“Wow! Can you come and do that in my house?”
“How much is it to buy the tree fully decorated like that?”
“Could you just wrap that up and ship it directly to my living room?”
These are the most common comments I get while Im decorating stores for Christmas. Sometimes people are joking, but their reaction to the way the tree looks is always genuine.
Over the past 12 years of being what others have affectionately labeled me as “Christmas Girl, Mrs. Christmas and the Elf” I’ve had a multitude of people make these exact comments each year. And so the kits were created. Finally, a way to packaged up what I do and how I do it inside a box neatly wrapped and delivered to your front door. But before I get too sales pitchy on you, I need you to understand that Im a decorator by trade that has learned how to turn what I love into a business, not a business person who created a clever gimmick to make money at the most magical time of year.
Christmas is my passion, as is football, but I cant throw more than 10 yards (okay 7) so I cheer for my team instead of aspiring to be on the field with them. I didn’t even realize that Christmas was my passion until I started my merchandising career at Walt Disney World. I know what you’re thinking right now, “how glamorous and exciting it must have been to decorate the trees at the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom”. Well you would be wrong. So wrong actually.
I started “decorating” by sitting on a stool with a pair of wire cutters clipping the lights off last years Christmas trees under the veranda of the studio workshop. In Florida. In the middle of July. You don’t know what hot is until you’ve spent time outdoors in an Orlando summer. So I can honestly say I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy at this poin. But in the back of my mind, I knew it would lead to something. Something far better than clipping off old lights. And finally, my dreams came true….now I got to RE-light the trees. Hooray . (insert sarcasm here).
Well at least this was going to be easy. How hard could this be? Lighting a tree? We’ve all done it. Wrong again. You may have strung lights on your tree, but I can almost guarantee you’ve never strung lights the way Disney Cast Members light their trees. They touch Every…Single… Branch. On the entire tree. No joke. Did I mention you also had to do this in a way so you couldn’t see the wire??? This my friends, is what my Disney Cast Members call “earning your ears”. You don’t get to do the great stuff until you master the less than magical tasks. I spent 4 months lighting and relighting before I even touched a decoration. And when it finally came time for me to decorate my own tree, I experienced the most scrutiny (constructive of course, this is Disney after all) than any other task I’ve ever completed in my life. But why???? It’s just a Christmas tree!! We’ve all decorated a Christmas tree! How difficult could this actually be??
And that was my problem. That statement or question, whatever it was. That was why my tree wasn’t magical.
I wasn’t just decorating a tree. I was creating Magic.
I needed to create something that would stop a kid in his tracks on his way to ride Rockin Roller Coaster. I needed to make people WANT to stop. To take a moment out of their chaotic day at Disney and stop, just to look. Even though that kid would never buy an ornament off that tree, it didn’t matter. Its purpose was to create a magical feeling of awe and wonder. It was to create a feeling of Christmas that could never be calculated with ROI’s and sales data.
Magic was priceless. And my job was to create it.
This, and this alone, is why I love decorating trees. It’s why I’ve become so good at it over the years and it’s why I want all of you to be great at it!
I want everyone to have a piece of this magic in their own homes. And even if you don’t buy a kit, I can still teach you how to make this magic happen with the how to videos.
I’ve spent the last 12 years decorating throughout the Sunshine State, the GTA to the Canadian Midwest, and the one thing that remains constant is the look on people’s faces when they walk past one of my trees, and I never get tired of seeing it. The look that they’ve just stumbled upon something truly magical.
I learned two very important life lessons during my time at Disney.
The first from the great John Lasseter, creator of Pixar. He said “quality is the best business plan”. No matter what you create, it has to be of quality.
And the second is from the great Karen Klemmer, a merchandise presentation specialist that took an intern under her wing, someone many of you will never meet, but the impression she made on me will last a life time. She told me to “never forget where I came from”. Sounds simple enough right? There’s a point here I promise.
The point is, when your kit arrives at your door, before you open the box and start decorating, I want you to remember that it was created using the same decorating methods and awe inspiring magic that I use every time I create a tree. And it was created with the intention of being magical. Since quality is the best business plan, the level of detail and quality that goes into each and every one of those kits will be enough to remind you that I’ve never forgotten where I came from.
(me in 2006 with my very first tree...filled with Kermits)