For many people, Christmas trees are taken down and ornaments stored away at the end of December, but at the Christmas Shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town, the trees remain up – and decorated – year round.
And this year, a new owner has taken the reins of the more than 40-year-old shop.
Elizabeth “Liz” Kingswood took over the store in September after the former owners sold the business earlier this year to her landlord, J.J. Mancini.
Kingswood, who owns and operates Whimsy Tea, Gifts, and Giggles in the same building as the Christmas Shop, said she was approached by Mancini to run the business because he believed she would be a “good fit” with her experience running an Old Town gift shop and she agreed.
But taking over the business only a few months before Christmas meant that Kingswood had to start completely from scratch since the store’s old stock had been entirely sold off and she opened months after most stores put in their holiday orders for the season.
“It was quite a task to figure out how to go from zero to 60 because we were heading into the Balloon Fiesta,” she said.
Tucked behind the San Felipe de Neri Church at 400 Romero NW, the Christmas Shop has served as a year-round place for tourists and locals alike to find unique, handcrafted items for the holidays.
Kingswood said she wanted to pay homage to the original owners by keeping traditional decorations like nativity scenes on the shelves, while also adding other more eclectic items, like a cactus donned with cactus-shaped ornaments.
“So there’s a part of the Christmas Shop now that’s just fun and … it makes you happy, and then we also have the really nice, more sort of serious side with all the nativities and whatnot,” Kingswood said.
She said the focus is on New Mexico-themed ornaments and local artisans and she is currently in the process of connecting with some of the old vendors who sold to the former owners.
“What you can get in our shop you really can’t get anywhere else,” she said, referencing items like Native American-made ornaments and New Mexico themed alien ornaments.
The Christmas Shop is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.