By JEAN HAVENS
Black Friday has come and gone, and the local Christmas shopping experience has officially kicked off with the annual Thompson House Victorian Christmas sale.
This annual fundraising event combines the background of the Victorian period with holiday crafts and gifts, creating a unique experience for both the shopper and the history lover. Christmas items are displayed throughout the historical home, with a portion of the proceeds helping fund the upkeep and maintenance of the site.
Xan Bryant, member of the Thompson House board, said Friday’s event was successful because many people stopped by to shop. The Victorian Christmas sale always has a variety of vendors who offer jewelry, scarves, Christmas ornaments and baby blankets, among other things.
“The vendors are local people or organization members who bring in their products to sell,” Bryant said. “There is a vendor’s fee, and we receive a commission.”
Bryant said the biggest profit-maker are the baked goods.
“Community people, not all members of the Thompson House, donate baked goods for us to sell,” she said.
Margo Terrapin said people love to visit the house to purchase baked goods, look at all the items for sale and to see the house.
“All that for a dollar donation,” said Terrapin.
Volunteer Maryanne Carter agreed, saying the Thompson House has a lot of history.
“I have come every year,” Carter said. “I always come through and pick up special Christmas gifts, or something for me that I like.”
Mae Rigsby is another regular customer.
“I love the house,” she said. “The sale is a good reason to come see the house.”
Rigsby buys baked goods for her husband every year, as well as anything she finds that she can’t live without.
Another regular customer, Artha McGinnis, enjoys the mix of shopping and history.
“There are lots of beautiful things here, and being in an historical home is great,” said McGinnis. “There’s nothing like history, and Tahlequah is a very historical town.”
McGinnis shops for Christmas presents, but usually finds something for herself, too.
Joyce Van Nostrand donates baked goods to the cause, and believes having Christmas items for sale in the Victorian setting is a wonderful idea.
“It makes good use of the house, and gives people ideas for other uses for the house,” she said. “I come to see what catches my eye. So far, it’s glass ornaments.”
Sara Lamb is also a regular Victorian shopper.
“I love it,” she said. “I love to browse and see what they have.”
Lamb said she thought there was a greater variety of items this year than last.
For some local shoppers, including Delena Goss, it was their first experience at the Thompson House event.
"I love seeing all the Christmas items," Goss said. "It puts you in the spirit of Christmas."
Sue Abshier and Vanessa Martin traveled from Wagoner. They were in Tahlequah to do some Christmas shopping, noticed the Thompson House was open, and stopped in for a visit and a chance to shop.
“I’ve been driving by this house for 10 years or so, and have been wanting to come in for years,” Abshier said. “I love Victorian houses, and I live in one. This house is what I expected. I have visited many Victorian houses, and many of them don’t have the Victorian furniture. This one does, and that is an added bonus, because it creates the period atmosphere.”
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