By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership along with businesses all over Starkville are hosting the 2011 Christmas Open House tomorrow. The day of Christmas shopping also features the special “Cookies with Santa” event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the GSDP.
Tickets are $10 per child (no charge for accompanying adults) and include a professional photo with Santa and a goodie bag of iced Christmas cookies provided by Aramark. Tickets can be bought the day of the event. There will not be appointments made for the photos. Pictures will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
“We’ll have a beautiful backdrop with a mantle with stockings and a Christmas tree,” Gregory said. “The pictures are going to be great for Christmas cards or gifts to family members.”
Gregory said that all of the proceeds from the event will be given to the United Way of North Central Mississippi.
The day of shopping was supposed to conclude with the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of the courthouse, but due to a shipping delay on the 17-foot, LED commercial Christmas tree, the lighting has been postponed to Monday, Nov. 28, immediately following the Christmas Parade.
Gregory said businesses all over Starkville are participating in this day of shopping and fun to welcome in the Christmas season.
“This is the Starkville Christmas Open House, so businesses from Main Street, Russell Street, Highway 12 and more will be taking part,” Gregory said. “Most businesses will open at 12 p.m., but some are opening as early as 11 a.m. This is such a long-standing tradition in Starkville, and the retailers really go all out for the people of Starkville.”
One such store is Kim’s Hallmark on Russell St. Catherine Saxon and Cindy Williams both work at the Hallmark Store and said they’ve been getting ready for Sunday for several weeks.
“It’s just so exciting,” Williams said. “It’s just a really fun day. You see so many of your friends and loyal customers, and we get to show off all of our great holiday merchandise. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into getting ready for the open house, but the day is so special and so much fun for us that it makes it all so worth it.”
Saxon said they will have a few special events going on at their store Sunday.
“We’ll have lots of food and refreshments,” Saxon said. “Open house really brings the town together.”
Williams said they are offering specials on some merchandise and are also giving out door prizes to shoppers throughout the day.
Pat Ramsey of Occasions on Main Street said they take advantage of the day to showcase some great gift ideas for the holidays and help out a few husbands in the process.
“We actually have a form customers can fill out and list things they see in the store that they might want for Christmas,” Ramsey said. “Then we contact their husband (or) boyfriend and drop some hints for what their wife or girlfriend might want for Christmas. The guys are always relieved to get some guidance and the ladies love it because they know they’re going to love their gift.”
Ramsey said she loves the tradition of the day, often seeing mothers shopping with their daughters and sisters shopping together.
“It’s just one of our favorite days of the year,” Ramsey said. “It’s the first day that things really start to feel like Christmas.”