It was 1995. And, during my little shop's First Christmas on Bleecker Street, I refused to decorate the store before Thanksgiving. I would defend The Tradition! I was adamant not to hang one pine needle until Thanksgiving Day! So I crept into the shop on Thanksgiving morning around 6:00 am. I turned on NPR; Bob Edwards was interviewing celebrity chefs on their favorite Thanksgiving offerings. (Paul Prudhomme was making a "Turducken.") The store would be closed for the holiday. I was working alone but had nothing but time to relax and decorate: window, garlands, holiday merchandise, and a 10 foot tall Christmas tree, loaded with Christopher Radko ornaments (which would be for sale, of course). As I took my first sip of caffeine, I thought to myself, "This'll be easy. I'll be home by 3:00 pm—showered and dressed—for a turkey meal with my husband and his parents. No problem!"
By 12:00 Noon, I began to question my timing. By 1:00 pm, I began to sweat. And, by 3:00 pm—my ninth hour, at which time I was already late for dinner—I was in tears and the shop phone was ringing (which I could not get to, thanks to tall piles of boxes, garland and other Christmas Detritus blocking my path). The store was a mess! There was glitter everywhere—and barely a third of the decorations were in-place.
I worked for another hour, tried to tidy-up the view from the window, and went home "reformed" of my very recent "seasonal purity" convictions.
The next morning, Black Friday, I got to the store at 4:00 am! I was able to make the shop presentable—though only under great stress and with enormous personal effort. Every year, after that, I amended my ways: decorating would happen (neatly and efficiently) on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Only the Christopher Radko ornaments would be held-back—hung on the shop tree on Thanksgiving Morning. In fact, it became a family tradition for me and my visiting father-in-law to go down to the closed store on Thanksgiving morning, to decorate the tree together. We did this every year (in a leisurely manner and at a civilized hour!) before our Thanksgiving dinner, during my in-law's annual visits—at least until he became unable to travel.
26 years later, my father-in-law is gone. My Greenwich Village shop is gone. Even Christopher Radko's company is gone. Yet, the decorating tradition continues, in its way. This morning, the Monday before Thanksgiving, I will head-down to the Antique Centre of Strabane, in Canonsburg, PA, where I rent a small display place, and I will decorate my area for the holidays. I still use the same garland I purchased that very first year! And, while I have gotten better at managing the timing, the excitement, cheer and anticipation of the season still remains. I think it always will.
The pair of pressed glass Winter Pine Trees, shown above, can be purchased from our on-line store. Please click the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248