Christmas Night Blog Nativity Sets, Outdoor Christmas Displays
and Fontanini Creche Figures

Archive for the ‘Customer Stories’ Category

AFTER CUSTOMER SERVICE

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Like many companies selling directly to consumers, we offer easily accessible and useable product information, shipping information and pricing combined with timely email notifications at each step. Our company rule is to treat the customer the way we would like to be treated.

Occasionally, we have problems with parts of our system which frustrate customers as they would frustrate anybody and we do our best to solve the problem while keeping in mind what the customer really wants, which is not excuses, but a sincere apology, an explanation of the problem and assurance that the problem has been resolved.

We thought that the email dialogue below, apart from making us feel like we are doing something right, would nicely summarize our approach

Email from Customer;

Comments: Hi. I would like to know why my order is “on hold”? What does that mean? I ordered the nativity pieces with the understanding they would be shipped within 1 business day. It took me over a week to get the shipping calculator to operate correctly, so I could order the items. It kept saying “retrieving quotes”. I quit trying after a hour of waiting for it to retrieve a quote after each time. I finally had success with it on Monday. Thank you.

 

Our Reply:
Our apologies for our poor communication, both for not replying to your email and for the difficulties you had with the shipping prices and then the HOLD. The later is an internal designation which says your order has been tagged for immediate shipping. It’s not something we intended for you to see. The late reply and shipping problems were mail server and software problems which have been corrected.

We hope your order arrived in good time and in good condition.

Thank you for shopping at Christmas Night.

And the Customer’s reaction;
Thanks so much for your reply. My items did arrive in a timely fashion and in good condition. Last year I bought the Holy Family pieces from another website but I found your website last spring and enjoy the fact that it is a website where complete nativity collections are sold, as a set and as individual pieces.

I just wanted to make you aware of the issues I was having with your website. I figured it was probably a website server issue, since I tried on 3 computers and my smartphone over a week.

Joseph's Studio Christmas Nativity 40 inch scale 13 piece

The pieces are beautiful and it was worth the initial frustration.

I plan to order other pieces for the Joseph Studios 40-inch nativity. Next year I plan to order the angel and shepherd, which requires special shipping quotes, so I am sure we will be in contact with one another again. I then will order the 3 wise men and camel the following year.

Thanks again for your apologies and explanations. Excellent customer service.

Regards

Customer service doesn’t finish when the product is delivered!

 

Christmas in Texas

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

The night sky in southwest Texas is…Big.

You can see the constellations.

You can see shooting stars out your bedroom window.

Come Thanksgiving, another bright light will Illuminate the landscape.

Carolyn and Cliff Tuttle, owners of Hashknife Ranch near Fredericksburg, TX, have built an authentic, life-sized nativity barn.

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Imagine driving down a dark road in December and noticing flood lights in the distance. As you continue, figures take shape and you realize you are approaching a stunning recreation of the birth of Jesus Christ

“There’s not much light out here on a dark winter’s night,” says Carolyn. “It will be quite spectacular.”

The three-sided barn is up and ready. What began as mere sketches and measurements a few months ago gelled into a plan. With the help of good friends, Mike and Nancy Craddock, the Tuttles began building.

Cedar wood from dismantled corrals and fences was hauled in for the barn’s siding. A bobcat was fired up to clear dirt, rocks and native vegetation and make way for a cement floor. A tin roof was recycled from an old barn. And finally a trench was dug to run electrical wire to power the flood lights and star

The only thing missing? The nativity figures.

“We started looking around on the internet.” Carolyn noted. “We couldn’t find anything that struck us, until we got to ChristmasNight,Inc.”

The Tuttles purchased a full manger scene in alabaster and they couldn’t be happier.

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When opening the boxes, “we oohed and aahed at everything,” says Carolyn.

They are amazed at the details: The fingernails on the wise men, the curls on the sheep, the textured fabric draped on the camel’s back, the expression on the angel’s face. Everything is life-like. Even the lanterns are impressive: each one hangs separately and gives added dimension to the scene.

“We couldn’t have been any more pleased,” she says. “I would recommend it without a doubt. It would enrich anybody’s store, home or church.”

The Tuttles have repacked the figures and are storing them until November. They are eager for the holiday season.

“We are blessed to live here,” Carolyn adds. “The most important idea we wanted to convey was to glorify God and to honor Him.”

Photos with the complete nativity scene will be shown after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

OUR PANAMA CHRISTMAS – YEAR TWO

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

For our Christmas vacation 2012 we decided to visit Panama. We had heard many favorable stories of beautiful beaches, accessible jungle adventures, friendly people, a sophisticated capital city and they use the US dollar. We also rationalized that it would be a great opportunity to see the Panama Canal, where all our Asian container ships pass through on their way to deliver our Christmas Nativities and displays to our New York warehouse.

