A Christmas tradition continues
Published 9:39 am Monday, December 16, 2019
Eddie Greene and Richard Lacerre, former owners of The Christmas Shop in Manteo, have kept up with a very special tradition for 50 years. This tradition stems from a simple act of goodwill that occurred back in 1967.
Greene came to the Outer Banks in 1953 to join The Lost Colony as a professional dancer. He had performed up in New York before, but fell in love with the Outer Banks area after living here for a few months. “Anytime I had time off, I’d come right down here,” he said.
Greene realized that he wanted to stay in the Outer Banks even after his acting career ended. He was not a hunter or a fisherman, so he had to find another career to pursue. “In between shows and my travels, I got connected with Christmas companies that manufactured decorations and trees.” Greene decided to do the unheard of: start a Christmas shop in the summer.
Of course, this was a big feat to accomplish alone. Lacerre was there to help, but they needed more manpower. After coming across a man named Bill Gallop, who had been working on the property before Greene and Lacerre purchased it, the owners found their go-to guy for making the shop come to life.
“Bill was a jack of all trades; he helped us for years,” Lacerre said. “All the stuff he did made it possible for us to open that first year,” Greene added.
Bill’s wife, Lois Gallop, loved the way Greene and Lacerre had a knack for decorating. One day she said, “I wish we had a tree that looked like you decorated it.” From that point on, Greene and Lacerre have shown up to the Gallops’ home, brought in a large 7.5-foot tree and decorated it from head to toe. “We were so appreciative of what Bill had done for us,” Greene said. “I suggested maybe we decorate their tree.”
This tradition has carried on for 50 years, and after the decorating is finally finished, everyone sits down together for dinner. “Lois is a great cook,” Lacerre said. A few years ago, Bill passed away. However, Greene and Lacerre still show up on Lois’s doorstep and help her prepare for Christmas.
“Every year, we would add a few more ornaments to the tree,” Lacerre. This year, Greene and Lacerre brought Lois a package of unbreakable ornaments for her to put up with her children and grandchildren when they arrive for Christmas.