Christmas shop opening Nov. 21

By BETHANNY LAWSON bethannylawson99@gmail.com
Posted 11/15/21

As the holiday season creeps up, Anita Rhodes is turning her barn into a real-life Santa’s workshop.

Rhodes has been an arts and home décor enthusiast her whole life, and her own …

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Christmas shop opening Nov. 21

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As the holiday season creeps up, Anita Rhodes is turning her barn into a real-life Santa’s workshop.

Rhodes has been an arts and home décor enthusiast her whole life, and her own home has always been decked out for the holiday season. Recently, she started a new endeavor to spread the cheer to others.

Nine miles east of Paris on Lower Terre Haute Road, travelers will come across a wooden sign with “Rhodes Herbs” written on it and may recognize the house and barn on the property simply from its whimsical nature and the Christmas lights on the barn. Here, Rhodes is preparing to open a holiday shop selling a host of handmade items like garlands, wreaths, snowmen and more. There is a little bit of everything, and Rhodes guarantees she has whatever a person might need to make their home festive for the holidays.

While this season’s shop will be Rhode’s second year in business, the COVID-19 pandemic made many small businesses like hers feel like the activities of 2020 hardly counted. Prior to the pandemic, Rhodes sold her holiday collections at festivals. When those started getting canceled, her barn seemed like a good spot for people to safely shop, since it is spacious and never forces people to stand close together.

For 25 years, Rhodes has kept busy during the summers by selling herbs and letting people tour her gardens, something she said, “Keeps me occupied and keeps the stress level down.”

As far as home décor goes, Christmas is the only holiday she plans to make things for.

“The other holidays are hit and miss as far as decorations go,” she said, but Christmas is a time when nearly everyone can be expected to put up something as the most prominent holiday of the year.

Rhodes puts together all the items in her shop in a matter of weeks, starting around the first of November. In two to three hours a day, she fills the barn by opening day with ease.

“If I’ve got ideas in my head, and I know where I’m going, it goes fast,” she said.

What is more, it is difficult to find two of Rhodes’ pieces that look alike. She puts an emphasis on doing one-of-a-kind works, and likes to make each piece unique, though for smaller items like wall hangings there may be a few replica pieces. Rhodes’ holiday shop is a place for people to find something they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Kids are not left out either. Rhodes has set aside lower shelves for child shoppers as well, with small items that might cost a quarter. In the future, she envisions old-fashioned Christmas candy selections for children as well.

A Paris resident of 44 years, Rhodes also has two children who share her artistic nature in some form, with one doing landscaping and another running a decorating business of her own.

Keeping her company in the barn as she works are two donkeys, one turkey, three goats and two dogs, who can be heard from the other side of the barn wall if it is close to dinnertime.

Rhodes said her favorite part of this endeavor is creatively expressing things and keeping her mind occupied in the winter months that can be long and dreary for everyone.

“I’m always trying to do something new or different that will give people a little bit of added décor or joy,” she said

The holiday shop has a special opening noon-4 p.m. Nov. 21. After that, the shop will keep weekend hours 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. through Dec. 4. Rhoads also plans to open the shop noon-4 Thanksgiving Day.