If you live in an apartment in Charlotte, NC and you want to start your holiday shopping or just get in the spirit of the season, then head to Charlotte for The Southern Christmas Show. More than 100,000 visitors are expected during its run through Nov. 23 at The Park Expo and Conference Center.
“There’s a reason the show runs that long – we need that much time to get everyone through,” said David Zimmerman, president of Southern Shows.
Each year at the show there is a different theme; for 2014 it’s “All Aboard for Christmas.” The show is teaming up with the N.C. Transportation Museum to create a train-themed entrance and for a special display of train artifacts. And tiny trains, always a popular attraction at the show, will be there again as Metrolina Model Railroaders continue their tradition of displaying trains that wind their way through miniature country villages.
“We’re finding that people really want to see nostalgic things that take them back to their childhood, and for a lot of people that’s a train set under the Christmas tree,” said Zimmerman.
With 6 acres of seasonal shopping, holiday decor ideas, food and entertainment, the show strives to appeal to a broad range of interests. Staples are the Olde Towne Village with its 50 shops filled with gifts, ornaments and other decorations. On Christmas Tree Lane, a dozen Fraser firs from the N.C. mountains are decked out in different styles by professional designers (photographs are encouraged in case you want to steal some of the ideas for your home).
Here is what’s new and in-demand this year:
Items for pets are a growing segment of the show’s offerings. “People are so crazy about their pets these days, especially dogs, that they’re going to have a present or stocking for their pet,” said Zimmerman.
“One of our vendors (Don’t Forget the Bone) makes Park Packs that are tote bags filled with everything you would need to spend a day away from home with your dog.” Kelly’s K-9 Kitchen will have dog treats in flavors that sound tempting to humans – crispy peanut butter cookies, cheese wafers and jerky. There are high-end, designer-inspired accessories from Clara’s Collars. Barbara’s Canine Catering’s offerings include dog toys, holiday apparel and pet-themed Christmas cards.
And when it comes to people, interest in honey has “skyrocketed,” he said. Cloister Honey in Charlotte will have whipped, infused and traditional honeys ranging from hot jalapeno to wildflower blends. Capital Bee Company from Savannah will bring honeys including orange blossom, raspberry and holly, plus handcrafted honey soap, lip balms, body lotions and candles.