Originally Published: December 4, 2008 11:15 p.m.
Prescottonians looking for a few Christmas decorating ideas need go no farther than the center of the city.
Numerous shops surrounding the plaza display examples of themed Christmas trees, garlands and plenty of items to hang on them.
And walking around the plaza can remind you just why Christmas in Prescott can be magical.
Starting on the north side of the plaza, the Prescott General Store features old-fashioned Saint Nicks, nativities, signs, music boxes and ornaments - lots and lots of ornaments, with themes ranging from Southwestern to Old World to outdoors.
Personalized ornaments are among the popular sellers. Local artisans created some of them.
"My other hot item this year is Sock Monkeys," owner Rhonda Strachan said. Some of these retro stuffed-sock animals in her store are other species, and some are ornaments.
Candles always help set a festive holiday mood, and just about all the stores selling Christmas décor carry aromatic candles. Soy candles are a new trend because they burn cleaner, Strachan said.
Across Montezuma Street at A Thing or Two, owner Ginny King offers classes on Christmas tree decorating.
"We give them the tricks of the trade for professional decorating," said King, who used to get paid to decorate hotel trees.
Black-and-green trees are among the latest trends, King said. Her store features those colors on an artificial white tree.
Other trees in the store focus on baby items, cranberries and snowmen.
A Thing or Two's specialty gift baskets help shoppers spread the fun to friends.
Going south on Whiskey Row, the Cat's Meow features a "Christmas corner" all year with supplies for trees, garlands, wreaths and tables such as pressed flowers and ribbons.
The Cat's Meow has themed trees throughout the store.
"If you stick with a theme, everything works together," manager Lisa Gauthier said. "We fill in spots with ribbon to add color and depth."
Victorian is a popular theme this year, and it is the store's specialty, Gauthier said.
The Cat's Meow moved from the north side of the plaza to the west side this year, and added a café with Starbucks coffee and fudge to keep shoppers fueled.
A block to the west of the plaza along Granite Street, Fancy That features old-fashioned trees, decorated garland, Santas, elves and even gingerbread houses made of resin.
It helps to focus on a few prominent locations to decorate in homes, such as the entryway, fireplace mantle, coffee table and the corner of a kitchen counter/island, said Fancy That owner Sara Murray, who has a degree in interior design.
Her store has written handouts that offer customers ideas about the concepts of layering and grouping wreaths and candles.
Murray loves all the new battery-operated candles, some of which are even scented.
If you don't find all your Christmas supplies downtown, you're likely to find the rest of what you're seeking at Christmas in Prescott, located at the corner of Willow Creek and Black streets.
Thousands of ornaments focus on themes such as pets, gingerbread, candy, instruments, western, occupations, sports, nutcrackers and even tractors.
Tree themes include Irish, Italian, western, wild animals, birds and butterflies. Garland over doorways sport fishing and fairies themes. Mountain and ranching themes always are popular, Christmas in Prescott store owner Donna Albus said.
Chimney stockings, carolers, Santas, nativities and light strands also are available at Christmas in Prescott.
Shiny metal colors such as gold, bronze, brass and copper are hot this year, Albus reported. So are tiny artificial trees for the kitchen with food and utensil ornaments.
In true Christmas spirit, Albus offers her customers free hot coffee and cookies.
Shoppers can peruse and purchase her items on the Internet at www.christmasinprescott.com. She'll even mail them out to friends and family for you.
"It makes it a lot easier," she noted.
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