The Great Christmas Shop Returns With Decorating Clinics

The Great Backyard Place announces the return of The Great Christmas Shop to Chattanooga  featuring White House volunteer decorator Brandon Carruth. Mr. Carruth will be hosting decorating clinics the first three Saturdays in November and decorating the backdrop for The Great Christmas Shop’s Santa Claus.

Families may take their own photos with the real-bearded Santa free of charge Nov. 10, 17, and 24 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Great Christmas Shop features the area’s largest collection of Christmas décor and permanent trees found at a local business. 

Christmas is the largest holiday retail season with U.S. consumers spending over $1 trillion on Christmas related purchases. With low unemployment and a great economy, Christmas purchases continue to rise. Consumers are buying more gifts, better gifts, and increasingly doing more decorating for the holidays. The Great Christmas Shop is poised to meet these demands by hosting the area’s largest selection of permanent trees and Christmas décor by a locally owned business, said officials. 

“We are excited to bring The Great Christmas Shop back to Chattanooga,” said Frank May, president and CEO of The Great Backyard Place. “After suspending the Chattanooga operation for two years, it became apparent that The Great Christmas Shop meant more to our community than we realized.  So in response to loud and persistent demand, I chose to bring it back.

“We’ve made significant improvements starting with a brand new merchandising team led by Doris Buchanan, anchored in design by our gifted Barbara Miller, and embellished by the creativity and energy of Brandon Carruth. Brandon reached out to us a couple of years ago wanting to be part of The Great Christmas Shop. Since that time, he was chosen as one out of 100 decorators nationwide to decorate the White House for Christmas.

“Not only do we have an all-star team, we expanded the showroom to feature over 25 fully decorated vignettes.”

The return of The Great Christmas Shop is marked by the inventory of permanent trees and décor Chattanooga consumers expect. With over 100 unique pre-lit trees in every width, height and style, The Great Christmas Shop will house the area’s largest selection of permanent trees.

“What people don’t realize is The Great Christmas Shop features several of the same trees seen in larger mass retailers such as Frontgate for significantly less money,” said Ms. Buchanan, visual merchandiser/sales at The Great Backyard Place. “Consumers save money, get the beautiful permanent tree they’ll love for years, and support a local business all at the same time. Seeing the tree in person helps them visualize how it could look in their own home. Most people are visual. It’s important to see the tree, test the branches for strength, space between branches, fullness, etc. They can pick up some other Christmas décor as well.”

White House volunteer decorator Brandon Carruth agreed. “I contacted The Great Christmas Shop and asked to be part of their team. They have a beautiful collection of permanent trees and Christmas décor that suits a variety of tastes. If you love decorating for Christmas, this place is a dream come true.”

Mr. Carruth was part of last year’s team that decorated The White House for Christmas. As one of only 100 decorators selected nationwide, Mr. Carruth was responsible for decorating the Diplomatic Room which is the first room visitors see upon entering The White House and the East Entrance. It was a great honor for Mr. Carruth whose decorating business focuses entirely on Christmas.

“My favorite part of the experience was getting to meet decorators from all over the country, many of whom I’ve stayed in touch with,” said Mr. Carruth. “And of course, there is always that overwhelming feeling of entering the White House for the first time. The experience was magical.” 

Mr. Carruth will be hosting four decorating clinics at The Great Christmas Shop Nov. 3, 10, and 17. Clinics will focus on how to decorate your tree, mantle and wreath. Mr. Carruth will not only share how-to’s but decorating tips and stories from his experience at The White House. The events are free but require registration. Those interested in attending can register at The Great Christmas Shop’s Facebook page. Throughout the holiday season, The Great Christmas Shop’s decorating team will be available to assist consumers with their decorating questions. 

Santa Claus will be a guest at The Great Christmas Shop Nov. 10, 17, and 24. Families and individuals can take their own photos with the real-bearded Santa against a beautiful backdrop designed by Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Carruth. 

“Back in the 80’s, Tom and Peg May started what came to be relished as one of Chattanooga’s favorite Christmas destinations and the largest holiday tree and décor shop in the region,” said Mr. May. “For years, folks from around the south would make a pilgrimage to immerse themselves in a Christmas wonderland like no other, and find inspiration, products and ideas for their own holiday celebration.  We love products that bring families and friends together, and in the cold months of the year Christmas does that in a magical way. We are thrilled over the return of The Great Christmas Shop, and we are confident folks will love what they experience and find here. If you cannot find it at The Great Christmas Shop, it cannot be found.  If you cannot catch the spirit of Christmas in the Great Christmas Shop, you may have a hard time catching it at all.”

The Great Backyard Place is headquartered in Chattanooga at 6240 Perimeter Dr. and can be reached at 892-3128. It is online at and on Facebook @TheGreatBackyardPlaceChattanooga and Instagram @greatbackyardplace.

Photo 1 Caption: White House Volunteer Decorator Brandon Carruth

Photo 2 Caption: The Great Christmas Shop’s Forest of Permanent Trees

The Great Christmas Shop’s Forest of Permanent Trees

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