Abbey Thomson grew up obsessed with Christmas. She says it was hard not to be when her mother filled the family home with holiday tunes all year long.
"Christmas decorations went up in October and we were just raised to think that was totally normal," she said.
Abbey said she didn't realize it wasn't normal until visiting other homes.
"I almost think, sometimes, I love it even more than her," Abbey said.
"It's just the feeling you get this time of year and I kind of like it all throughout the year."
Now, at 20 years old, she has opened a year-round Christmas store with her mother in North Milton.
Abbey's mother, Kerri Thomson, said she is happy to pass her Christmas obsession down to her daughter.
Kerri said the idea came when she walked into a year-round Christmas store in Ontario about 15 years ago.
She said she thought, "This is something that I would love. Christmas is just one of the magical times of year and everyone seems a little bit happier."
Kerri said she wanted to replicate that idea, but not have it "completely commercialized" and create a nostalgic experience for customers.
The store is called Star and Stable and is run out of a garage attached to the family's home.
Kerri said her husband works in Charlottetown as a pastor, but the decision was made to set the store up in rural P.E.I. and use some of the space in the home they already owned.
"We're very community focused," Kerri said.
"We love our community and the people in it and it is very rustic out here, very country, which definitely I would say adds to the store."
Kerri and Abbey had support from the community and friends to help get the store ready. They worked on the store from late spring until opening day on Dec. 3, Kerri said.
"It was really a group effort of many people and my husband gave a lot of time and a lot of late nights," Kerri said.
She said "a lot of wonderful friends" helped move what was in the garage to a storage unit, and others helped with renovations.
Abbey said the conversion of the garage happened quickly.
"It was so interesting to watch," she said.
"Kind of seeing my vision and the vision we had planned come together was just so cool. And definitely whenever those garage doors were torn down and closed it kind of set in the reality of 'holy cow we are opening the store in December,'" Abbey said.
Before opening Star and Stable, Abbey made custom handmade canvases and she's bringing that skill set to the business.
"I definitely make quite a few of those. My mom and I both make our ornaments, personalized ornaments too," she said.
Abbey said one thing she is often asked is how she expects a Christmas store to be successful outside the holiday season.
"It's going to be all year-round Christmas, all the time, Christmas music playing, we are always going to have our trees up. But the plan is to always have different season things in the store," Abbey said.
"For our big main tree, we are always going to have the theme of the holiday that is going on," she said.
In the new year, Star and Stable also plans to open a café. Abbey said she is hoping that will draw people to the store.
The store also sells products made by local artisans.
"Most of our consignment is from either local around us or just on P.E.I. or the Maritimes," Abbey said.
Abbey said the artisan and craft community on the Island is good at supporting one another.
"It's like small businesses supporting small businesses," she said. "It's a family, so we definitely try and support our family as much as possible."
When Abbey and her family moved to P.E.I. from Ontario, she was able to get a real Christmas tree for the first time. She said that is her "favourite Christmas memory."
With Star and Stable, Abbey said she and her mother hope to create holiday memories for others.
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