Over the past 25 years, the Leesburg partnership has created a festive holiday experience known as the Christmas House, where local artisans and craftspeople sell their handmade gifts for the holiday season.
This year, they returned to Main Street in downtown Leesburg, from their previous location at Lake Square Mall. They offered a preview Thursday to early buyers. They will be officially open to the public on Monday (November 1).
“We are delighted to find the Christmas House in our downtown area,” said Joanie Smalley, director of Leesburg Partnership Main Street. “We have about 22 participating vendors this year and they’re all local. You know, our big advantage in the Leesburg partnership is to support the local, to shop local, to shop small, and that’s a great way to do it.
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Handcrafted items include ornaments, baked goods, dolls, quilts, wreaths, woodwork, home decorations and more. These are unique items that people can’t find anywhere else, like character bowling pins aptly named “pine pals” or Christmas trees made entirely from seashells.
The Christmas House is run by volunteers who started setting up a month ago to turn a vacant store into a vacation destination.
“All of our homemade items are brought in and everything needs to be displayed,” said volunteer Jeff Hoousouer. “I have been volunteering here for 12 years. Anything you can do to help our local artisans and businesses is always greatly appreciated.
Shopping at the Christmas House is a family tradition for Debbie Sheraton, who made sure to be there for the premiere Thursday.
“These are precious and one-of-a-kind gifts,” said Sheraton. “And the prices are great. It’s amazing all the talented people that we have here in our region. I always make sure to buy something for everyone in the family as we need to support our community members first. “
A longtime volunteer and artisan, Cindy Smedley also urges people to go out and shop locally for Christmas.
“I love doing this,” Smedley said. “I’ve been volunteering here for 20 years and it’s addicting. If you are a craftsman, it’s in your blood. Everything here is American made. It is the private companies that are supported. This is what made America great.
The Christmas House, 310 W. Main St. Leesburg, opens Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm until December 11. Visit https://www.leesburgpartnership.com/christmashouse/ for more information.