that time – customers, product lines, events, to say nothing of two great children who helped us out and still do when Santa comes for his October visit, and other times when they’re back in town and able to help in one way or another.
This year will be filled with references and special events, so we hope you’ll return to this blog for the updates. Just to get this launched though, it’s hard not to compare how much the retail world has changed since 1969. Neil Armstrong was nearly ready to walk on the moon and Woodstock was about 6 weeks away. Websites and social media were decades away.
Bricks and mortar businesses like ours struggle to compete with the online universe, and for awhile we sold products over our website (and may do so again sometime) but for now we’re using our site – xmasdays.com – more as a billboard in cyberspace than anything else. We hope it’s useful. We try to keep up an active presence on Instagram and Facebook too. But those are mainly to intrigue you enough to make a personal visit and wander into the shop. You don’t need a password to buy things here.
And that’s likely to be the way things remain. Customer service has always been our mantra, and we try to keep the tradition that Linda’s parents set when they first opened. That was their “competitive advantage” and we hope it still is for us.
As the year goes on I’l probably reminisce about lines we used to carry – Anri, Radko, Lynn Haney Santas, Pipka, Williraye, June McKenna Santas – wow, thinking back on all of them brings some nostalgia. Some are still here – Byers Choice Carolers, Dept. 56 Collectibles, Fontanini Nativities, Old World Glass. We hope they’ll be here and available for a long time to come.
As I write this I remember that one of the main lines of the shop from the very beginning were glass ornaments. Back in 1969, most of them were imported from Europe and most often Germany. Next week, I’ll post a piece we did for one of the newsletters we used to publish on the history of glass ornaments and why they are special and so closely identified with Christmas. Stay tuned!