Well we went to Panama and enjoyed it so much that we returned this year for Christmas 2013. In addition to all the the things we found and enjoyed in 2012, we found the Panamanians, particularly in the countryside, celebrated Christmas as the birth of Christ. Nativities and Church services were more important than gift giving.

We have some wonderful pictures of the Panamanian version of the the true meaning of Christmas. We enjoyed this old fashioned Christmas and we hope you do as well.

5 Reasons We Love Fall

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

The crisp breeze signifies that summer is gone and fall is in the air. We love fall; it has a beauty all to its own. From warm apple cider to autumn leaves, there are so many reasons to enjoy fall. Here are five things about the season that we love:

It's fall, really

The Changing Leaves

If you are blessed to live in a place where the leaves change color, you know why fall foliage is one of the reasons we love this season. Walking down a tree-lined street to see a canopy of orange, yellow and red leaves is thrilling. In Upstate New York, the leaves typically peak in late October. A good amount of colorful foliage lasts through Thanksgiving and even into the wintery months.

Fall Clothes

Fall clothing is just wonderful! As the temperature begins to drop, we take our fall essentials out of retirement. We’re talking about boots, sweaters and scarves. Nothing feels as delightful on a crisp fall day as a wool sweater and pair of comfortable boots. Well, maybe a cup of warm apple cider would make the day even better!

Pumpkin Everything

Whether it’s a baked good, drink or savory dish, when September rolls around and our taste buds salivate at the thought of all things pumpkin. Ice cream, coffee, pale ales, and more all come out in pumpkin flavors during the fall. Pumpkins can also make the best fall décor. Decorate your Thanksgiving table with a beautiful pumpkin centerpiece. Another seasonal favorite is pumpkin carving!

Thanksgiving

While Christmas is our favorite holiday, we really enjoy Thanksgiving too. This autumn holiday is special for a couple reasons. Thanksgiving has both religious and cultural traditions. Not only do you gather around a table and spend time with loved ones, but you also have the opportunity to reflect on all the things that you are thankful for. And we have a lot to be thankful for!

Christmas Planning

We simply adore Christmas and fall is the perfect time to think about to the holiday season. For instance, setting a holiday budget now will make it easier to achieve all your Christmas goals later. More important, planning early will allow you to enjoy the holiday season, rather than get caught up in the hustle and bustle. If you start Christmas planning now, you will reap benefits come December!

Tell us what you think. We want to know your favorite things about fall!

Celebrate Christmas in July!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Christmas in July is an unofficial holiday celebrated by many people. It is especially popular among people in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa because in the southern hemisphere, winter falls in July. Therefore, these countries celebrate Christmas as a way to embrace the winter spirit.

Here are five ways you too can celebrate Christmas in July:

Watch Christmas movies

You don’t have to wait until December to watch your favorite holiday classics. This July, rent all of your favorite holiday movies and spend the weekend having a holiday movie marathon. Make your Christmas in July experience more realistic by turning the air conditioner on high and breaking out your fleece blanket.

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Get a head start on holiday shopping

We all know how packed shopping malls can get during the holidays. Take this opportunity to hit up flea markets and outlet malls for gifts. Just think, when the holidays finally roll around, you will already have a lot of your shopping done. Plus, you’ll end up saving money during the holiday season. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you don’t have to spend most of your holiday stuck in a mall.

Bake your favorite treats

Love peppermint and gingerbread cookies? Now you can enjoy your favorite holiday goodies in July. Pop in your favorite holiday cd and spend the day (or weekend) baking. Wrap up a plate of cookies and drop them off at your neighbor’s house. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Volunteer at a local shelter

Get into the holiday spirit by giving back. Whether you prefer four legs or two, volunteering at a local animal or homeless shelter is the perfect way to spread the holiday spirit. You will feel great about it and the shelter can definitely use your help. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are really about?

Host a summer soiree

Summer is the perfect time to get the family together for a backyard barbecue. Cook traditional bbq foods but try to incorporate some summer twists on the traditional holiday drinks like chilled eggnog or red and green margaritas. You can also rename some traditional summer games such as horseshoes to “Reindeer Shoes” for added fun. Don’t forget to break out those holiday decorations for your Christmas in July.

It’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit, and now you can celebrate the holiday season more than once a year. Enjoy the true meaning of Christmas without the commercialism. Celebrate all day or all month, the choice is up to you. Simply reflect on what Christmas time means to you, then try to recreate that feeling and have a good time!

