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edge staff writer


Netflix’s ‘Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas’ is a feel-good hit

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Need a little boost of holiday spirit or some DIY decorating tips for Christmas? “Mr. Christmas,” otherwise known as Benjamin Bradley, is ready to assist. The star of the sweet Netflix hit “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” brings with him two decades of design expertise, and a desire to share his vast knowledge of all things Christmas.

On “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas,” Bradley and his team meet with families and communities deserving of a Christmas makeover.

Each of the four episodes from the show’s first season (shot pre-pandemic) begins with Bradley at home with his dog, a sweet chocolate lab named Ebenezer. Bradley reads a letter from a family struggling in some way when it comes to the holidays, then introduces them to the viewer before transforming their home or community into a Christmas wonderland.

Along the way, Bradley shares his love of Christmas and its many traditions and offers up plenty of insightful holiday hacks and helpful decorating tips that most anyone could pull off on their own. It’s heart- and hearth-warming entertainment when we need it.

The Maine Edge: How did you receive the moniker ‘Mr. Christmas?’

Benjamin Bradley: I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Christmas. All of my friends and family know that I’ve always been crazy about Christmas, and as I grew up, that love of Christmas never waned. As an adult, I throw big Christmas parties and have always been the go-to person for all things Christmas. When the show came along, Netflix jumped on that and dubbed me ‘Mr. Christmas.’

The Maine Edge: The second episode, “Small Town, Big Christmas,” really resonated with me. The town of West Islip, New York, lost its beloved fire chief to cancer. He’d always been the one to come up with elaborate Christmas displays, and his son, a volunteer firefighter, needed help to honor his late father. You came to the rescue in what turned out to be a very moving show.

Benjamin Bradley: That episode resonates with a lot of viewers we’ve heard from. His son loves Christmas but just didn’t inherit the Santa gene and was feeling a bit lost at sea in terms of how he was going to live up to what his father had done in past years. We took clues from what his father had loved, including blow-molds, the sort of plastic-infused light-up yard ornaments. We did a vintage-inspired municipal Christmas design and it was great fun.

They were an unbelievable group of guys. I got a true firsthand understanding of what it means to be a volunteer firefighter. I believe about 95% of firefighters in this country are volunteers, which is remarkable. We gave the firehouse and the community the spirit of Christmas they were missing from the loss of the fire chief. It was really satisfying.

The Maine Edge: You have some very helpful decoration tips packed into each episode, including one that my wife really liked. You took a large ladle, filled it with cloves and set a tea-light inside which sends the scent of Christmas around the house.

Benjamin Bradley: This is all new for me, I’d never really done television before, but I knew going in that I wanted to bring certain elements to each episode. I wanted there to be takeaways where the viewer says, ‘I can do that.’ I wanted them to learn something about the history of celebrating Christmas and its lore. I’m a big collector of antique Christmas items so I wanted to incorporate something vintage or antique-inspired. These are some of the things that viewers most respond to when they see the show, things they can do themselves at home. These are things you can do with your family and create a new memory. I’m so excited that your wife did that, that’s so great.

The Maine Edge: You mentioned your enormous collection of antique Christmas decorations. Are there any Christmas decorations that you don’t like?

Benjamin Bradley: I’m really not a fan of LED lights but I’m slowly being wooed. I know they’re good for the long-term, and for the environment, but I don’t think they’ve yet perfected the warmth of the old incandescent lights. I think so much of what many of us love about the holidays is that glow that happens with the older lights and I’m not quite there with the LED lights.

I’m also not a big fan of the inflatables, the big blow-up yard ornaments. They sort of look like wet dishrags to me during the daytime when they’re not blown up. I know they’re big and you get a lot of bang for your buck, but I’d much rather go old-school and cut something out of plywood or do a blow-mold or a spotlight or something.

The Maine Edge: This will be a very different Christmas for many of us. Just because we may not have a house full of people this year, does that mean we should just forgo decorating?

Benjamin Bradley: I have a couple of viewpoints on that. Heaven knows in these times you should do what makes you feel better. If going all out and being the beacon of the neighborhood is what works for you, go for it. If that all seems overwhelming, and a simple wreath and a candle is what works for you, go for that. Personally, I figured that if I’m not able to get together with those friends and family that I cherish, my decorations, particularly the ornaments on the tree, are very much a part of that. They are gifts from friends and family or things that my grandmother had, so if I can’t be physically close to these people, I can at least keep those memories close to me through those ornaments.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 December 2020 07:12


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