Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukkah, get into the holiday mood by attending the 43rd annual Southern Christmas Show at the Park Expo and Conference Center in Charlotte.

“Sounds of Christmas” is the theme for this year’s show, which boasts an impressive six-acre array of over 500 merchants selling a wide variety of unique gifts. Unlike those in malls and department stores, these products are not spiritlessly mass-produced; many are even hand-crafted and home-made.

Some of the potentially most fascinating products are those from international merchants, including Bavarian Imports, Merchants of the Globe, Queen of Egypt Papyrus and Adega Creations. Among the several African-oriented merchants is Construction, Health and Relief Acts (CHaRA), a U.S.-based non-profit organization founded by Carol and Ron McDonald in 2006.

Carol McDonald recently returned to America with authentic African jewelry and clothing to sell here in the states. The McDonalds donate all proceeds to further their non-profit’s mission: “improve the lives of the people of East Africa through good health, safe water, education, care of orphans, and the love of God.”

As always, attendees will enjoy the various design and decorating displays at the show. One-of-a-kind decorations including ornaments and Christmas tree-toppers, stockings and wreaths will be abundant.

Designer hobbyists can find their creativity inspired by well-renowned designers selling packaged sets on display to decorate homes, creating the perfect holiday atmosphere.

For the eco-conscious consumer, there are environment-friendly products available from various merchants. Among the five exhibitors at the show from the Boulevard at NoDa will be Jun E Caniel which sells stylish original artwork clothes, some of which is made from recycled or refurbished materials.

Attendees also have the chance to sample wine from nine NC wineries at this year’s show. In addition to the opportunity to find the right high-quality wine for any taste and palette, enthusiasts can find wine gadgets and accessories like decanters, aerators and more.

The Southern Christmas Show really does have something for everyone, including delicious specialty holiday foods, miniature villages, fashionable clothes from stores like Loose Lucy’s, model train sets and a wide variety of art (pottery, sculptures, watercolors, etc.).

The Southern Christmas Show also offers many fun holiday experiences such as Stonewall Resort Executive Chef Dale Hawkins’ display on holiday cooking, Christmas decoration competitions and holiday entertainment for everyone.

The show opened on Nov. 11 and continues every day starting at 10 a.m. through Nov. 21. For more information or to buy tickets, visit southershows.com/scs/. : :

Tyler DeVere

Tyler DeVere is a former editorial intern for QNotes.