Questions About Dog Statues

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Our sister website www.saintfrancisgarden.com recently added a new product category, dog statues. We have long featured statues of Saint Francis of Assisi and,  based on his life and good works, figures of various animals and children. We know that dogs are by far the most popular domestic animal in the US home and the interest in our site and our new dog statues has confirmed this. We are writing this article to try to answer some of the questions about dog statues that we are  regularly asked by our customers.39104dt001

CAN YOU MAKE A STATUE OF MY DOG THAT JUST DIED?

This is the same questions as , can you make a statue of special or rare breed of dog? As dog owners ourselves, we know the  desire to immortalize that special friend that shared our life and warmed our hearts for so long ( not long enough). As with all manufactured products, dog statues are subject to a volume/cost relationship. The more of one figure made by our factory, the lower the cost. Custom made items or, as we call them “one of’s” bear all the design, set up and mold costs for one piece,  that are spread over many pieces with volume production. In order to offer  our statues at a reasonable cost, we must stay with popular breeds .2110dt

WHEN WILL MY DOG STATUE BE IN STOCK?

Our statues are made in our factories in the Philippines and in our importers factories in China and other countries. We try to buy adequate quantities and anticipate demand, but we are not always right. Production and shipping lead times can be  12 to 16 weeks. We try to keep you informed as to expected delivery times on our website.

WHAT IS MY DOG STATUE MADE OF AND HOW DURABLE IS IT WHEN DISPLAYED OUTDOORS.?

Most of our statues are made of fiberglass or polyresin, which is plastic resin re-inforced with glass fibers and other materials, similar to how boats are made. Some of our pieces are cast in stone or cement or even metal such as brass or copper.On our website we offer full information as to the construction material of the statue.The fiberglass and polyresin pieces are usually decorated with sunlight resistant paint while the stone or cement can be natural or stained. The metal may generate it’s own patina. Fiberglass and polyresin figures ,displayed outdoors , will fade and need to be repainted even if not exposed to direct sunlight. Stone and cement  figures will need very little, if any ,refinishing.

CAN I PHYSICALLY SEE THE DOG STATUE  BEFORE I PURCHASE IT ON LINE?

As an internet marketer, we often are asked this question. Customers naturally want to see, touch and experience a figure. This is especially true with an emotional figure like a dog. We have a warehouse, not a store, so it isn’t possible for a customer to touch and feel the dog figure before we ship. We try to provide the best photography, product descriptions and information. We also offer a return option, where we may waive the restocking charge if asked.39130dt

WHAT ABOUT SHIPPING MY DOG STATUE.

Most of our dog statues are shipped by FedEx Ground and arrive in 3 to 6 days. A few of the larger fiberglass dog statues may have to ship by LTL truck. Our custom made cast stone and concrete statues are manufactured at our Chicago factory and take 4 to 8 weeks to arrive. Some of these stone dog statues are too heavy for ground shipment and must go on a wood pallet by truck. Some of our statues are offered with a fixed shipping charge to mitigate the cost. Please check our website information.

Taking Your Work On Vacation

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

In my last blog, I raved about beautiful and interesting Panama and what a wonderful time we had. With our website www.christmasnightinc.com we are mostly in the Christmas business. We work on the website and Christmas year round and it is hard to let go even on vacation. Since our vacation time is just before , during and after Christmas we often get to experience the way  other countries celebrate Christmas (if they do).

panama10Panama is a Christian country and the people love festivals and holidays. The truism and joke about Panamanians is that  the only thing they take seriously is their holidays. There are 14 official holidays and many more local or regional holidays. While Carnival at Easter is the largest festival, Christmas is usually marked with a festival and ,in Panama City at least, a parade with floats depicting the Nativity among other Christmas  things. Here are several pictures of the  festival and float decorations.

While we were exploring the old section of Panama City known as San Felipe or Casco Viejo, we stumbled upon the factory panama11where the Nativity and other figures for the parade floats were made. We were fortunate enough to meet a factory supervisor who is English who explained the process of carving figure from blocks of styrofoam and sealing them with fiberglass before painting and decorating. The Englishman himself was just as interesting as the factory, easily mistaken for a retired rock musician with a constant  cigarette  and the boast that a “wealthy wife” paid for his lifestyle, such as it was.

The old city of San Felipe is fascinating, with centuries old churches, refurbished buildings  housing government departments, many great restaurants and the casco-viejo-police “Tourist Police” looking like a group of New York City cops, ready to go on patrol. We will definitely return.

OUR PANAMA CHRISTMAS

Friday, January 25th, 2013

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As you may know, we import most of our Christmas figures from our factories in the Philippines and China. The figures and Nativity Sets are shipped in steel shipping containers on large ocean going container vessels, such as the ones shown below All of these large ships arrive at our New York Port via the Panama Canal.

