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Book Review: Discover the Wonderful World of Christmas With Ron Johnson's "Christmas Traditions: Stories, Myths & Legends"

The fantastical tales behind the most beloved yuletide traditions come to life through home and floral decor in "Christmas Traditions: Stories, Myths and Legends," a comprehensive holiday handbook and styling guide for all skill levels. Designer, decorator, author and self-proclaimed Christmas connoisseur, Ron Johnson, opens up his home to give readers a glimpse into the wonderful world of Christmas—complete with its legends, symbols, festive recipes and more.

THE BOOK. Learn about the storied and curious pasts of classic holiday icons and elements—like the evolution of Santa Claus, candy canes, poinsettias and tinsel—and pick up practical tips for incorporating them into Christmastime decorating projects. Coupled with immersive photography and design suggestions, each section spotlights a unique component of nostalgic yuletide tales and symbolism from cultures around the globe. Pages exude the magic of the season as readers explore every nook and cranny of Ron's "holiday haven" and embrace their inner creativity to craft personalized decor for Christmases present and future.

THE RECOMMENDATION. Without question, "Christmas Traditions" is for Christmas lovers. If you're not a fan of traditional holiday decor, along with the maximalist design aesthetic, this book isn't right for you. But, if you're the kind of person that can't get enough of feel-good, Christmassy reads, grab a copy and snuggle in for the holidays with this heart-warming array of yuletide legends, home and floral decor ideas, and recipes for tasty treats.

THE PROCESS. In devising the book, Ron set out to tell time-honored stories of Christmas through elaborate tablescapes and mantel decor. "Whether it's a dining table on which Santa emerges from a snow-covered forest, a fresh arrangement reminiscent of an evening stroll through a garden, or a mantel of glistening finials clustered as though you're looking over a hillside dotted with church steeples, it's all part of a story—my very own Christmas," notes Ron.

Having prior experience with publishing, it made sense for Ron to release a book about his two favorite topics: (home and floral) decor and Christmas. "There is never a day Christmas isn't on my mind," he says. "I believe the best place for me to live and keep shop would be on the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie. I'm all about plaid, cozy warm fires, and I can never get enough sugar cookies!"

Working on the photography was Ron's favorite part of the publishing—which took about eight months from the time the first photos were shot in January, to when the complete copy was sent to the printer in August. And for those wondering about his least favorite was waiting for the edited photos to arrive!

For novice authors interested in writing a book and working with a small (or independent) publisher, Ron has some words of advice: "Find something you're passionate about—a topic you really enjoy—and just go with it!" Working with an experienced editor and publisher who can help realize your vision for the complete book also makes all the difference.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Self-taught floral designer and Christmas enthusiast, Ron Johnson, draws inspiration from nature. A member of the floral and home decor industry since he was 16, Ron has turned his eye for detail and an unyielding passion for design into a career. Living in Springfield, Missouri, Ron and his wife, Debbie, own three specialty home decor shops that have become beloved shopping destinations for local residents and out-of-towners since 1997. Their stores, The Thicket and Branches, both specialize in home decor and seasonal accents, while The Nest, a flower shop, carries fresh flowers and garden decor.

"Christmas Traditions: Stories, Myths & Legends" can be purchased in-store at The Thicket, located in Springfield, Missouri. To order a mailed copy, please call The Thicket at (417) 823-8600.

Christmas Traditions: Stories, Myths & Legends: Written by: Ron Johnson and Claire Porter | Editor and Publisher: Claire Porter | Photography: Jeffrey Sweet | Photography Assistant: Melanie Braun | Book Design: Heather Kane