MILLERSBURG, Ohio - When Santa Claus is looking for a place to buy Christmas ornaments for his home at the North Pole, he probably brings his sleigh and reindeer into Millersburg, Ohio, and spends a lot of time during his yearly hop around the world.
No doubt, Santa marvels at what he sees in the "Tis The Season Christmas ornaments and decorations store. Were there no roof on the store nestled in the rolling hills of Holmes County, it is possible astronauts could see the sparkle from their high perches in space. (Well, I am stretching my story a bit but you get the idea of the size of the "Tis The Season store.)
"When people come in here the first time, they pretty much exclaim, 'Oh My!" said Joann Hershberger, store owner. The place is three floors of every kind of Christmas ornament you could imagine. As well, there are large sections devoted to nativity scenes. There is no way any "bah humbug" person could stay that way in the forest of Christmas trees, each one decorated, in the store.
Hershberger runs the store throughout the year. There is a steady stream of customers, of course, during the Christmas holiday season, but shoppers continue even during the Spring and Summer months.
"You are guaranteed to find something here that you will like," said Judy Hamburg, who drove there from Lorain, more than an hour away.
Andrew Currey came from farther than that. A resident of Penrith, Australia, Currey makes yearly trips to Ohio to visit relatives. "I would say it's unique to come into one shop that has this much Christmas," said Currey, his face beaming.
The store was founded in 1996. Hershberger said she had long wanted to establish a Christmas ornaments store, but was worried about making an investment to go a Christmas ornaments exhibit where she could buy for any store she would begin. She prayed for a sign from God that would give her the inspiration to take a chance on going to the out-of-state exhibit.
"I asked for a rainbow and the next day when I was driving home from Canton, all of a sudden there was a huge rainbow in the sky," said Hershberger, her voice almost in a whisper.
She said later that evening on a television newscast, the meteorologist said the rainbow seen earlier in the day was a unusual event for that time of the year. "That was the day I signed up and I went to the show and that's where we came from," added Hershberger.
Business has been good ever since. There are hundreds of thousands of ornaments displayed on trees from which shoppers can select. Those not on trees fill the shelves of the store. Throughout, Christmas music abounds. There is even a chapel built inside the store where visitors can sign books and tell others for what they are thankful.
For Joanne Hershberger and her daughters who work in the store daily, there is a thanks for a rainbow that appeared in the sky, providing inspiration for Hershberger to go into business. In many ways, "Tis the Season has been a Christmas present. It is the present which continues to give every day because the store is opened throughout the year, selling ornaments in a place that is filled with the music of the season.
The website for the store at 4363 Ohio Route 39 in Millersburg, Ohio, is: