Adriana Zoder: Sevier County stores offer great Christmas shopping options

Dec. 14, 2013 @ 11:01 PM

On Nov. 28, I was looking all over the Internet for an Advent calendar. Somebody mentioned a bargain price, like $10 on Amazon, so I was motivated. Alas, I could not find anything lower than $25. I gave up. Besides, I could not decide between felt or wood. I wanted to be able to touch and feel the calendars, and, of course, the online experience lacks in that department.

A few days later, I went hunting for an Advent calendar the old-fashioned way – in a brick-and-mortar store. How 20th century of me, I know, but I really wanted my children to experience the fun of opening a small door every day and counting down to Christmas. Not that we need to build any more excitement about gifts. My plan is to have daily activities written on small pieces of paper, which will help us focus more on Jesus’ gift to us.

So, armed with patience, I started at Old Time Pottery in Pigeon Forge. No luck. They carry lots of Christmas decor, but not Advent calendars. Would the store next door, Tuesday Morning, have it? They did! The clerk lead me right to the shelf where they had three wooden calendars left, super cute and just the right size. I opened the small doors, admired the paint, looked at the price ($25 – same as Amazon) and decided it simply had to come home with me.

My next stop was at the Christmas store. I checked out their felt Advent calendars – very pretty, by the way, and in the $10-$20 range – but decided that I really wanted a wooden one. So I declared myself happy with my purchase at Tuesday Morning.

I did buy a simple wreath at the Christmas store. I knew we had several bows and ornaments at home. A girl does not have to be Martha Stewart to put a few things on a wreath and make it presentable.

I do want to commend the Christmas store staff for encouraging me to go the “do-it-yourself” route. After directing me to their bow section, the lady said, “You know, if you have ribbon at home, you can do this yourself.” Once she gave me permission not to buy a bow from them, I felt better.

The other thing I was looking for during the same trip was Christmas books for younger children. I got an idea of which titles I wanted, but could not decide to actually buy them on Amazon. First, I wanted to check out the great selection at the Book Warehouse in Pigeon Forge.

I found a couple of good titles: a collection of Christmas stories that show the spirit of giving in the lives of contemporary children, as well as the classic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

In their Bargain Basement, everything is $1. That’s right, folks, $1. I found great selections like “Art for Dummies” and a literature curriculum for small children.

I think you know where I am going with this. Shopping online is convenient, but some of the shops we have around us in Sevier County offer amazing prices. The luxury of actually holding the item in your hands before deciding to buy should tip the balance in their favor, too. For most of the people on your list, you can probably find something in your hometown stores. Just sayin’.

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas!

Adriana Zoder, a Gatlinburg resident, is a writer and homeschooling mom. She and her husband have two children. She maintains the blog www.homeschoolways.com.