Friday was a festive day at Vermont Woods Studios.  We had our 8th annual company Christmas party and gift exchange.  I picked up our tree at Rotary’s, annual Christmas Tree Sale during my Thursday night shift (the Rotary Club I belong to sells Christmas trees to raise money for it’s Gateway Scholarship Foundation).  Ken brought the tree back to Stonehurst in his Beverly Hillbillies-style trailer and Douglas and our star sales staff put it up and decorated it.  Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

Of course the tree is local (from Craftsbury, VT) and it’s decorated with memorabilia from Pine Top, the lost ski area that our fine furniture and art gallery now sits upon.  That’s a “rope tow” you see stretching from the bottom to the top of the tree and there are a couple stylish 1950s era skiers ascending it, courtesy of my thoughtful sister, Ann.  There are also some beautiful handcrafted decorations (painted by our friend Donna Scully) which can be purchased in the showroom.

In the afternoon we had a potluck lunch with lots of delicious treats, including the most decadent brownies I think I’ve ever tasted.  Following that (with a little work squeezed in between) was a Yankee swap of American made gifts (somehow Neville managed to take home the most coveted gift– a bottle of Jack Daniels).

After work we all reconvened at Terrazza Restaurant at the Greenfield Country Club in Greenfield, MA to finish off the days festivities.  Does it sound like we do a lot of partying at Vermont Woods Studios?  Well, we try to.  Work hard, play occasionally.  That’s not a bad recipe for success is it?  Let us know on Facebook, what you do to celebrate Christmas with your colleagues.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Here's a great story and just in time for Christmas.  Resarchers at The University of Chicago did a series of experiments to demonstrate that other animals (besides humans) can be kind, compassionate and unselfish.

They used pairs of rats.  One rat was locked in a tube and the other was free outside the tube.  Free rats were able to figure out how to liberate their imprisoned pals.

So they did.  Pretty cool, right?

But the amazing thing is that even when a favorite treat (chocolate chips!) was placed on the scene, the free rats unlocked their friends FIRST even though they subsequently had to share!   “Basically they told us (freeing another rat) is as important as eating chocolate,” said study author Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. “That’s a very striking thing.  In some cases, the rats first took the chocolate chips out of a container, but didn’t eat them, then freed the other rat and shared “almost as if they were serving them chocolate.”

So Ken says the lesson is to eat chocolate chips with your friends this Chirstmas, but there might just be something more that we could learn from rats.

Oh, I wasn't going to mention this but it IS a critical part of the study.  Female rats freed their pals every time.  17 of the 24 males did and… sadly… there were days when the male rats took the day off from helping their trapped partner althogether.  But the females never did.

Enough said 😉

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Give-hopeAll across the USA people are talking about giving Christmas Gifts that are “Made in America” and– we’re beginning to see some pretty impressive results in the form of job creation.

Well, here’s another way do something great with your holiday shopping.  How about donating to local food pantries and shelters in honor of the people on your Christmas list?  Instead of scrambling around trying to figure out what on earth to get all those people who already have everything, why not honor them by helping someone who’s hungry or cold?

Give the gift of hope to those who have lost hope.  How many parents who were in a position just like you and me very recently–  have no job today?

In our area we have many local organizations in need of donations, including the Reformer Christmas Stocking, Feed the Thousands and The Vermont Food Bank, in addition to local churches that each have a program to give hope and help.  This year the need is more critical than ever.

What’s interesting is that when given a choice, all of the people I polled said they would rather have this kind of donation given in their name than receive another pair of gloves for Christmas.  I bet your friends would say the same.  What do you think?

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Heifer-holiday-giftsThat's you!  Let's be honest. If you're reading this, you can probably count yourself among the "ones who have everything" right?  And your friends and family are in that group too.  OK, I'm not trying to be a big grinch and stomp down on all our Cyber Weekend shopping fun.  I'm just suggesting that some of the frenzy whipped up over these unbelievable deals is a bit contrived– maybe you and those on your List don't really need or want an extra flat screen TV anyway. 

So what to buy that would have some meaning?

Here's a short list of my Top 4 Favorite Christmas and Holiday Gifts:

  • A $20 donation to Heifer International could offer an education (and a new world) to a child otherwise doomed to a life of poverty in a third world country.  If you can read this story about Beatrice Biira and not be inspired to swap a goat or flock of chickens for the Blu-ray player, I'll be surprised.
  •  For the animal lovers on your list, what could be more thoughtful than the World Wildlife Fund symbolic adoption of an endangered species?  Tigers are my favorite animals and they are among the most critically endangered species on earth, but WWF offers over 100 adoption choices from Red Eyed Tree Frog to the Ring Tailed Lemur.  Adoption gifts include a stuffed animal, a personalized, framed adoption certificate and a photo of the animal in the wild.  These are fun for kids and adults alike.

The best part is that there's no Black Friday or Cyber Monday RUSH on buying these items.  But… you could take a big load off your shoulders and get everything done today.  Then you could relax and enjoy the rest of the Christmas season in peace– what a concept!

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Many thanks to all our customers, craftspeople, suppliers and friends who have supported our work at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture this year.  With your help we have managed to surpass our sales goals this year while still maintaining our high standards for quality and customer service.  We're pretty proud of that, especially during a time of such economic distress.

We'll take a minute or two to celebrate and revel but for the most part we are focused on the future and there's no time to lose.  2011 brings many new challenges as we continue to pursue our environmental mission by expanding our sustainable Vermont made furniture lines and adding a whole new line of eco-friendly recycled outdoor furniture to our store.

We hope you'll continue to follow our work and help us spread the news about the beautiful heirloom quality, solid wood furniture that Vermont is famous for.  Vermont truly is the Fine Furniture Capitol of America and now this authentic craftsmanship is finally available online and across the country– and indeed the world. That's worth celebrating!

Wishing you all the best of good health, happiness and prosperity in 2011,

Peggy, Ken, Kendall, Riley, Manjula, Rebecca, Douglas, Dennis and our whole family of craftspeople at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.