I have some extremely good news to report for those of us in the New York metropolitan area: we have a comeback for one of our great iconic Christmas stores. It’s the old Fairfield Home & Garden Center on Route 46 in Fairfield, New Jersey. Original owners John and Jody Fernicola (very nice folks with whom I am acquainted) created a new business 2 years ago in the original building of the old home & garden center called Jody’s Silk Florist & Patio Center. And unlike last year when they only carried a small line of Christmas goods, this year, for 2009, they are getting back into the Christmas business full-throttle. That means they will not only be carrying a full and extensive line of premium Christmas goods (pre-lit artificial trees, lights, ornaments, accessories, etc.), but they are also bringing back the beloved Christmas Ice Caverns! The new Ice Caverns will be a totally revamped reincarnation of its predecessor with many new animated figures and displays. John told me he expects the Christmas store to be fully operational by early October, and the new Ice Caverns display to be ready to welcome its first visitors by early November. In addition to all this (yes, there’s more), John and Jody will be employing full-time the local North Jersey favorite Wayne Town Santa, who has endeared himself to folks in the area over the last several years as the Santa Claus at the now defunct Wayne Town Center shopping mall. This Christmas store comeback is very welcome news for an area that has lost virtually all of its great Christmas shops over the last few years. So if you’re in the area, please make it a point to stop by and honor them with your patronage, as well as visit the new Christmas Ice Caverns and say hello to the Wayne Town Santa -- it will be an awesome part of your holiday season celebration. By the way, just so there is no misunderstanding, John’s brother, Jim Fernicola, still operates the Fairfield Garden Center next door. The business that closed and then later re-opened as Jody’s Silk Florist & Patio Center was the now defunct Fairfield Home & Garden Center. Many folks often got these 2 businesses confused because of their very similar names. And just in case anyone doesn’t already know, at the Fairfield Garden Center next door, Jim sells an array of outdoor goods such as plants, shrubs and trees.
This is that time of year when the new Christmas CD releases are announced by the record companies. And as I have already posted on the message board, there are two so far that have already been announced. The greatest of these by far is the CD release of three of the Living Strings and Living Voices Christmas LPs; in case you haven’t read my post on it, click here. The other new CD announced so far is that of the King Family’s 1965 Christmas LP; and for that post, click here. As of this writing, Gordon Anderson (Sr. VP & GM at Collectors’ Choice Music) is still waiting for a response from UMG (Universal Music Group) to his company’s formal request to release on CD the 1958 stereo version of Mantovani’s Christmas Carols LP. I am proud to say that this request on the part of Collectors’ Choice Music came about as a result of my suggestion to Gordon Anderson. I’m extremely excited about the prospect that this classic and legendary LP might finally get its due and be released on CD; however, my enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that dealing with UMG can be, quite frankly, like trying to get blood out of a stone. Nevertheless, I am cautiously optimistic. For updates on its possible release, and for those who are new to the message board and would like to read the full story on this pending CD, click here.
Finally, as a reminder for all those who enjoy Christmas music 365 days a year, just click on Live365 for a vast selection of all-Christmas radio stations. It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit!
That’s it for now folks, but I’ll be back soon with another edition of “Chip’s Tips.” In the mean time, have a great Labor Day holiday weekend, stay well and don’t forget to keep the spirit of Christmas all year through.
*[Edit of 09/05/09: added embedded hyperlink for Christmas Ice Caverns]