For our Christmas break this year we decided to visit Panama and see the country and how the canal works for product like ours. What a surprising country Panama is! Rather than some Central American backwater, Panama City resembles Miami with high rise offices and condos right on the water. High end hotels and sophisticated restaurants cater to international business people and tourists. A network of roads and expressways tie the city together, anchored by the PanAmaerican Highway and they are building a subway. The country is safe for visitors, the people are friendly and welcoming and the currency is the US Dollar. If my narrative sounds like we enjoyed it and will go back, we already plan to.

Panamanians love parties and fiestas and have more national holidays than most countries. Just before we arrived there had been a big Christmas Fiesta and parade. Several of the parade floats featured giant Nativity figures and, after the parade, these were displayed in a park on the Causeway Highway, connecting downtown Panama to the old city and the Canal. The Nativity figures are made locally and don’t have the artistic detail of our figures, but for parade floats celebrating the true meaning of Christmas they are perfect. More on where and how these figures are made in our next post. Here are some photos showing the figures displayed on the  Causeway with the city skyline behind. Looks like Miami doesn’t it?

Five Trends in Christmas Decorating

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Decorating your home for Christmas used to be mainly inside the house and was focused on the room with the tree.Many of us can remember going out to cut or purchase a live tree, bringing the boxes and boxes of tree lights and decorations out of storage and the fun of placing the tree in a stand, wrapping the lights around (and trying to find out which one in the string was causing the problem), hanging baubles , tinsel and icicles and finishing with the tree topper and tree skirt.

How have our lives changed? We have less time. We want things prepared or done for us and we are prepared to pay for the convenience. Many of us have less space to store all the tree decorations, but many of us have larger homes with more connection to the outdoors. New technologies and less expensive overseas manufacturing have impacted the kind of Christmas decorations we display.

We have written before on the movement to bring Christ back into Christmas with Nativity Sets, the use of pre-decorated trees and the movement to outdoor decorating. These trends continue to change the face of Christmas decorating. There are. however, several new developments which have impacted the preparation for Christmas celebration.

1. The return of the original reason for Christmas, that is, the birth of Jesus Christ, has created a growing demand for traditional Nativity sets, with the larger sets often replacing the Christmas tree as a focal point for the celebration.

2. When a Christmas tree is the focal point, it is often a pre-lit, pre-decorated tree ,which is complete out of the box. This saves a lot of time but loses the closeness of the family ritual.

3. Newer homes often  merge indoor and outdoor space and this invites more outdoor Christmas decorating. The decorating can be shared with the neighbors or can become community projects.

led-santa4. Most Christmas Lighting has become LED in different tones, replacing the incandescent C-7 or mini light. The look is often brighter and there is a saving in use of electricity.This lighting evolution also applies to large lighted Christmas Displays such as animated Toy Trains and Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer

fiberglass-santa5. Life Size and larger fiber glass Christmas display figures such as Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer, Nutcrackers, Toy Soldiers, Santa, Snowmen  and Christmas Carolers.were mostly seen in commercial displays in shopping centers, retail stores and municipalities. Overseas manufacturing and more accessible pricing and wider distribution have brought these impressive figures home for outdoor decorating.

In general, there are  many more Christmas Decorating options than ever before.

Our Customers Write

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

We send website newsletters every few weeks to our mailing list of past and present customers.  In these newsletters we try to include advice on Christmas decorating and Nativities. We show pictures of new products and special offers as well as regular features of our website such as our free pictures and our Lay Away Plan.

A few weeks after we ship a product we ask the customer to rate the product and our service, with both  a comment and  a zero to five star score. We receive some wonderful comments and we have published the best in our blog.

We had one recently that we want to share with you.

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Jeanette Ricker writes:

Husband Arthur built the stable; he’s been a building contractor and inspector.  [The building can be dismantled for storage.]  For several years now, we’ve wanted to add the 3 Kings…as well as cattle and/or a donkey, etc.  Truth is, we just can’t seem to afford to do so.  We have a HUGE family – growing by leaps and bounds – and by the time we plan gifts for those we MUST gift, there’s just nothing left for our outdoor display.  We’d take you up on your “buy now, pay later” plan, but every January 1st we end up so “far behind” that this kind of planning doesn’t help us at all.  WE DO keep your catalog and ads handy and – if and when we feel we are able – will be in touch to add pieces to our outdoor Christmas display.  Thank you for keeping US in mind!

Jeanette F. Ricker – dba The Executive Assistant - execasst2@tampabay.rr.com

Husband – Arthur W. Ricker, Jr