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December 8, 2013

Christmas Expressions spreads Christmas cheer yearround on West Lindsey Street

NORMAN — Despite its name, Christmas Expression, a locally owned and operated gift gallery of traditional and whimsy merchandise isn’t just about Christmas, according to owner Kathy Merkel-Cox.

Well, except maybe at Christmas time.

It’s the time of year when Christmas Expressions at 2214 W. Lindsey St. really shines.

Walk in the door and you can literally smell Christmas.

The Frasier Fir scent is very popular at Christmas because some people hang the sachet in artificial trees to impart that real Christmas tree smell. The scent is also available in candles and diffusers.

The Smell of Christmas potpourri has a cinnamon scent that blends well with the Frasier Fir, so people can use both in their homes during the holidays, Merkel-Cox said.

She comes from a background as a corporate buyer, but she missed Norman and moved back home, eventually starting her unique gift business. She said the secret of the store’s success is that she listens to what her customers want.

“Our community has shaped our store,” Merkel-Cox said.

Perhaps that’s why Christmas Expressions carries so many distinctive lines, like dolls from Byers Choice, a woman-owned company that started in the late 1970s. The company is famous for its handcrafted carolers. Byers prides itself on bringing Christmas memories to life through its extraordinary dolls.

Inspired by porcelain figures in an English shop, Joyce Byers began designing carolers in her home. Eventually that hobby took over and grew into a full-fledged business, but the hand-crafted, loving detail remains the same and appeals to customers, Merkel-Cox said.

“We have a great following of people who collect them,” she said. “I personally love the Santas.”

The Byers dolls are typical of many of the unusual offerings at Christmas Expressions. Some customers come in just to enjoy the experience — and to get decorating ideas.

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