The as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ged Comerford, the operational director of The Christmas Decorators. The updated version has been edited for clarity and accuracy.
I am one of the owners of the company that I joined in 2009.
The Aspen, Colorado, branch is still open and employs about 400 people.
I was in the business of franchising maintenance chemicals. It had nothing to do with Christmas.
I'm taking phone calls, speaking to clients, writing risk assessments, and putting proposals together.
I get around 400 emails a day.
From September to December we dealt with 10,400 inquiries at the head office. If we answered the phones, we wouldn't do anything else. Our calls are routed to a call center where they take all the inquiries and send the emails. Everyone gets a response.
I will talk to them immediately if it's a big name.
On Christmas Eve, we were asked to come by with Santa and his helpers. There is a home in England that is decorated by us. The house that Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to live in is where they live.
Sharon's extravagance. The entire driveway is decorated with trees and bushes. Outside of the house, as well as inside of the house and her study, she has decorated it. We have to put up one fresh Christmas tree, one real Christmas tree, which the family decorates themselves, but then we have to take it all away.
It's similar to going into a florist to make a bouquet. The florist will ask you how much you want to spend. Depending on what your bouquet looks like. The service is the same.
We have clients that spend from as little as 500 to as much as 6 million dollars.
It's not an option to not be ready when the "X Factor" contestants come to switch on the lights at a shopping center. It's important that we're ready.
I thought we wouldn't be able to pull it off in Bethlehem. The birthplace of Christianity is usually decorated by me every year. All of the decorations were shipped before we arrived.
On Thursday, we arrived to begin work. We had a full week of work ahead of us, but customs didn't release the goods until the next day. On Saturday, the switch-on happened. It took me less than 48 hours to finish my work. We were able to pull it off despite the stress.
You need to make it happen. It takes a long time to plan.
Christmas World is the first Christmas exhibition of the year in Germany. The exhibition is the largest in the world. I travel through Southeast Asia for a couple of months. Quality control of the products we manufacture is maintained by our own office in China.
There are 60-foot Christmas trees and 15-foot illuminated Stags. We make giant letters that say "Christmas," "Joy," and "hope" You can either walk through or sit in the presents. We have had requests for carousels in people's gardens and penguins. We can do it if you can think of a way to do it.
Over 650 shopping centers in the UK want to be decorated at the same time on November 14. I take a summer break where it goes into a lull.
We entertain clients at our headquarters. We are training and retraining our own franchisees. We are getting ready for Christmas again.
I think my life is a circle. Being in a business is rewarding. I think putting smiles on people's faces is a joy. It is a very lucrative business.