Since the mid-1990s, the Thompson House has held its biggest fundraiser of the year: The Victorian Christmas Sale. This year's celebration began Friday at 10 a.m., and the house was busy with shoppers all day.
“Friday mornings are busy. People want to get here to have first pick of the items,” said Xan Bryant, president of the Thompson House board. “Most visitors come back every year.”
The Thompson House is a nonprofit organization responsible for restoration and upkeep of the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is the one that really supports the house, so we can keep the lights on and do tours, rentals, and the history days,” said Bryant. “Most of what we do goes to upkeep and maintenance. We are also trying to build our endowment.”
Along with items donated throughout the year to the Thompson House, 20 vendors have goods set out all through the building. Included with the Christmas decor and vintage goods are many handmade items, such as aprons, jewelry, ornaments, socks, notebook covers, dish towels, pottery, and more.
Bryant said the house gets a little profit from the sale of the vendors' merchandise, and she appreciates their helping spread the word about the event, since that encourages more people to attend.
Any price ticket with an "82" on it means it was a donated item, and all the money will go to the house.
“There’s a little bit of everything, really,” said Bryant. “You can get baked goods for holiday parties, and Christmas gifts and decorations.”
The baked goods, candies, and jarred goods are set up in the kitchen area, and 100 percent of those proceeds go to the house. Poinsettias are also available for $2.50. Memberships are $15 a year for individuals, and $25 for businesses. Members receive a 10-percent discount on rentals and a free tour for up to eight people.
Susan Haraughty renewed her membership while paying for items. She said she always finds good stuff during the sale.
Jan Bryant said she enjoys being a member of the Thompson House and volunteering at the Victorian Christmas.
“They have unique gifts,” she said. “It’s fun to be here at Christmas and talk to people.”
Volunteers were needed before the event began to get donations sorted and priced, and to get the house decorated. The Tahlequah High School S-Club helped last Sunday by hanging decorations and placing garland on the outside.
“We have a lot of wonderful volunteers who come out and help us. There are 10-15 here at all times during the sale,” said Xan Bryant. “We could not maintain the house without volunteers.”
Yolette Ross moved to Tahlequah three years ago from New Jersey and decided to become a Thompson House member after visiting the historic site with the Leadership Tahlequah class.
“It’s my first year to volunteer,” she said. “You meet so many different people.”
She was also carrying a basket Friday to fill with items she found.
“We’re always excited by the community support – those who come and shop and those who volunteer, because they’re not all members that volunteer, and by those that bake,” said Xan Bryant.
Check it out
The Thompson House Victorian Christmas Sale continues Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m., at 300 S. College Ave. Cash, checks, and credit/debit cards are accepted. A $1 donation is requested to enter and shop. Call 918-456-3554 or 918-458-9035 to schedule a tour or to rent the house for a special occasion.