Christmas is not a time nor a season,
but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill,
to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
(Calvin Coolidge 1872 – 1933)
They used to say that if a visit to Rick Rutherford’s Country Lawson (Blue Mountains NSW) store didn’t get you in the Christmas mood, nothing would!
Though the store is now closed – allowing yours truly to pursue many other interests, relish in being able to indulge in the website and blog here, and dream up all sorts of Christmas creativity for everyone to enjoy – it just wouldn’t be right if this section of the site didn’t feature just a few images of the store – back in the day – decked to the nines during just one annual festive showing!
The season was always launched with a special invitation-only gathering for up to 300 guests, stretched across five two-hour sessions, at the end of October or very start of November (depending when the closest Saturday fell on the calendar). Every part of the ten-room gallery was decked to the nines. And every tree and decoration within each room reflected the theme of the space, whether it be Victorian, Retro, Folk, Children’s, Coastal etc. Often there would be more than 40 glittering Christmas trees put up throughout the building, together with all the room decorations, nativities, textiles and trims to complement. Even the exterior of the building was dressed with swags and lights and one year there was even a huge cut-out wooden nativity attached to the hip of the roof!
It would take up to ten months to assemble all the elements for each showing, with product sourced from all over the world and so many collectable Christmas wares not to be found anywhere else. And to add even more madness to one’s life, the showings were conducted in the middle of the year – throughout the month of July – as well, in celebration of Yulefest. It is therefore little wonder that the gallery fast gained the reputation as ‘The Christmas Shop’ of the Blue Mountains, which was wonderful for seasonal trade but not such a blessing for the other nine months of the year!
Visitors each year would proclaim that the displays would rival the best Christmas exhibits seen in some of the famous stores of Europe and America. The English room would be dominated by a towering tree covered in the most beautiful glass ornaments; the Victorian room would be all vintage and soft golds and silver. In the Cottage room there was often a ‘Blue Ice’ tree, Faith tree, one covered in glass lollies and ice cream sundaes, and another that was all white ornaments and snowflakes. The Rick Rutherford’s Country permanent year-round Christmas room at the back of the shoppe was always re-designed for the showings, often with a very distinctive Scandinavian and gingerbread theme while the Children’s room – with its smart red mantelpiece – was dressed to await the arrival of Santa Claus himself.
It’s no wonder that folks used to say that if Rick Rutherford’s Country won’t get you in the Christmas mood … nothing would! But now y’all have two Christmas books published by yours truly to celebrate the season the RRC way, plus the promise of lots more festive inspirations, some products to purchase and maybe even a YouTube tutorial or two on the way so we can all still really ‘go to town’ and celebrate the joy and blessings of the season together!