Twenty-three years ago, Lori Lyons wanted to do something special beyond just an open house for her gift shop, Beauty and the Bath. She was inspired by holiday clothing drives, but thought beyond piles of coats and hats: “We take for granted that everyone has pajamas and a comforting bedtime ritual, but it’s not always the case for families struggling to put food on the table. Pajamas are a luxury they might not be able to afford,” Lori explains. “A comforting bedtime routine helps all children thrive. Good nights make good days!” So, she asked customers to bring new, unwrapped pajama sets for boys and girls, aged newborn to 17, that Lori would donate to kids in need through the North Kingstown Giving Program, which lets parents come and “shop” for their family during the holidays.
Today, the event is a town tradition. Since the first Pajama Party, thousands of PJ sets have been collected and delivered. While Lori used to orchestrate most of the event on her own, including making all the food and her famous “grown-up” hot chocolate, merchants and restaurants within Wickford Village and beyond have gotten involved, donating raffle prizes (kayak excursions, yoga classes, designer handbags, a private horse-drawn carriage ride), appetizers, and swag-bags. But, Lori’s favorite part? “Seeing my loyal, awesome customers show up with armfuls of adorable pajamas saying, ‘it was just too hard to pick out one!’”
Lori hopes to keep the momentum going and make more folks aware of their work, which she believes is to give all children a loving night, regardless of family circumstances – something she has dubbed “The Warm and Fuzzy Effect”.
“People tell me shopping for kids’ PJs and coming to [the party] has become part of their holiday tradition,” Lori shares. “It just feels so good to see the mound of pajamas at the end of the night and know that, together, we all did this.”
The PJ Party will take place December 4 from 5-9pm at Beauty and the Bath, including 20 percent off store merchandise, refreshments, store demos, goody bags, and raffle.