Well, I’m back with another gift idea post with my favorite picks from no less an American institution than the Vermont Country Store — “Purveyors of the Practical and Hard to Find Since 1946.” Let’s take a step back in time.
First of all, let me say that this is not a sponsored post (I don’t even have affiliate links in here!). Neither was last week’s cozy gift guide from American icon Faribault Mills and its incredibly beautiful woolen offerings. I decided to write these holiday gift posts because I really believe in and support these generations-old American businesses!
I LOVE visiting the Vermont Country Store at its original location in Weston, VT, a town with a population of about 600. Founded in 1946 by Vrest & Ellen Orton, the Vermont Country Store actually started in 1945, when the couple sent out a catalog of 32 items for sale to their Christmas card list.
Unless noted, images from The Vermont Country Store.
Today, the Vermont Country Store is owned by Lyman Orton and sons Cabot, Gardner. and Eliot. Together, they are 7th & 8th generation Vermonters, and 4th & 5th generation storekeepers.
Ok, I hope they don’t mind my saying it, but who can focus on the sweets section when the purveyors themselves provide such serious eye candy!
While the physical plant (expanded) still maintains its humble American roots, the company reaches the entire WORLD through its famous catalog & prides itself on being Purveyors of the Practical and Hard to Find.
I haven’t been to the store this year for obvious reasons, but it IS open for locals, and it’s a serious money trap! One just wants to buy EVERYTHING. Candy, cheese, flannel pajamas that you remember your mom (or grandmother) wearing, weird soaps and cleaners from the 1950s…. it’s wickedly good fun.
The Vermont Country Store has been profiled many times in its history, but I LOVED this little 5 minute clip from when Martha Stewart paid a visit.
The clips starts with a commercial for a vintage soap called “Lifebouy,” which, BTW, the Vermont Country Store still carries!! Martha, herself, plays the wife … at the mature age of 15! You must watch.
So here are a few of my favorite things in Home Decor, Apparel, Yummy Treats, and Personal Care (some funny things here!) — lots of blasts from the past. These really just scratch the surface, and almost all are made in the USA. Enjoy!
Thomas Mosser’s dream of opening his own glass company in the Midwest was finally realized decades later when he opened Mosser Glass in 1971. Mosser’s passion for working with glass and his commitment to quality is reflected in both the beauty and rich details. Still crafted in the USA using vintage molds.
Glassware / Candlesticks / Glass Trees
We used to have these big colorful Christmas lights, before my mom got all “classy” and switched to white twinkle lights! Large C7 Christmas bulbs like the ones from the 1950s, 25 feet long.
Classic Ceramic Christmas Light String
The BEST Christmas table cloth for the kids table or messy adults! SOOOOOO much better than the plastic-y stuff out now. Borrowing a page from yesteryear, the VCS’s heavy-duty oilcloth is still made with real fabric, so it has the weight and drape of real cloth, yet is guaranteed to last. The oilcloth has a laminated vinyl finish that wipes clean and will never crack or peel.
Heavy Duty Christmas Plaid Oil Cloth
The Handsome Husband’s mom has one of these ceramic light-up trees. It’s always on the kitchen island counter! Kids love the lights. Exclusive to The Vermont Country Store.
I love having sleigh bells on our boot room door. It’s the sound of “Over the River and Through the Woods” every time someone comes in the door.
It’s not Spode, but Blue Willow dinnerware would look amazing with the Mosser green & red glassware.
Blue Willow Dinnerware, Vintage Pattern
Ok, the Orton Brothers Collection is right up my rugged-mountain-man-loving alley. Lots of plaid, denim, canvas, and rugged 3-day beards.
Denim Weekend Coat / Midweight Plaid Flannel Shirt (5 patterns) / Wide Vermont Suspenders (7 colors)
Lots of different Irish wool items — sweaters, vests, shawls, and caps. The Orton brothers obviously do a lot of their own modeling. Either they’re trying to save cash, or they’re just hotter than most models.
Vintage Irish Tweed Cap / Women’s Irish Supersoft Asymmetrical Cardigan / Men’s Irish Wool Crewneck
There’s a LOT of vintage style women’s pajamas! Remember those velour nightgowns? I think the HH’s grandmother had one. And I’m pretty sure I had a flannel nightgown with eyelet lace like one of these when I was a kid. The cable-knit socks … well, I still love these!
Smocked Velour Zip-Front Robe / Tyrolean Flannel Nightgown / Merino Wool Cable-Knit Knee Socks
Ok, ALL of the cakes look AMAZING, and get really good reviews, too. I usually love to make a cake, but COVID has actually killed a lot of my drive to bake. I just want someone to make something for me.
The VCS’s crunchy and delicious Cookie Buttons are 100% natural with absolutely no corn syrup and zero trans fat. They bake these old-fashioned little treats in their own bakery in Vermont. I love the pic of the bros back when they were cute as buttons. 😉
Liqueur-filled dark chocolate bottles?????? Ok, someone can send these to my house.
