The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

4 years ago By Christine Sahadi Whelan
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

One of the most fun and dynamic times of the year is when we juggle our product offerings to accommodate the holiday shopping season. It's always fun to open the drab delivery boxes and rediscover holiday-themed products we ordered months and months ago. Building the window and store displays, and planning out our holiday basket-making is a giant task -- yet one we look forward to!

Our holiday planning starts in June at the Fancy Food Show, when some of our suppliers start looking to their pre-ordering for the season and begin to ask what we are looking to purchase this year. It's also when we take stock of our holiday wraps, ribbons and baskets, so we can begin to get ready for our season. Then the fun begins. Little by little through October and November we receive all the packages and boxes, sent to us from all around the world.

Like a puzzle with a hundred pieces, we try to curate the perfect mix of products. Choosing between personal holiday gifts, hostess gifts, and items for holiday gift baskets, we carefully order a mix, hoping that we will have the perfect amount of each item to last throughout the season. We evaluate new items, as well as items from previous years to create our orders. Some items have been on our holiday radar for decades, but we always try to add a few new surprises too.

We try to keep a good balance of European imported items and small batch locally-made specialties. Some of the most unique products are only made once a year. Our artisanal hand-wrapped Panettones from Italy come to mind as a particularly beautiful example. We also stock fancy British candies, German stollen (fruit bread) in three flavors, German cakes galore, and some of the nicest nougats I have seen to date. This department is then enhanced with small batch chocolates and lollipops. The best of the best is collected by theme or region, and then wrapped into larger gift baskets on site daily. Our curated holiday baskets and nut trays start to fly out the door!

Building the store displays always gets us in a cheery mood, and my Mother still comes to do the windows and hang the decorations every year. It wouldn't be the holidays without her touch. My favorite rack of all is our stocking stuffer rack, where we select the best of the smaller items that we get especially sourced to fit in your Christmas stockings!! We always find really interesting things for this rack: handmade lollipops, caramels, chocolates, barks, British holiday specialties, etc. Everyone loves this display and it rotates all season as new items arrive.

Despite the hectic holiday season of a food retailer, it is the most wonderful time of the year. The customers and staff are always in festive moods -- no matter what holiday they claim as their own -- and everyone loves gazing at the lit-up displays and tasting the holiday samples. I hope you'll make a trip to Sahadi's part of your holiday rituals this year!