The first holiday event of the season is always Holiday House, the Junior League of Little Rock's major yearly fundraiser. According to the Junior League,for 25 years, Holiday House has collectively raised over $5 million to fund the JLLR’s community priority areas including Stuff the Bus, Nightingales, PARK, Kota Camp and Boosters & Big Rigs. More than 80 percent of all funding for the JLLR is generated by Holiday House.
It may be a fundraiser, but it's a great place to find unique gifts to get a jump on your holiday shopping list. Holiday House has a wide variety of price ranges too, and merchants often offer weekend specials. Many of the merchants are from Arkansas, but Holiday House brings in merchants from around the country as well. There are 180 merchants scheduled to be at the event. Holiday House usually brings in over 14,000 shoppers.
As always, Holiday House occurs before Thanksgiving. In 2016, it's November 9-12 (the 9th is the special preview party). However, you can event get some Thanksgiving treats at Holiday House, because some of the vendors sell edible treats.
Vendors range from edible items like dips and soup mixes to toys and clothes for kids, home decor, art, clothing and more. You can usually find holiday decorations and gift wrap, but it's actually a bit more than just holiday items. The Junior League tries to find unique vendors that you won't find anywhere else.
I always see unique toys and gifts there that are usually on "must have" lists the year after they appear at Holiday House. The JLLR really does a good job of rounding up new and innovative items for locals to buy.
The event lasts a whole weekend and you can buy weekend passes or day passes. General admission is $10 for one day or $20 for all three days. Some people like to go on day way, make their way around and make a list of what they want to buy on day 2. Holiday House is huge, so either buy what you like when you see it or make notes. You'll likely never find whatever it was you wanted to buy again by memory without going back through the entire list of merchants. They do have merchant maps, so just writing the name of the vendor is usually enough.
Holiday House hosts several special, limited shopping events if you want to avoid crowds. The preview night is on November 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets for the preview are $45 or $75 for VIP access. Ladies night is November 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. It's limited admission and there will be Mexican food and drinks. Tickets are $30. The morning private shopping event is on November 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is also $30.
Santa will be there for the kids on November 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. He'll take photos with the kids.
Holiday House is located at the Statehouse Convention Center at 101 E Markham St in downtown Little Rock. You can utilize normal downtown parking, and the Convention Center does have its own parking decks. The parking decks are at 201 Main Street and at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel next door (424 W. Markham Street). The parking decks cost $2 per hour. There is street parking for free if you don't mind a walk. The event can get quite crowded and the weekend is already a bit crowded in the River Market, so it may make sense to park in the deck.
The Junior League of Little Rock is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Junior League of Little Rock was organized in 1914 as an auxiliary to the United Charities, forerunner to the present United Way. The group separated from United Charities in 1921 in order to establish its own projects, and in 1922 affiliated with the Association of Junior Leagues. In 1929, the Junior League of Little Rock was incorporated.