Christmas time in Lakewood means holiday tradition at Hixson’s gift shop Detroit Avenue.
And for Bill Hixson it also means an annual trip to Washington, D.C. to decorate the presidential Christmas trees.
For 30 years, Hixson has consulted with five First Ladies and countless White House staffers to help create some of the nation’s most stunning Christmas displays.
This year, he was assigned the Red Room of the White House, where he festooned a 7-foot fir tree in the tradition of the earliest known Christmas trees in Germany.
So, he used lots of fruit to decorate.
“It’s the most colorful room in the White House,” he said. “Our room was so bright, that it was quite a contrast between the other rooms.”
In all, Hixson meticulously placed a total of about 1,200 ornaments on his tree.
Hixson is no stranger to Christmas — he’s even recently written a book on the topic.
With no shortage of charm, Hixson’s gift and floral business has blossomed into holiday institution on Detroit Avenue.
Hixson will mark 60 years in business next year.
The store boasts tens of thousands of holiday ornaments — including the largest selection of free-blown glass baubles in Ohio.
“It’s been a busy Christmas season,” said Hixson, a Rocky River resident.
What’s the store’s secret?
“Nostalgia,” he quickly replied.
“There’s not a thing in here that you need,” Hixson added. “Not one thing. There are a lot of things you want.”
From the candy at the front counter, to the candles and music boxes, past the nativity figures and into the ornament rooms, the large space offers something for everybody, he said.
There’s also a new item on the shelves: Hixson recently wrote a book, “Legends, Lore and Stories of Christmas Ornaments,” about the history of Christmas decorations and other fun holiday facts.
It’s on sale for $10.
At 84 years old, Hixson, said he has no plans to retire.
“Why would I? To watch TV? No thank you,” he said. “As long as I am healthy, I love what I do. You can’t come in here and be unhappy.”