It was seven weeks before Christmas and all through the land, people began searching for ways to make the holidays grand.
Those who visit St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hawthorn Woods this weekend will find a selection of holiday decorations, gifts, crafts and baked goods designed to get holiday preparations off to a good start.
"This is a big bazaar," said Janet Schockmel, president of St. Matthew's Ladies Aid, the organization sponsoring A Country Christmas Craft and Gift Show, an annual fundraiser for the church. "We take in about $12,000 to $13,000. It's not that we just put out a few little items. We work on this all year long."
The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7 in the basement of the church at 24500 N. Old McHenry Road. There is no admission charge.
Schockmel said visitors will find both homemade and commercially produced ornaments, wreaths and fall décor items. Homemade items are made by a talented group, she said, that includes painters, a seamstress and a former sewing teacher.
A flyer promoting the show says the inventory will include nature crafts, Christmas gifts, religious items, woodworking, flower arrangements, glass and crystal ornaments, and seasonal and fashion aprons.
"It's very attractive, how it's set up," said Schockmel.
Coffee and donuts will be available for purchase; from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, lunch items also will be offered for sale to shoppers.
A handmade quilt crafted by church members will be raffled off at 3 p.m. Saturday. Schockmel said raffle tickets are $1 each.
Gently used items also will be available in "Mrs. Claus' Closet," she said.
Proceeds from the show will go toward getting an elevator installed in the church building, Schockmel said.
"We do not have an elevator in our church. Our church was built in 1992. So, we're raising funds for it," she said.
Schockmel said the estimated cost of installing an elevator is from $60,000 to $80,000.
"We've been raising funds for it," she said. "Actually, we have about $40,000. We're about halfway there."
Schockmel said the Country Christmas sale is traditionally popular and well-attended.
The show's bake sale is particularly successful, especially the packages of cookies that contain mixtures of baked goods from a variety of bakers.
"Last year, they were all gone within the first hour or so," she said.
For more information about A Country Christmas Craft and Gift Show, call the church at 847-438-7709 and visit www.stmatts.net.