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Who to call if decorating tree’s a hassle

Some folks enjoy decorating for Christmas.

Some don’t.

My wife is one of the former.

Sherri loves it.

As for yours truly, Christmas decorating was never my bag all those years of bachelorhood until we met.

Then she got me a little tree for my old crib.

A Santa Claus with a Hawaiian shirt, too.

You might say I came to see the lights.

So when Sherri asks me to help get the Christmas decorations down from the attic, I’m there.

As long as big football game isn’t on TV, of course.

Or I could say, let’s call Stanley Watson.


Christmas decorating is his family’s business.

Has been for 30 years.

I met Watson, his wife, Anita, and son, Jonathan, last Friday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County’s annual Christmas Tree Lot Fundraiser near Miller Elementary School.

They were checking out a couple of big trees which I assumed were for them.

It was for a woman in Sarasota.

A shut-in?

“No, she doesn’t want to do it,” Anita said. “So we do it.”

Doesn’t want to decorate a Christmas tree?

Imagine that.

Turns out that woman isn’t alone.

Team Watson decorates trees -- and homes -- for quite a few folks, who would rather pay for their Christmas decorations put up by anyone but themselves.

“We do 40 to 50 people, some the outside of the home only, and maybe 25 trees,” Stanley said.

Besides traditional, they can do sports themes, something Mardi Gras style, a delightful cartoon character display, or, fittingly, the arrival of the family’s newborn.

“We’ll do whatever you want,” Jonathan said.

Even if it’s only a November-through-January gig, business is good for the handyman’s family.

Real good.

“We’re as busy as we can stand to be,” Stanley said.

The Watsons bring more than holiday cheer to their grateful clientele.

Apparently, they render a personally significant service, too.

“They tell us we save a lot of marriages,” Anita said. “Husbands and wives don’t want to choose trees together or put lights on the tree.”

You don’t say.

“The wife wants it a certain way, the husband wants it another ... or is not interested in doing it at all,” Stanley said.

Amusingly, when it comes to decorating the Christmas tree at the Watson abode, the family has a special arrangement.

It beats the need for marriage counseling at their house, Anita joked.

Each has their own tree.

“Stanley has his in the living room, mine’s in the family room, and my son’s is in his bedroom,” she said. “Everybody gets to do what they want to do on their own tree.”

“That way you eliminate problems.”

No problems decorating the lone Christmas tree in our household.

I just do what Sherri tells me.

And try not to break anything.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at Please include a phone number for verification purposes.