Holiday cheer and charity at Sierra Timberline |

Holiday cheer and charity at Sierra Timberline

Sierra Timberline, 324 Idaho Maryland Road, Grass Valley, the ornament display in the store. Left to right are: Kim Battenfeld, Emily Potter, Carol Baker, Piper Russo, and Dona Paulus.
John Hart/ | The Union

Sierra Timberline

324 Idaho Maryland Rd, Grass Valley

530-273-4822" target="_blank">Text">

Hours: 9 a.m. To 5:30 p.m., Mon. through Fri.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays

Most of the year, Sierra Timberline is known for its wood stoves, spas, awnings and furnishings. But each year when the holidays roll around, a sizable portion of the store’s 6,000 square foot space is transformed into a magical marketplace of winter cheer.

The staff spends hundreds of hours setting up the elaborate holiday displays, said manager Emily Potter, which include thousands of ornaments, dried wreaths, snow globes, Belgian glass adornments, holiday potpourri baskets, music boxes, baking kits, lighted gingerbread houses, nutcrackers, tiny trains, gift wrapping accessories and much more.

For the past six years, Potter has scoured trade shows in search of elegant and unique holiday items. This year, the staff is especially proud of their selection of woodland creatures. Most ornaments are in the $6 to $8 range. Those who buy three ornaments get a fourth one free.

The best part, said Potter, is that a portion of the proceeds from the holiday section are donated to specific local charities throughout the month of December.

“…It’s now become a tradition for people…It seems to symbolize the start of the season…”
Emily Potter

The Neighborhood Center of the Arts, which promotes art and creativity for adults with developmental disabilities, will be the recipient of the first week’s proceeds. The second week will be KARE Crisis Nursery, which provides safe care for small children whose families are experiencing stress. The third week will be “What’s Up Wellness Checkups,” whose aim is to raise awareness and prevent suicide and depression among Nevada County teens. The Interfaith Food Ministry will be the lucky recipient of proceeds from the fourth week.

“Emily’s Christmas department has added a great, festive feel to our store — when you walk in, there is a joyful feel and energy, said Skip Stahmer, who owns the store with his wife, Lin. “I think it starts when she begins setting up the displays. It’s a special time at Sierra Timberline as Emily brings her daughter and son-in-law in to help the rest of our staff create a cheerful presentation. The first hours of setup are a bit chaotic as boxes and displays are stacked everywhere but it soon settles in to a great scene as everyone delights in organizing bright, attractive displays. I think it’s our employees’ favorite time of the year. I know I certainly love the look and feel when I step through the door.”

Sierra Timberline started their annual ornament tradition six years ago, when Nevada County residents were hardest hit by the recession, said Potter.

“People just seemed kind of down,” she said. “I thought it would be fun to set up a small, cheery, whimsical Christmas room upstairs.”

But it didn’t take long before the displays became so popular that the store expanded the holiday selection and relocated to the main floor.

“In fact, it’s grown each year,” said Potter. “It’s now become a tradition for people, who bring their children or grandchildren to pick out an ornament. It seems to symbolize the start of the season. A man and his teenage son came in and spent a half hour picking out three ornaments the other day. There’s a little something for everyone.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at

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