Keeping up the tradition in Boerne, Emily Carvalho offers visitors and residents alike a charming place to shop for Christmas and other holiday décor. The warm, Christmasy atmosphere, complete with holiday music, is where you can find wonderful and unique treasures year-round. The Christmas Shoppe and Emily and her husband Tony separately are dedicated to philanthropic programs and assist whenever possible.
Emily explains, “Because Tony’s health has been poor for about four and half years, our ability to participate in philanthropic activities has been limited. Before that we were very active in Bible Study at Meadowlands, which is a local placement center for children in crisis. I originally moved to Boerne because I began working at Girlsville cabin at Meadowlands after college. Although working at Meadowlands wasn’t a good fit for me in the long run, I loved the kids who lived there, and I didn’t want to be one more person to abandon them.”
She continues: At the time, the only volunteers who came out regularly were the Bible Study ladies from First Baptist Church. They, also, made a point of sitting with the girls from Girlsville at Sunday worship services. I joined their ranks, which grew to include members of additional churches. The group expanded to create weekly Bible Studies in every cabin, monthly special events called Sunday Night Live, birthday parties, and holiday events. I remember a time when I spent as many as five days a week at either church or Meadowlands as part of this ministry.
When we married, my husband had experience doing pet therapy at hospitals, rehab facilities, and in psychiatric offices. So, he happily joined our Bible Study group for the next few years. We, also, adopted our only child from Meadowlands the same year we took over ownership of The Christmas Shoppe. So, between our work at The Christmas Shoppe and caring for a bouncing (literally) teenage girl, we soon couldn’t continue participating in the ministry at Meadowlands for a while.
We have viewed our business as a type of ministry, too. Most people are totally unaware of the rich faith filled history behind most holidays, especially Christmas. Christmas is, in fact, a pagan holiday that has been redeemed to God’s purposes. There are, also, so many beautiful traditions that have begun in recent history that add so much depth to celebrations. So, when we help visitors start new traditions or understand the meaning behind their decorations, we are helping to grow their faith long after they make a purchase. Because so many people who celebrate Christmas are not Christian, we hope these traditions, their purchases, and our servant attitude have served as a quiet light drawing others to faith, as well.
The Christmas Shoppe has been involved in so many events along The Hill Country Mile, too. Original owners of The Christmas Shoppe, Michael and Shedell Giddens, helped to found and managed Dickens on Main, the Weihnachts Parade, Stocking Stroll, and Market Days. We continue to encourage and sponsor every event we possibly can. Over the years this has included Chocolate Walk to benefit Boerne Parks & Recreation, Lemonade Day, Key to the Hills Rod Run, this year’s Vaterstag Parade, Boerne Retailer’s Style Show & Shopping Event benefitting the Kendall County Women’s Shelter, the Egg Content Contest at the Kendall County Fair, the Baby Bottle Boomerang to benefit Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center, donating gifts and sponsoring Diva Nights, selling ornaments on behalf of the Boerne Robotics Team, and (as of this year) sponsoring a Boerne Little League team. We’ve also used events like Diva Nights as opportunities to collect donations for Hill Country Daily Bread and Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center.