Photo by Katie Bitz.
1012 Seasons to Celebrate
Seasons to Celebrate currently has fall decor and football merchandise, as well as items for any season.
John and Mary Matthews, like many families, collect Fontanini nativity pieces each year at Christmas. So, when they discovered that the only store in Birmingham that sold the pieces was rumored to be closing, they quickly figured out a way to open their own seasonal gift shop in Homewood. Friends Daryl Ussery and Allen Bailey were happy to help.
“We told (Mary Matthews) that she should open her own seasonal shop and have the two of us manage it,” said Bailey, who manages the story with Ussery. “So, her husband called and set up a meeting for two days later. We met up, and an hour and half later, the shop was born.”
Bailey said that within two months they had designed the shop, bought fixtures and installed lighting. The store opened May 2010.
Seasons to Celebrate is completely rejuvenated four times a year with décor and gifts for each season. Customers can always tell what sort of products are in stock through the seasonal panels put up in the outside windows.
Seasons to Celebrate is the only location in the Birmingham area to carry collectable Christmas décor such as Fontanini, Christopher Radko Ornaments and Department 56 merchandise year-round, but they are more than a Christmas store.
They offer a wide variety of decorations for every holiday from Halloween to July 4, as well as many different types of gift options.
“Allen creates custom-made wreaths,“ Ussery said. “We also always offer a full line of gifts for newborns, including hospital door hangers. If you have a reason to celebrate, no matter the season, we are the place to shop.”
Bailey and Ussery treat their customers as personal friends and attribute a lot of the shop’s success to the personal relationship they have with their clients and the hometown feel of their store.
“Our favorite part is meeting new folks,” Ussery said. “The cool thing about this business is that people walk in the store and are surprised because there aren’t gift shops on every corner anymore.”
Bailey also feels that customers connect with the store’s ties to the past. “The unique thing about the business
is that it reminds you of the days gone by when there were nice [seasonal] gift shops around,” Bailey said. “This will bring you back into that era.”
The biggest challenge Seasons to Celebrate is currently facing is storage. Ussery and Bailey are having a difficult time cramming merchandise in as their list of vendors and customers continue to grow. But both said they feel the store’s location in Homewood’s downtown shopping district is ideal.
“The stores are not cookie cutter stores, they’re all unique and different,” Bailey said. “You could go in every shop here and you will not come upon two shops that are alike.”