Holiday Guide Web Extras - "Decorating Advice from "Mr. Christmas"

He’s known in Cleveland as “Mr. Christmas” and has helped decorate Christmas trees at the White House each year for nearly 30 years. So what are Bill Hixson’s secrets for holiday decorating?

“Christmas is for children and for the child in you,” advises Hixson, who’s owned Hixson’s Floral Barn in Lakewood since 1959. “Don’t be afraid of being a bit schmaltzy in your decorating.”

Christmas decorations should incorporate the things you and your family enjoy, he says, preserving time-honored traditions and prompting happy memories.

“Traditions are even more desirable now,” says Hixson. “Whenever there is upheaval in the world, we try to get back to the traditions of things we’ve done in the past.”

He often uses classic themes such as doves, stars or animals, but always in moderation. “Otherwise it looks like you’re having an angel convention in your home,” he says.

Hixson — who’s nearly 80 years old — gets just three days to put 7,000 to 11,000 ornaments on a single White House tree. So when he hears from older people that Christmas decorating is too much work, he tells them that “this is when you need it even more. You need to bring these things out so you can reminisce about the wonderful things that have gone before.
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