Contributed by Charice Chambers
Christmas is a magical time, filled with scents, sounds and sensations unique to the season. It’s a Christmas carol, nutmeg in eggnog, sparkling stars on clean cold nights, and the crèche in the church nave.
For many, the season revolves around the Christmas tree, and generally, a new ornament is added each year, creating history and a family story. The Matsu Senior Center Gift Shop is ready with many unique ornaments to create or enrich your family story.
This year, creative artist Patty Halley of Arctic Belles has added native angels holding crosses, birds and heavenly musical instruments to her collection of small Alaskan dolls. Her new creations add variety to her current grouping of dolls, which can be found knitting, gardening, painting, cooking, dancing, fishing, hunting, and more.
After creating a “really cool” Christmas stocking for her soccer-obsessed daughter, Gale Glenn wanted to copy it. Unable to recut the precise patterns necessary using traditional means, Glenn decided to try a laser cutter. Not only did it work for her soccer patterns, it did so much more. Soon she was turning out etched and cut products in paper, wood, metal and Lucite. She’s even used the laser to cut designs in food and etch rocks. Fortunately, this season she addressed Christmas ornaments and offers several designs including three-dimensional wild life scenes, views of the Northern Lights and whimsical bears wrapped in birch bark ovals.
If there’s golfer in your life, a snowman golf head is a must. Local artist Kristen Spences’ snowman creations feature a variety of cartoonish faces with carrot noses. There is even one snowman face featuring a nose bent completely sideways – for the golfer with his nose perpetually out of joint.
Dale Adler loves the smell of wood, and as a retiree, just can’t be parted from his lathe. With a lovely collection of twig vases already on display in the gift shop, Aldler has branched out. He has now included hand-crafted solid birch Christmas ornaments. Designed in drop and oval styles, the ornaments are stained in both traditional tones and Christmas tints to add grace to the Christmas tree. Adler has also created a line of wood carved “skittles” trees, covered with small skittle-like dots representing Christmas lights. Lovely by themselves, or added to your Christmas village, the carvings will bring warmth to Christmas displays.
Of course, presents are a very large part of Christmas, especially for the younger set. The gift ship features a wide array of handcrafted gifts that will please any child or the child in anyone. Raggedy Ann’s and Andy’s await adoption. A variety of children’s (and adult’s) parkas fill the rounders. Shelves are stuffed with shy Alaskan gnomes in a variety hats and outfits. Doll parkas complete with skirt and leggings to fit American girl sized dolls can be found in a variety of Alaskan themed prints. For anyone and everyone, there are Alaskan Hug dolls, a unique trademarked design created by Linda Harris and Patty Warren. The dolls exude the essence of true Alaskan hospitality.
Native masks, children’s mukluks, native baskets and jewelry of all kinds insure success in finding that “just right” gift for anyone on your shopping list.
Located at 1132 South Chugach Street in Palmer, across from Palmer Junior Middle School, the gift shop is open to all, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, through the 21st of December.