For a lot of people, the Christmas season creates a certain kind of magic.
That’s always been the case for Doris Crawford, who grew especially enamored of the holiday as a young girl, after her father decided to sell Christmas trees. “I remember walking through the lot with the snow and lights, and the smell of evergreens,” she says. “It was magical.” It’s no surprise Crawford now finds herself the owner of Christmasing With You, a year-round Christmas shop in Excelsior.
Crawford and her husband own Gregory’s, a floral and tuxedo rental shop in Excelsior, and hadn’t really considered getting into the holiday business. But both shared a passion for Christmas, inspiring them to make stops at Christmas stores on a road trip through the Midwest.
“We visited 14 shops in four states,” Crawford says with a chuckle. On this voyage, they stumbled upon a Christmas shop in Ohio, located in a former schoolhouse. It just so happened that the owners were selling the building and the business.
Not ones to impulse-buy a Christmas store from another state, they didn’t take any action right away. But the idea of the store kept coming back. “We sat on it and didn’t do anything for a year, but I kept checking their website to see what was happening,” says Crawford. “After a while, it was still for sale, so we went out and talked to them again and wound up striking a deal.”
Since they didn’t want to move to Ohio, the Crawfords ended up buying all of the inventory and moving it to Minnesota. They opened Christmasing With You last November and run it alongside the floral and tuxedo businesses in their space in Excelsior.
The shop offers a wide array of Christmas-related items, from toys, nativity sets and Santa figurines to stockings, tree skirts and wreaths. The most popular items are Minnesota- and Excelsior-themed ornaments.
“We can’t stock enough of them,” says Crawford. In addition to the items for sale, plenty of fun displays in the shop are sure to catch the eye, including a life-sized singing and dancing reindeer.
Doris runs the day-to-day operations of the store while her husband functions as financial manager and partner in addition to his full-time role elsewhere. “He’s also an absolutely phenomenal Santa Claus, so he does that every Saturday in December,” she says.
Though a year-round Christmas store is extremely niche, the shop has proven to be quite popular with tourists. “I would say that 65 percent of the people who come here are either from another state or another country,” says Crawford. “We’ve been told it looks very similar to the Christmas stores you see in older parts of Europe.”
This year, the Crawfords have lots of ideas to help bring the holiday spirit to Excelsior. Alongside Santa appearances, they hope to host some classes on Christmas tree decorating, wreath making and creating mantel displays. The option of selling homemade fudge is on the to-do list as well. But mostly, they hope to bring their enthusiasm for the holiday season to the community all year long. “Everyone seems to be more considerate of each other during the season; a little bit happier,” says Crawford. “I love the magic of it all.”
Christmasing With You
221 Water St., Excelsior
Gregory’s & Christmasing With You