Home for the Holidays!

Published on Thu, Dec 12, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Home for the Holidays!

By Meg Olson

Uniquely ours...
You could get Dad a new tie, or you could get him the world’s toughest yet softest slippers at Goff’s. Your niece probably wouldn’t mind a new Barbie, but you could surprise her with a real porcelain doll from Blaine Bouquet for a staggeringly low price. You can choose to shop in Blaine and Birch Bay and find something unexpected, or head out with the rest of the herd and get the same old thing.

There are other choices that come with holiday shopping... Whose side are you on?! The holiday season can be make or break time for retailers. Every shopper who turns into a Blaine doorway instead of hitting the road helps keep empty storefronts at bay. It helps our communities on the road to becoming a destination for holiday shoppers from other communities.

Anyway, shopping in Blaine and Birch Bay is fun. In two afternoons I crossed everyone off my list, but I also caught up with friends and made some new ones, drank lots of cups of hot cider and sloshed home happy – no traffic, no harried crowds, and no stale coffee.

All I have to do now is wrap, sing Christmas carols and remember to pick up my cheese from the goat lady on Grace Harbor Farms.

  • Sometimes the most appreciated masterpiece comes from your own hands. Join regular Joanne Sheera at J&S Pots and Things on Blaine Road and add a personal touch to everything from cookware to garden elves.
  • Nicole Whitney’s pottery, available at Olason’s Corkscrew Willow sparkles with highlights of colored glass.
  • Lynda Moore puts together an experience in a basket, available at Olason’s Corkscrew Willow.
  • The Blaine Art Center on Peace Portal Drive drips with a dizzying array of original art and prints.
  • Kristin and Sonja at Interior Arts on H Street create playful intriguing things for the home. TOP

Get in the spirit...
From handmade holiday decorations or antique ornaments to miles of cheap tinsel, this town has as much holiday cheer as the North Pole.

Making gifts yourself can make the holidays affordable and fun. Try a supermarket creation – pick up a holiday basket on your way into Cost Cutter and roam the aisles, filling it with someone’s favorite treats, then head to the Dollar Store for a dizzying array of wrappings.

  • The Dollar Store will make your head spin with bows and sparkle.
  • They have everything at RiteAid. Toys, bubble bath, kitchenware, jillions of picture frames and, of course, Christmas.
  • Wreaths at Cost Cutter. TOP

Really big deals...
Small towns tend to suffer from a delusion that if you want a good deal on a big deal, you need to go to the big city. Heck no! Tucked away in this community’s corners are businesses that can compete with the big guys, yet still know where your street is so they don’t get lost delivering it. They probably know your kids, too.

  • Bob Christianson at Pacific Building Center shows off some patio heaters for under $200. Now you can sit around the picnic table on the back porch for a Christmas barbecue, with no whining!
  • Buy your honey a boat! Why not? Walk the docks at the local marinas or head to Diamond Yachts in the Dockside Place building. TOP

Blasts from the past...
All within walking distance of each other in downtown Blaine are a trio of antique stores, brimming with the unusual, the unique and the affordable. Take your time to poke into every corner or you might miss the perfect treasure or a memory you thought you forgot.

  • Radio Shack at the Blaine International Center has a powerful fleet of remote-controlled vehicles.
  • Tucked in behind Blaine Bouquet, Ashley’s Attic is a trip into the kitchens of your childhood, and you can take it with you!
  • At Horseshoe Antiques on Peace Portal Drive you can pick up everything a gentleman should have in his pockets, not to mention the pinball machine he should have in his den. TOP

Kid’s stuff...
From toys advertised on TV to original tools for learning, there seems to be a growing variety of choices for children, and in almost every store you go into.

  • What kid doesn’t like to fish?! Coast to Coast, Peace Portal Drive, fishing central.
  • Don’t know what it is, sort of scary, but kids screech and point at them at Payless Shoes in the Blaine International Center.
  • Got one who hankers to drive a big rig? Turn them into a NAPA driver. The auto parts store on Peace Portal Drive has a limited number of the flashing, beeping behemoths.
  • More than a marine store, more than a resort gift shop, the Semiahmoo Mercantile has an inventive and thoughtful selection of gifts for kids, not to mention clothes, housewares and yes, boat stuff. TOP

Tiny treats
Small enough to fit in a stocking or an envelope but big enough to warm the heart, a trip into any Blaine retailer and a little imagination can come up with a wealth of stocking stuffers. Sometimes though, it pays to think beyond trinkets...

