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1:09 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Ready? Major stores and locals alike look to get the jump on Christmas

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> 
Connie LeFebvre, owner of LeFebvre’s at 101 East Gurley St., has transformed the store’s basement into a Christmas decorating wonderland that is open  Friday-to-Sunday through Christmas.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Connie LeFebvre, owner of LeFebvre’s at 101 East Gurley St., has transformed the store’s basement into a Christmas decorating wonderland that is open Friday-to-Sunday through Christmas.

PRESCOTT - Even though it's been barely a week since the Labor Day holiday has come and gone, stores have already begun to stock their shelves with merry merchandise in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas season.

Keeping up with big box stores, two Prescott small business owners have pulled out their arsenal of holiday decorations in hopes of cashing in on the holiday hoopla.

Connie LeFebvre, owner of Le Febvre's at 101 E. Gurley St., spent more than a month transforming the basement of her store into Santa's Workshop. The workshop is open every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Forty percent of Christmas items are sold before Halloween," LeFebvre said. "You have a 90-day window that you've got to hit. The momentum starts in September."

LeFebvre's store offers visitors a different take on tree decorating by showcasing different themed trees such as a black, white and silver mermaid tree and a circus-inspired Christmas tree decked out with lions, tigers and elephants.

"I do theme trees," LeFebvre said. "I like to pick a theme and do the unusual so that it's not just an ordinary Christmas tree."

From large, glittery tree ornaments to traditional holiday wreaths, many of the decorations featured in LeFebvre's shop aren't something you will find in the aisles of Walmart and Target.

"My goal was to have higher quality items, but at reasonable prices that people can afford to decorate a whole tree or add a few things that they like," LeFebvre said. "You just won't see these decorations everywhere."

Incorporating pink, teal and light greens into Christmas décor is one of the hot holiday trends this year, LeFebvre said.

"Even though those are colors I wouldn't normally use, they were spectacular when I saw them," LeFebvre said. "It totally inspires you to think out of the box."

And of course, no Santa's Workshop would be complete without a sleigh. Visitors of all ages can get their photo snapped in an antique Amish sleigh, accompanied by two stuffed reindeer.

"I wanted to get the magical thing going for the kids, like the feeling you get when you go to Disneyland," LeFebvre said.

While LeFebvre's collection of Christmas merchandise will only be available during the holiday season, across town at Christmas in Prescott, 1235 Willow Creek Road, Christmas is celebrated all year long.

"We've always loved Christmas," owner Donna Albus said. "It's just such a fun business. Everybody that comes in here is real happy."

For eight years Albus and her family have been offering customers a wide variety of ornaments from dinosaurs and snakes to cigars and leprechauns. The store also sells unique, handcrafted ornaments from countries around the world like Poland, Egypt and Holland.

"We have something for almost anyone," Albus said. "We have customers who do several trees. They will do a tree for every room, like a bathroom or a kitchen. And, we actually have ornaments for every room."

In addition to tree ornaments, Albus sells holiday snow-globes and nativity scenes.

"We probably have about 50 different nativity scenes," Albus said.

And like LeFebvre's store, many of the decorations featured in Christmas in Prescott can't be found in retail chains.

While the store is closed from January to April, customers can visit the store's website, www.christmasinprescott.com, throughout the year.

"Even in January and February we get a lot of orders," Albus said. "It's pretty amazing."

Christmas in Prescott is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.