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

Archive for the ‘More Information about Christmas Night’s Business’ 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!

 

An Exciting New Supplier

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

holiday-nativity-set-led-display-13pcWhat do Universal Studios, Radio City Music Hall, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and the Indianapolis Zoo have in common with Christmas Night? They all feature large outdoor Holiday Displays made by GP Designs of Marion Indiana. Our Christmas Night customers, whether they be homeowners looking for an eye catching outdoor Santa/Sleigh or a church wanting to show the real meaning of the Christmas season with a large outdoor Nativity ,will now have access to the best quality and most attractive holiday light displays available, offering longer life and lower maintenance.

Offering commercial product design and quality for the consumer, GP Designs maintains total control of all it’s products and services in-house, in it’s highly efficient facility centrally located in Marion IN. From initial  design and manufacturing, through powder coating, decorating, lighting and final shipment, GP Designs is always  in control and customer oriented.

Just as important to Christmas Night and our customers is that GP Designs is owned and operated by nice people. The Loer family, Dave the President and CEO, Sandra the VP Administration, their son KC, Sales Rep and Social Media Coordinator and Rick Dillon  the Vice President Operations, all really care about family values and treating their customers the way they would like themselves  to be treated

Christmas Night is now offering, on our website, a range of Nativity and Christmas display figures from GP Designs. Please visit us and see for yourself.

 

NEW @ CHRISTMAS NIGHT FOR 2014

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Thanks to our wonderful customers, both new and returning, we had a successful 2013 season. Many of our website visitors already know this, as they have found their product choices sold out. We are working on re-stocking and expect to have most items in inventory between March 1 and May 15. A few items will not arrive until mid July.

In the meantime, we are offering our “Pay Later” Layaway purchase plan, as explained on our website and a pre-order option which protects the customer from possible price increases in product and shipping costs, with payment in advance. A pre-order customer is guaranteed not to be disappointed by finding an item sold out for the season as early as November 1.

We are improving our packaging by providing more external protection and cushioning against occasional rough handling by the courier and trucking companies. We will also be offering more  truck shipping options including priority, guaranteed day and time and “white glove” special handling which include inside delivery, product set up and removal of pallet and shipping material. For ground and courier shipments we will be offering more  products with flat rate and free shipping.

In 2014, we are introducing a number of new and redesigned products. There will be new dog statues, animals and saints for our Saint Francis Garden site and new Soldier/Nutcracker and Santa figures and redesigned Nativity figures for Christmas Night site. We will publish more details and photos of these as they come out of our factories

We are improving the speed and functionality of our websites and shopping baskets and creating sites that are equally at home on smart phones, tablets,  PC’s and Mac’s.

We will continue to update these posts, particularly as we are able to announce and display our new and redesigned products.

OFF TO A FAST START FOR THIS CHRISTMAS!

Friday, September 20th, 2013

santa-sleigh-reindeer

The day after Labor Day may seem centuries away from Christmas, but that’s not the way the Christmas event planners, seasonal decorators and specialty retailers see it. These hard working and talented professionals have been researching customer requests and working on major projects for months and many are now placing orders for Nutcrackers, Caroler Sets and Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer

In addition, most military budgets finish on September 30, so the army base chapels and navy commissaries around the country and overseas are rushing to use some of their “use it or lose it” remaining funds to upgrade their Nativity or add Large Toy Soldiers to their Christmas decorations.

Military budgets, like most government budgets, are adjusted the following year based on what was used in the past year. We are not sure what affect the new government austerity will have on future expenditures..

Since these bases are the “home away from home” for military personnel at Christmas, these decorations must be important for their celebrations.

There have been several requests for a ten foot Nutcracker, twelve foot Nutcracker and a nine foot Nutcracker on a Drum. The popularity of the indoor Santa, Sleigh and Huskies gave rise to an outdoor version with beautiful fiberglass dogs. The traditional version of the Santa, Sleigh with reindeer continues to be in high demand for private homes as well as shopping centers.

This season, so far, has seen increased demand for full life size 6 foot scale Nativities, which is purchased by shopping centers, municipalities and businesses as well as churches and some very large and devout private homes.

The trend toward Christmas decorating with outdoor figures continues to grow. There are more figures available, the figures are durable and the finish is bright and long lasting.

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!

Too Early for Christmas?

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Christmas Night recently sent out an email newsletter, featuring two new large (and expensive) Christmas displays. We featured our new Silver Santa Sleigh and Reindeer in a Facebook ad and on our page. We had a lot of favorable comments but we had several comments, such as “Not now” or Too early for Christmas” or one of those text abbreviations  that I can never figure out.

We understand that some lovers of Christmas feel that the whole celebration has become too commercial and promotion of Christmas should wait until just before Thanksgiving. We want to point out some reasons why we communicate our new and featured items as early as we do.

1. Shopping malls, municipalities and large businesses plan their Christmas displays in advance, sometimes 8 to 10 months ahead. They will often request display plans and proposals from design and decoration firms, who in turn approach us for product information and quotations. Often the mall or company will contact us directly and we may have to bring in custom product for them, which may take 4 to 5 months

2. We begin selling Nativities and outdoor Christmas displays in April/May. Many times, customers who missed out last season, because we were sold out, will buy early to avoid the same problem. This means that we must often adjust our new factory orders and let customers know what we have.

