GLADEWATER - Don and Jan Greenwood don't rush to put up their Christmas decor and they aren't in a hurry to take it down either.

The couple live all year surrounded by shiny seasonal collectibles that include thousands of exquisitely detailed, handcrafted glass adornments.

Their home is outfitted with towering trees and glass cabinets bursting with their personal collection of festive ornaments, made by artisans using traditional methods and materials.

And it's much the same at their business, Greenwood's Year 'Round Christmas Gifts and Collectibles, 111 E. Pacific Ave., a beloved decorating shop in the heart of Gladewater that's filled with holiday magic and the tantalizing aroma of homemade fudge.

It's a wonderland for the senses that never seems to grow old.

"We've been Christmas all year long for 34 years," Greenwood said. "It started after my wife bought an Old World ornament. It was $8 and that seemed like a lot of money back then. The next year, she bought four or five more."

Her early acquisitions sparked a collecting love that has yet to fade.

"It was pretty and red and I love red," Mrs. Greenwood said. "Always before, the kids and I would decorate the tree with wooden paint-by-number ornaments."

Greenwood wasn't a big fan of red or Christmas at that time, but he did appreciate the craftsmanship of Christopher Radko and Old World Christmas products.

He started acquiring his own ornaments and the rest, as they say, is history.

The collecting couple eventually purchased a 1907 building in downtown Gladewater and decided to set up shop as a Christmas store.

They gather goods from market throughout the year, saving favorites for their home collection set for debut in Gladewater's Dec. 12 Tour of Homes.

Decorating for the home tour starts in August, with virtually every room being transformed into a whimsical, winter wonderland.

"I do try to make it a little different every time," Mrs. Greenwood said.

Vacations and day trips almost always include stops at other Christmas stores to gauge emerging trends and interests.

"I tell people, ‘Whatever your heart desires, I probably have the ornament,'" Greenwood said, citing enduring popularity for specialty items, such as ornaments for Texas Longhorn and Aggie fans.

There seems to be a large fan base for upscale Christmas decor.

Radko ornaments, for example, are made in Poland and revered for exceptional craftsmanship: individually hand blown and painted glass ornaments, lined in silver.

The store also features an extensive inventory of Dept. 56's Halloween Village and Jim Shore collectibles.

There are boxes upon boxes of Shiny-Brite ornaments, part of today's Radko line.

The shop offers specially priced merchandise for every budget, plus a glimpse of Mrs. Greenwood's personal collection of tins and toys and a related holiday passion: homemade fudge.

An entire counter is devoted to a savory selection of fudge, crafted in-house in a kettle suited for a king.

One might say the couple's passion is rooted in their childhoods. Both lost their fathers at young ages.

"He liked Christmas and glass ornaments," Greenwood said.

She added, "We had a country Christmas growing up. My sister and I would go out and get our trees … we'd have to get two or three because they would die. I really like Christmas."

The couple's passion for the holidays is happily shared with their own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"That's what they want for Christmas … ornaments," he said.

Greenwood's is open Tuesday through Saturday until Christmas; the remainder of the year, Thursday through Saturday. Call 903- 844-2201 for specific times.

As Christmas approaches, the collecting couple said they are excited to greet repeat customers, who travel to East Texas for the holidays.

"When people enjoy what you have, it makes you feel good," Greenwood said.



Jacque Hilburn-Simmons is an award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally for 30 years. She's a former police reporter who also wrote a book about the KFC murder. She shares stories about East Texas through her Behind the Wheel column.

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