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White House decorator says holiday season feels different after loss of George H.W Bush

Posted at 2:14 PM, Dec 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-09 14:14:47-05

Christmas memories just aren’t the same for one local man, unless he’s trimming the trees with tinsel and lights at the White House.

Bill Hixon has been the head decorator in the nation’s capital for decades and because of that position, he has fond memories of many presidents, even Former President George H. W. Bush.

“This is the last Christmas they were there, the last day we would be seeing them,” said Hixon.

He’s the owner of the holiday decoration shop in Lakewood, Hixon’s Inc.

“He was a fine individual and he loved Christmas as much as we did,” Hixon said, recalling his time with Bush, who he says is one of his favorites.

Hixon remembers the former president as a great and personable guy, even willing to take a photo of him and some of his workers days before the decorations were complete, which he remembers no other president being willing or able to do.

“I've met four great people in my life and Barbara and her husband are certainly two of them,” he said.

And he should know, given he’s rubbed elbows with six different first families.

“I've met the Reagans, the Bush’s, Clinton’s, [the] Obamas and now Trump, I just came back from visiting Trump," he said.

He says every President has a different style. From Clinton’s particular requests, “President Clinton wanted to decorate his own tree, even though he was allergic to fresh greens,” he said.

To Reagan’s laid-back approach, he’s had the opportunity to pick the minds of multiple first families.

“They may not have an exact idea,” Hixon said. “That’s fine, we’ll redo it and redo it until we please them.”

Known for an invention that changed that revolutionized the floral industry back in the 1950s, Hixon’s name got around and 39 years ago, he received his very first invitation to the White House.

“I thought it’d be a one time, and it’s been nearly 40 years,” he said. “I used to be in charge of the Ace room, it was four trees, four mantels, but now they won’t let me climb a ladder,” he said.

He says he loves it so much, he’ll do it, until he no longer can.

“I’m going to go as long as I can,” he said.

Hixson also says while he just got back from decorating the white house again, the biggest memory he will take away from this Christmas season is the loss of the late Bush.