Anton Berg Dark Chocolate Liqueur Bottles
Same Charles Chips flavor you remember from the 1950s and ’60s!
VCS’s nonpareils—French for “without equal”—have been made by Guittard in San Francisco since the 1860s. My grandmother ALWAYS used to have a dish of these.
I love Pfeffernusse cookies. They are just soooooo good dipped in tea or coffee. My mom, who is from mostly German ancestry, always has these. A childhood memory of mine. Soft with a cake-like texture and spiced with a gingerbread spice blend that may include cinnamon, clove, allspice, coriander, cardamom, ginger, star anise, mace, nutmeg, and a touch of white pepper.
Tangee lipstick‘s color changes to match your natural shade. For many women, this was the first lipstick their fathers would allow them to wear! 800 reviews and 4.5 stars! The video with Lyman and a local cooking show host (you can find it in the link below) is super cute. Watch out! I think she has a crush on Mr. Orton!
Silver Savior Colloidal Soap is “lauded for its powerful and nontoxic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties, this USA-made soap contains silver that’s 99.99% pure in a base of skin-soothing olive, coconut and palm oils. Use daily to heal, protect, and treat chronic skin conditions, such as fungus, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Preferred by hospitals and the military, it’s also a great choice or those with compromised immune systems or who are frequent hand washers.”
So says the advertising, anyway. I’m curious, are you?
Silver Savior Colloidal Silver Bar Soap
Lemon Up Shampoo is one of the products that received so many requests from customers, that the Vermont Country Store found & purchased the formula and now have it made for the store. Says one reviewer:
“I started laughing when I went to use this. Just uncontrollable laughter. Maybe it’s the times we live in, but I mean, seriously, who wants to smell like a lemon? But I gotta say, this isn’t the chemically strange fake lemon smell. It really smells exactly like fresh-squeezed lemons. It’s amazing. Suddenly my day was different… Hey there crazy lady on the train – my head smells like a lemon! Screw you racist wacko on the street – my hair is lemony fresh and there’s nothing you can do about it! Watch out Wall Street – I’m all lemoned-up and ready to win!…”
A year into COVID-world craziness, maybe we all need a little Lemon UP!
Lemon Up Shampoo & Conditioner
The name of Spring Chicken Muscle Rub says it all! Too funny. This natural formula of cassia and cooling peppermint oils and heat-expressed calendula oil—used for centuries to combat inflammation–cool and warms as it soothes tired, achy, overworked muscles.
You warm this Therapy Neck Wrap in the microwave or cool it in freezer. The herbal wrap, made from soft 100% cotton flannel, contains wheat kernels and flax seeds infused with a blend of soothing, aromatic herbs, including lavender, chamomile, rosemary, and peppermint. And you get to look like a Scottish matriarch (or laird) at the same time!
Whew!!! That was a lot. Believe me, I could have added so much more. Are there any items that make you feel a little nostalgic?????
There is free shipping this weekend with orders over $69. The employees at the Store are working overtime trying to fulfill orders — and we know that the Postal Service and FedEx are even more strapped this year than last. Scan The Vermont Country Store’s offerings and finish out your shopping this weekend!
A few other holiday posts from the past for your perusing pleasure!:
A Currier & Ives Holiday in Peterborough, NH
The Only Christmas Decoration I Bought This Year
I’m late on my Christmas decorating because we were gone for Thanksgiving, so that’s what we’ll be doing today. And it’s supposed to snow, but I’m not sure if I have boots that fit the boys… AND I don’t have snow tires on yet…. BUT we’ll get a fire going, and I’ll make hot chocolate and play Bing Crosby Christmas carols.
8 thoughts on “A Nostalgic Christmas with The Vermont Country Store”
Oh my goodness, I LOVE the Vermont Country Store! My husband and I discovered it on our honeymoon in Vermont many years ago. So charming and quaint! I just received 2 flannel nightshirts ordered from their catalog.
You probably also know that they purchased Country Curtains, and you can still get most of the items that CC used to sell. Their sheer pinch pleat curtains look beautiful in my living room and don’t cost an arm and a leg.
The Vermont Country Store is an American gem!
Isn’t it wonderful? We found it on a drive years and years ago. Turns out, my Southern mother-in-law remembers receiving the catalog to her house when she was a child!
I want everything at the store, including an Orton man! Are any single?
Hahaha. Maybe…! I just spent a ton of money on some quirky self care items.
This was just really fun. I’m checking out a bunch of random stuff now!
It’s kinda like going down Alice’s rabbit hole, in a good way!
That was a fun post, and I see several items that I intend to investigate further. I remember getting the catalog from Vermont Country Store many years ago. Much to my surprise, when searching for black and white ticking curtain panels for a client this year, we actually found and ordered some from Vermont Country Store, and they were exactly what we wanted! Such a great resource.
I love the bowl covers from The Vermont Country Store, they’re like hairnets for bowls. They are heavier in material then the one you get a supermarket. They last for ever and I just put in dishwasher and keep using. I only wish you could buy just one size instead of the assorted sizes.
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