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Sunday, November 15, 1998

Women convert unusual items into Christmas treasures


Staff Writer

The Abilene Civic Center has been transformed into a holiday paradise this weekend.

Wanting to get a jump on their holiday shopping Saturday, throngs of Big Country women, and some men, flocked to the 23rd annual Christmas in November.

Trash-can lids, old church benches and potato mashers may seem like odd things to buy as gifts, but with a little handiwork, they can become beautiful momentos.

Virginia White and her four sisters have operated the Country Christmas booth since 1976.

"We take old quilts and cut them up and make different things like angels and Santas," she said. "We do a lot of the one-of-a-kind items."

Country Christmas is among more than 200 vendors displaying their wares either in the main exhibit hall, foyer or conference center.

White, a homemaker, started the unique family tradition after attending the first Christmas in November, a fund-raiser of the Abilene Business Women's Association.

Gathering some ideas of things she could make at home to sell, she approached her siblings, who operate Formal Dresses in Abilene.

With full-time occupations, the women only work on the gift business when they are able.

"We don't have a lot of time for this," White said, "but we know when Christmas comes around, there's a lot of people that want the items so we'll make them.

Despite changing their selection, which includes seasonal items for Valentine's Day and Halloween, every year, the items are so popular that they regularly sell all their inventory, she said.

White can personalize certain gifts by writing or painting the recipient's name.

One of the best-selling items was a decorative wooden yard pick.

"We made hundreds of them and we run out of them," Orpha White, Virginia's sister, said, "and people want more."

Nancy Thompson of Winters purchased four picks, including one for herself.

"I'm going to give one to each of my grown children to put in their yard," she said, "because I think they're so cute.

"They're so affordable and so festive for the holidays. If you don't like where you put it, just yank it up and go somewhere else."

Proceeds from Christmas in November go to the scholarship fund for the ABWA's Oro Negra Chapter.

To find the Country Christmas booth in the exhibit hall, enter through the north side, turn left and walk to the other doors.

The show continues today from noon-5 p.m. Admission is free.


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