It’s finally November, so naturally, it’s time to start talking about Christmas! You can never begin your Christmas shopping list too early. And, we’ve got an event to help you tackle that holiday shopping list in one weekend. The best part? You can shop right here in Athens! The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Athens are excited to announce that the 28th annual Athens Christmas Open House will soon be here. The event will take place all day on Saturday, November 22 and from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM on Sunday, November 23.
The annual shopping extravaganza features retail merchants and restaurants throughout Athens ready to assist shoppers with tackling their Christmas gift wishes. Businesses participating in Christmas Open House will offer in-store specials, refreshments, door prizes, and have registration cards for the Grand Prize compliments of Hobbs Jewelers. Additional Christmas festivities will be held in downtown Athens during the two day event. Santa will make his grand arrival to the Athens square by fire truck on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM, and will be available for photos until 4:00 PM each day at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning, located at 121 South Marion Street. The ASU Center for Lifelong Learning will also be offering a number of festive activities and classes during Christmas Open House weekend including: Ornamental Wreath class and cupcake decorating while you wait for your photo with Santa! Contact the ASU Center for Lifelong Learning for more information on these classes and more.
Other downtown activities include carolers and entertainment, cookies from Mrs. Claus, visits from whimsical Christmas characters, and carriage rides around the square. This family friendly annual event promises to be a weekend filled with unique shopping, yuletide fellowship, and holiday fun for all to enjoy!
Jennifer Williamson, President,
Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce
I sat in the board room of the Chamber of Commerce listening to Jennifer talk about the upcoming Open House, and for a moment she was in the best of all roles: that of a mom. She and her husband have a two year old son, and her excitement about the fact that he was starting to get old enough to truly enjoy the holidays was dear to watch. With her “Mom hat” on, her eyes twinkled as she said, “It kick starts our holiday season, and it builds memories.” We talked about holidays of days gone by, and how much things had changed as the season seems to have lost a good deal of its warmth and purpose.
I asked her what she liked about the Open House, not from the standpoint of being President of the Chamber, but as a wife and mom. She said, “What I like about it is that you don’t have to go to the mall. Everything is right here. We have carolers singing and strolling on the square. It’s unique, warmer, and friendlier, kind of a throwback to older times.” She also was grateful for the role the ASU Center for Lifelong Learning had been in helping the Open House be a success. “You can shop, eat, and even learn something,” she said, and added, “That’s not something that you are going to get at a mall, either.”
She put her “Chamber hat” back on and talked about the support the Open House brings to our local economy. “We also want people to know that it is not just businesses located on the square that are participating. Hobbs Jeweler’s and Shea Leigh’s are also part of the event,” she said. Jennifer then added, “One of the things that the off-square businesses do is have paper elves tucked away somewhere in the store. If you find their hiding place and return them to their ‘rightful home’ at the Chamber of Commerce, there is a surprise waiting for you. The kids love it.” Some of the stores serve refreshments as well.
If you are wanting a successful holiday shopping trip with a tender, small town feel, beautiful decorations, music, carriage rides, classes and more, then come make some memories on November 22nd and 23rd at the Athens Christmas Open House.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner – AthensNow