Metro-East Living

Downtown Belleville ready for annual Holiday Open House

This holiday limited-release shirt is from Peace by Piece in downtown Belleville.
This holiday limited-release shirt is from Peace by Piece in downtown Belleville. Provided

Downtown Belleville is already decked out with Christmas decorations and retailers are gearing up for gift-giving with the annual Holiday Open House on Saturday.

While times may vary for shopping, you can expect to find sales and unique merchandise.

For example, Peace by Piece on West Main Street is offering its long-sleeve limited-release holiday shirt ($78) that is made in St. Louis. Check out all the pretty holiday decorations while you’re there.

Stop in at Ben’s on East Main Street, where you can pick up the Harry Potter version of the game Clue for $39.99, or try the silly and fun Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty ($15.99). Reminiscent of another playful putty, it’s stretchable, squeezable and bounces. Register to win prizes from Vera Bradley, DaVinci beads and more. Plus, if you get hold of Ben’s toy catalog, you’ll find coupons inside.

Over at Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet, pick up some mixes for holiday dips ($3.95); you’ll find about a half-dozen varieties just right for your next party.

I couldn’t list every store, but make sure and grab a shopping bag that can hold more than a few things and start at one end of downtown and work your way to the other. Happy holiday hunting.

Santa pet reminder

At St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Santa has made his metro-eat home in Center Court through Christmas Eve. Besides seeing the kiddos, Santa will take part in pet photos, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday through November (but not Thanksgiving Day). Go to and click on events for details.

Holiday table setting

If you own Fiesta tableware, you should know that Dillard’s has coordinating Christmas-theme pieces, from mugs ($19.99 each) to the 2016 collector plate ($19.99).

The Trolls are here

Traveling the aisles of Kohl’s in Fairview Heights, I was struck by a display in vivid shades of pink, purple and teal by the towels and bedding. The Trolls have arrived (movie opened Nov.4), so you can buy on sale ($24.99) the plush pink Troll Poppy (also in teal) with her arms wrapped around a coordinating throw. A set of six washcloths is $19.99. You’ll also find comforters and other bedding items.

Toys R Us boasts it has more than 120 “Trolls” items. Through Saturday, buy two and get the third free (except games and bikes).

Seeing orange

In a place where you really want to be noticed by others, orange safety vests are a must in the woods when hunting. Gander Mountain in O’Fallon has a sale on a variety of styles, starting at $19.99.

Furry fashion

And in case you need to add a winter fashion statement to your wardrobe, faux fur remains hot. Fashion blogger Jance Staten, of O’Fallon, puts together a look at Forever 21 in the mall using faux fur pieces. Go to to see photos and a video.