Spend Christmas Like The Ohio Presidents At The Decorative Arts Center Of Ohio

💸 This post is sponsored by The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. But rest assured, all thoughts and opinions contained within are genuine and our own. 👍🏼

An extraordinary holiday display is waiting for you at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio.

In conjunction with The Ohio Presidents: Surprising Legacies exhibition, the house has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Eight different Christmas trees are on display, all representing the Ohio presidents.

Although not all of the presidents actually had documented trees in the White House, curator George Johnson has created time-period appropriate masterpieces, from the time of William Henry Harrison through Warren Harding.

Johnson began his Christmas collection in 1971. At the time, he was a grad student and he and his wife decided to decorate their tree with older ornaments. “She went to her family and I went to my family, And we said, ‘Can we have those old ornaments at the bottom of the box that you don’t put up anymore?’ And we got those,” explained Johnson.

Vintage ornaments decorate the Harding tree.

They knew they wanted old, 1950s style bubble lights to add to the decorations, but when their family didn’t have any, they had to search elsewhere. Johnson took out an ad in the paper requesting to purchase old Christmas lights. While sellers were gathering up the lights for Johnson, they’d often come across boxes of old ornaments, offering those up for sale as well.

And thus, his collection began. Since then, he’s added thousands upon thousands of items to his Christmas collection. Johnson believes that when it comes to decorating for Christmas, most people leave a bit of room for nostalgia to get in.

“You know, lots of people recreate trees from their childhood that were their parents, or their grandparents, or they try to recreate things that are with the period of their home,” he explained. “They may not have a whole tree of antique ornaments, but they have that one special ornament. So there’s this continuity with the past that I particularly enjoy. We have a transfer a culture and family tradition and history at Christmas time.”

The displays at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio feel real, personal, and authentic, and that’s because of the painstaking effort the George and other collectors like him go to in order to keep these pieces of the past in pristine condition.

From intricate, handmade pop-up cards to preserved, century-old cookie decorations, the tree displays transport you to a different time. To see the progression from candlelit trees to electric, spinning trees is rather impressive.

If you’d like to see these amazing trees for yourself, and learn a lot along the way, stop by the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio for a lecture on the history, customs, and traditions of the holidays with Ohio Presidents on December 15 at 2 p.m. George will be on hand to give you all of the details. The Curator’s Talk is free to attend and you can RSVP at 740-681-1423.

The Christmas trees will be on display until December 29. For more info, or to start planning your visit to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, please click here.

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