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Sisters Touch of Christmas is open for the holiday season

November 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul

As Halloween decorations are taken down and Christmas lights go up, it’s obvious the season is changing, even if the snow has yet to hit the ground.

One key signifier in the region, showing that the holidays are here, is the opening of the Sisters Touch of Christmas.

Though Dec. 24 is still over a month away, the sisters at St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery in Bolton had the store open since late October and immediately had a lineup out the door.

It’s tradition for many in Caledon and the surrounding area to prepare for Christmas by making a stop at the Sisters Touch of Christmas whether to load up on tasty treats, ornaments for the tree, or anything and everything holiday-related in between.

Located at 14155 Caledon King Townline in Bolton, the grounds of the women’s monastery is home to a group of nuns, many of whom work year-round in preparation for opening and stocking the Sisters Touch of Christmas from late October until Christmas Eve.

The store was established in 2003 when the Sisters had a vision for a unique Christmas shopping experience with festive accessories, Christmas decor, handcrafted ornaments, and homemade baked goods.

The store even smells like Christmas thanks to the Sisters’ new line of scents

For the last 18 years, the Sisters have been a mainstay in Caledon, helping to create a special place to stop in at for many families in the area and beyond, and the money made through the store allows the Sisters to continue to give back to the community that supports them.

“The proceeds of the Christmas store have enabled the Sisters to give back to the community by funding many of their initiatives throughout the year,” said Sister Philothei.

Few things will put someone into the Christmas spirit than heading to the Sisters Touch of Christmas with the decorations inside and out, classic Christmas tunes playing in the background, and decorations covering every inch of the store.

The store volunteers even revel in the experience too, as the Christmas cheer in the store intoxicates customers and inspires glee in their holiday spirit.

The Sisters say despite it still being early on in the opening for the season, patrons can’t help but share their delight.

“It’s been very busy and we’re very excited,” said Sister Philothei. “We’re already sold out on certain things. People have learned they’ve got to come early because we don’t keep major stock in terms of inventory. If you really like something and know it’s the last one, chances are you’ll need to get it. We will get busier throughout November and really busy in early December. Our baked good are non-stop through the season and it tastes so good because it’s genuinely fresh.”

“We’re constantly baking,” said Sister Theophano. “It’s the real ingredients that your grandmother would have used. It’s all fresh ingredients that everyone knows, the real deal, butter and sugar.”

Christmas doesn’t start for many people until the store is open, but, for the Sisters, Christmas never stops with the amount of work and effort they put in all year in prepping the store for the season.

“It’s Christmas here all year,” said Sister Theophano. “We start in January and for us we don’t realize that for many people that come in that it’s their first Christmas experience of the season because we start putting it together in January. The last two years, it’s had more challenges with everything that’s going on, but it just shows the dedication of many of the Sisters who have been working on it all year. They’ve spent hours and hours making sure everything would be ready.”

“We’ve actually already started planning for next year,” Sister Philothei said. “The store is a years’ worth of work. There’s just so much work that goes into it behind the scenes. It’s a lot of planning and proper organization to put things in line and being proactive.”

With all the hard work that goes into getting the store ready for the holiday season, the Sisters are in agreement that it all pays off when they hear from those who make the visit – how much it means to them and their families.

“It’s a reward,” said Sister Philothei. “What’s nice is when people say beautiful things to you or write beautiful things about it and tell us how Christmas isn’t Christmas without a visit to our store. It’s become a family tradition for so many to come to our store and it’s nice because they tell their friends or neighbours about the store. It’s just so nice that we get to meet the community.”

After last year feeling more of an impact from COVID-19, this year the store is running closer to normal with clear protocols in place.

“We were open up until everyone had to close down last year,” said Sister Theophano. “We’ve adjusted and we’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.”

“People have been very good about it and everyone has cooperated with it,” Sister Philothei. “Everyone is on the same page at this point, and everyone knows what they need to do. We haven’t had any issues at all. People have been very understanding and want to stay safe.”

Two weeks into being open and the store is a success, per usual, with many customers planning to return before the holidays are done and even more getting ready to make their first trip.

“The feedback has been nice,” said Sister Philothei. “People just can’t wait to come, and they’ve been looking forward to it all year. It’s such a good feeling to be open.”

The Sisters Touch of Christmas is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday. Special hours are set for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from December 20 to 23 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.



         


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