CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - They are must have ornaments.
Since 1970 florist Bill Hixson has been offering Christmas ornaments to his customers. That year Hixson purchased 1,000 pickle ornaments to sell, thinking he would have them for several years. After sharing the legend of the pickle the ornaments sold out in three weeks.
Hixson started selling ornaments and stories that year.
“There’s a story about almost every ornament,” Hixson said sitting in his Lakewood store. “And if there isn’t, I’ll find one.”
The 89-year-old Hixson has devoted much of his life to assembling and sharing the legends and folklore of the ornaments most people just take for granted.
Hixson has been involved in decorating Christmas trees at the White House for 30 years.
So who better to ask, what are the must have ornaments everyone should have on their Christmas tree?
The Pickle, the pig and the frog, may sound like the start of a bad joke, but Hixson explains the pickle is good luck. Because the pig is also associated with good luck in Germany, a pig ornament should go on your tree. The frog doesn’t go backward or side to side, just forward, so it you want to keep moving forward this year display a frog. The trio almost guarantees you a great year.
The Polish spider web folklore begins with parents too busy to decorate the tree. Tired parents went to sleep to find angels had sent spiders to blanket the tree with gold and silver webs. For all exhausted parents a spider web would be a perfect accessory.
In Japan the hedgehog is almost as popular as the Teddy bear. The legend goes that the hedgehog has magical powers and can change into whatever he wants. After being chased around by a housewife the hedgehog turned himself into a teapot. The housewife outsmarted the hedgehog when she placed him on the stove and out popped the tail.
Who was the first visitor to the baby Jesus? Was it the wise men, or the townspeople, or a shepherd? One legend suggests it was a cat from the barn. Before that night cats could yowl or meow, but it was the night Jesus was born that they learned to purr to soothe the baby.
The sunflower tells the story of undying love. A young Native American girl had been betrothed to an old man, but her heart belonged to a young brave. When she refused to marry him the tribe turned her into a sunflower and him into the sun. To this day she follows her love as he travels across the sky. The sunflower represents love and loyalty.
If you are from Cleveland an ornament on the tree representing your home is a must. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the West Side Market, or the lighthouse that sits in the harbor and greets visitors to the city.
“Every family should have a Nativity Scene,” Hixson says while thumbing through hundred of stories. Some cultures fill a room, others have a creche on the table, but an ornament can be a symbol for devotion, adoration and veneration.
One side is Santa Clause, on the other is Mrs. Clause. The old adage says, “There is always a good woman behind every successful man,” or "there is a good man behind every successful woman. Either way let’s raise a glass to the couple,
If you see a chimney sweep the legend says you touch him for good luck, funny enough if you have just been married the luck from a sweep is even greater.
Every culture has their own take on Santa, the German Santa wears a green top and leather pants, in France Santa wears a long flowing robe. Honor your heritage by finding the Santa that fits your family.
Finally, the broom represents a break from the past. It’s time to sweep away the old and make way for the new. Make room for a broom ornament in your tree to guarantee a clean start.