3. Many people with large displays at their home or business, have already purchased the traditional Christmas figures, such as Santa, Snowman, Toy Soldier etc. and are looking for new and different designs. We design much of our product and Claire, our inventor/designer is always looking for a new approach or look to the traditional figures. Most of these new designs sell out when customers discover them.

4. Our supply chain is from the Philippines, China and the USA. Turnaround time from  Christmas Night placing the order until the container arrives at our warehouse is 10 to 12 weeks overseas and 1 to 4 weeks locally . The later in the season, the longer the lead time. This means that our last overseas order must be placed by the first week in September.

5. Many of our customers anticipate our deliveries by placing advance orders for product on the water ( in transit) or on order. We assist the ordering by offering a “Pay Later” layaway plan. This helps us plan our purchases and helps our customers avoid disappointment.

So we apologize to  customers and fans who think we are rushing Christmas, but we are primarily doing this so we don’t disappoint customers and to avoid a panic in our office. Besides we love Christmas and the arrival of every new container is like Christmas morning under the tree.santasnowedunder

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!

NEW PRODUCTS

Monday, June 17th, 2013

The lifeblood of our business is new products. This is true for any company selling to consumers, but it is somewhat more difficult for us in the Christmas business. Many Christmas figures and images are religious and or traditional. Granted, the images may reflect  local or regional visions and values, such as the difference between the “Coca Cola Santa” in the US and “Sinter Claus” in parts of Europe.

Christmas Nativity figures try to duplicate the Nativity story as originated by St Francis of Assisi and as imagined by European painters and sculptors, both in medieval times and during and after the Renaissance. The Italians generally do it best, but in their strongly individualistic way, are known to include Elvis and other celebrities in their Nativity scenes.  Fontanini, the  Italian family firm which has specialized in producing Nativity scenes of all sizes for over 100 years, has added more animals and figures of medieval “village people”. These are probably more consistent with the original vision of St Francis, who used real people and animals in his Nativity scenes.

Santa Sled with Husky Dogs

Santa Sled with Husky Dogs

Many non-religious Christmas figures are derived from the “Night Before Christmas” poem. These include Santa Claus, Reindeer and Sleigh and Santa’s Elves. Children’s tales turned into ballet  and movies provided the images of Toy Soldiers, Nutcrackers and Bears. Recent innovations include the “Victorian” figures including Carolers and Lamp Post.

So much of our new product effort is offering a new version of the classic figures, that the challenge is making the figures new and different and still appealing and seasonal. Fortunately our founder and president , Claire, is a fine arts grad and photographer with an excellent eye and color sense as well as the extreme patience and attention to detail necessary to produce winning designs. We are also fortunate to be working with several factories whose owners understand the importance of new products and employ skilled designers and sculptors.

Our latest product introduction, the enormous 12 foot Nutcracker King, item 37001, is an example of our team in action. Claire provide the original design and the factory sculpted the figure which Claire fine tuned. The factory then produced the mold and created the prototype colors and decorations based on Claire’s design. The factory also determined the sizes of the various parts and how they will be attached together for the final giant piece. The final result is a unique figure which will decorate many shopping malls, retail stores, city centers and even some mansions next Christmas.

Here is a link to our press release announcing the introduction of the 12 foot Nutcracker King

FONTANINI NATIVITY FIGURES

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Christmas Night has been carrying the beautiful and famous Nativity figures from Fontanini of Lucca,  Italy for over 10 years. Since our focus has mostly been on larger outdoor figures, we  initially listed the 34 Inch and 50 inch Nativity figures. We then discovered that the manufacturer does not recommend outdoor display of their marble and resin pieces, so we added the smaller, 18 inch and 27 inch Nativity  sets, which are better displayed indoors, in any case.

Fontanini figures, which have been manufactured and hand decorated by the Fontanini family for over 100 years, are classic works of art. As such, they are very expensive and sell very slowly. We have carried some larger figures, carefully packaged and protected ,in our stock for five years. The replacement cost of these figures keeps increasing, in line with higher commodity and labor costs.

We have decided to offer several of the larger sets, Holy Families. Kings and individual pieces, at greatly reduced prices to make room for faster moving items. Our prices for these items are wonderful bargains and are an opportunity for anyone who has wanted such figures but couldn’t justify the expense. Our quantities are very limited and these offers will not be repeated,by us.

One featured set is the Fontanini 50″ Holy Family

Fontanini 50" Holy Family

Fontanini 50" Holy Family

Retail price for this set is $7599.00 plus shipping.

Our special, one time, price is $2997.00 with free shipping.

St Joseph with Jesus

St Joseph with Jesus

A featured figure is St Joseph with Jesus

Retail price $999.00, special price $499.00

Please see our websites christmasnightinc.com and saintfrancisgarden.com under Fontanini Statues for other specials.

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.