23 Jan Christmas Treasures on the McKenzie
Imagine passing by a former hunting lodge while on vacation, buying it, moving your family across the span of the United States and opening a Christmas store. That’s what the Wood family did 23 years ago while they were visiting Oregon from Florida. The store is Christmas Treasures on the McKenzie Highway, and it’s been open ever since – year-round – spreading the holiday spirit.
If you’re speeding through Blue River these days, en route to the Willamette Valley, you just might miss Christmas Treasures. But slow down a bit and take notice—stepping inside will up your holiday cheer quotient, even in July.
If you’re speeding through Blue River these days, en route to the Willamette Valley, you just might miss Christmas Treasures. But slow down a bit and take notice—stepping inside will up your holiday cheer quotient, even in July. “I’ve passed by this place a million times, and this is the first time I stopped,” says Bend resident Angie Hodges, who dropped by on her way to a University of Oregon football game with her husband one Saturday last fall. “I just love it in there. It’s such a feeling of pure happiness, it’s simply breathtaking.”
The building was built in the 1940s and was originally called the Blue McKenzie Hunting and Fishing Lodge. Steve Wood recalls, “We were on vacation from Florida in 1992, and my mom saw this place. It was for sale, so my parents bought it and opened this business in 1993.” Today, Steve, his mother Nancy, and his twin brother Brian run the shop. From the get-go, Christmas Treasures did 90% of its business during the holiday season but stayed open all year, partly because of the income the Woods made by being early adopters of technology. “We’re on the Internet and have been since 1996. I set up the website when I was in junior high, and this was before Google and Amazon even existed.”
Shopping online is great but in person is better, especially here. It’s hard to be a Scrooge inside Christmas Treasures, as every turn has the halls decked with sparkling ornaments from all over the world, angels of every size and jolly ol’ St. Nicholas. With scented Christmas candles aglow on a shelf, it even smells like the pine boughs of a holiday tree.
Though she’d never had a retail store before, Nancy Wood knew a Christmas treasures store was what she wanted to open. Brian recalls that, during his childhood, “There were four boys in our family, and even though we didn’t have a lot of money back then my mom went out of her way to make Christmas really special when we were young.”
“No matter what time of the year, I want customers to forget the troubles of the world and feel the cheery Christmas spirit,” says Nancy. “I think that’s what’s in the air in our shop, all the time, year round,” she says. What really sets this store apart is the collection of unique ornaments that come from 40 different countries around the world. “Basically, if you can find an ornament in a big box store in the city, we don’t want it,” says Steve. “We want unique. We have everything from 24-carat
gold-plated and crystal ornaments to UO and OSU nutcrackers.”
An entire fireplace built out of smooth, naturally-tumbled McKenzie River rocks anchors the middle of the shop. From outside, you can see Santa’s face smiling down from the chimney. The building exterior is painted, of course, red and green. A large fir tree nearby is lit with 50,000 LED lights during the holiday season. Says Steve, “I think, no matter what time of the year you come here, you will find a place of peace.”
52959 McKenzie Highway
Blue River, Oregon