  • Pick their favorite stop for a big frothy mocha and buy them a prepaid card for ten.
  • Surprise them with an early start on a nest egg, like a savings bond from a local bank.
  • They look little, and they don’t cost much, but they solve a big problem. With these little darlings you can put a hook or a grommet that won’t let go anywhere you want on canvas, plastic, anything. Check them out at Blaine Marine Services.TOP

Take a look at this stuff...
Mary Amsberry, Lauri Walter and Kim Miller at Blaine Bouquet have outdone themselves this year. The Peace Portal Drive store is jammed with surprises to make you smile and reach for your wallet. They have beautiful porcelain dolls for less than what their plastic counterparts sell for. They have unforgettable tea sets covered with bright colors and tiny flowers. This is another good spot to build your own gift basket, especially with their selection of treats for bath and body. You can find something to make any gardener smile, decorations for house and garden to get them in the holiday spirit and, of course, order a custom flower arrangement. TOP

Making someone feel good might be the best gift yet, and Blaine is rich with services to relax, realign, renew and restore. From a tanning series at New Edge on H Street, to a new hairstyle at Bayside Beauty on Peace Portal Drive, you can get a gift certificate for a real treat. Blaine is also home to several massage services, including Soul Touch at Blaine Chiropractic and Jacque Horn on Sweet Road.

  • Give someone a new look for the new year with a gift certificate from half a dozen local salons.
  • Blaine is home to a world-class spa whose services are still reasonably priced. How about an afternoon of indulgences? TOP

Tasty treats...
What would the holidays be without indulging in all the little luxuries we avoid during the rest of the year – candies and cakes, triple cream brie and cognac pate, one more glass of wine. There are some places you’d expect to find culinary delights, and others that aren’t so obvious, like special chocolates at a gas station.
A special treat can make a special gift. Think about it. Does uncle Bob want a tie or does he want a pie?

  • Grace Harbor Farms on Drayton Harbor Road is home to a flock of ultra-clean cuddly goats. Thanks to them it’s also home to what may be the best cheese around and handmade goat milk cosmetics.
  • Theresa Paris at Blackberry House is taking orders for pies custom baked for Christmas.
  • For a special bottle of wine or that once a year stogie, head to Birch Bay Liquor Store in the Trend West building. TOP

Christmas Central...
Until December 15, from Wednesday through Sunday, the Birch Bay Garden Center is hosting a craft fair and bazaar featuring local artisans, gifts for gardeners, Christmas photos and a chance to bid on a favorite tree and help local charities. The garden center is also home to Sunshine Hydroponics where you can pick up the ultimate gift for a Northwest gardener – the ability to grow tomatoes at Christmas. TOP

A little of everything...
There is no category for Olason’s Corkscrew Willow. The Peace Portal Drive store has everything to make the mundane special. Something to add to your wash to make it smell like spring and cleaning products that make your home smell like a spa. One of a kind creations by local artisans. A kit for making the perfect pancake. A washcloth to make baths fun for dirty babies. It just goes on and on... TOP

There aren’t many communities that have two candy factories, not to mention dozens of other spots to buthe sweet stuff. Take advantage of it!

  • Hill’s Chevron has more than gas and coffee. Drop in and sample their chocolate truffles. You’ll buy some.
  • It only happens once a year... Totally Chocolate on Pipeline Road throws open its doors until December 8. Meanwhile, over in Birch Bay the C-Shop may be closed for the season but they’re taking Christmas orders at 371-2070. (P.S. I like taffy.)


Going somewhere?
If you’re heading out of town, or heading back, take advantage of the border and stop in at one of Blaine’s duty free stores for out-of-this-world deals on perfume, cosmetics, and other special treats. Store staff can answer your border crossing questions. TOP