As joyful as the Christmas season often is, the days leading up to that day in December always seem to involve stressful shopping trips, incessant cookie baking and by the end, fatigue.

The owners of The Bee Well Boutique and Spa at Linwood's Maple Point Plaza invited women from the area to Holiday Ladies' Night for a relaxing entrance into this holiday season. Young moms, friends and new visitors trickled in from 6 to

9 p.m. on a recent Thursday night, for an open-house experience.

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"This time of year, just to be able to stop and catch your breath (is important)," co-owner Lauren Barrett, of Linwood, said of the evening. "As a mother of two little boys, it can become especially hectic."

Barrett owns the boutique and spa with her sister, Rianon Kowalewski, of Linwood, and their cousin, Devon Parrotto, of Ocean City. Barrett and Kowalewski's mother, Renee Zentmeyer, also lends her services to the small business.

A Christmas tree with gold adornments arranged in the bustling front half of the tiny location created the holiday feel. Visitors had the opportunity to shop around while learning about the spa's services as Christmas music played, cocktails were poured and chocolate-chip cookies slowly disappeared.

Women had the choice to fill out wish lists for the small gifts they admired in the front shop. Individuals received free chair massages in its tranquil dimly lit back room.

Local Realtor Chris Castellani and her daughter, Allie, walked into the shop for the first time that night.

"I've driven by a million times. I live very close by," the Linwood resident said.

Castellani wanted to support the local business by stopping by, but admitted to wanting to fill out a wish list after browsing around.

"They have great bracelets … and pajamas!" she said.

Besides their massage and facial treatment offerings, the Shore Road spot carries unique gifts - from Piggy Paint, an all-natural nail polish for children, to handmade jewelry made by their Wildwood friend, Melissa Sahns, 24.

Sahns said she blows her own glass and tries to incorporate earthy stones and crystals into her pieces. Necklaces range from $25 to $40, while earrings run from $12 to $25, the jewelry maker said.

Everything is trendy and affordable, added Zentmeyer, who was selling bedside carafes and trays she made of refurbished wood and vintage hardware.

"We try to carry as many local vendors as possible," Barrett said. "We have a lot on consignment. ... We don't have to jack up the prices, so local artists are making what they deserve."

The store seemed to have a gift for anyone in stock. An array of purses and scarves lined the walls, holiday soy candles were lit as samples and Jessie Steele polka-dotted and cupcake-printed pajamas hung on display - a brand featured in the movie "Sex and the City," Kowalewski said.

"We just thought that it would be a nice night out for moms and wives," Kowalewski said. "And it's nice for the men to be able to buy the things that their significant others would like - without too much thought or effort."

The Bee Well Boutique and Spa has a follow-up night planned - Men's Holiday Happy Hour - for the male counterparts to enjoy a beer while receiving a helping holiday hand. On Dec. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m., the owners will assist with gift purchases, with a little help from the wish lists, as well as gift-wrapping, the owners said.

"This time of year can be very stressful, and it's important to enjoy it," Kowalewski said.

For the month of December, The Bee Well Boutique and Spa is offering five moderately priced spa packages. Days of service are Tuesday-Saturday and appointments can be booked online at secure-booker.

com/thebeewell.For more information, call 609-788-8322.

Contact Caitlin Honan:


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