This Tiny North Alabama Town Is Home to the South’s Greatest Christmas Shop
Eddie's Florist is filled with more than 200 fully-decorated Christmas trees for you to shop while you soak in the holiday joy.
In a broad and unassuming warehouse on North Alabama's Sand Mountain lies the South's greatest Christmas destination: Eddie's Florist.
The first clue about the jolly holiday happiness inside the building and greenhouses is a series of Christmas trees, draped in large, glowing bulbs of rainbow colors, standing at soldierly attention by the front doors. Truthfully, however, even that isn't enough to prepare you.
As soon as you open the door, you're transported to a winter wonderland, one that's decked with nearly 200 trees across more than 10 rooms. The entry room is wrapped in wooden planks, giving your first moments inside Eddie's Florist a feel of a warm cabin on a blustery Christmas morning. It's completed by a cozy bed, quaint staircase, and inviting stone fireplace.
That room alone is a marvel of Yuletide joy, but your journey into this one-of-a-kind Christmas experience has only begun.
Eddie Moore—with his partner Steve Ramsey, a handful of employees, and several volunteers—have turned this florist shop in a town of fewer than 2,500 people into a winter wonderland for the past three decades.
"The first year, we had five trees, and 50 people showed up to my open house," Eddie says. "I was as happy as a pig in mud in sunshine."
Over the years, as Eddie began expanding his year-round florist and garden business, his Christmas spirit grew right along with him—sometimes even outsizing his space.
In the 1980s, Eddie and Steve scaled back their holiday decorations, slashing the 200 trees they normally keep down to a paltry 40. The next year, however, they were back up to 100. Eddie says they kept adding trees every year until they returned to their original 200.
It's partially out of demand—Eddie's can see upward of 700 people on a weekend day—and out of an abundance of creativity. For the first 30 years, Steve and Eddie decorated almost every tree together, with the help of a few full-time employees.
Now, however, they've recruited an army of volunteers to help them. "I decided I deserve the right not to do every single tree after 30 years," he laughs.
"I could not do it without the volunteers that help us," Eddie says. "Steve and I organize and plan, but they make it happen."
Eddie ends one Christmas season after the holidays and immediately begins planning for the next. With trips to markets in January and March, the shop is busy receiving shipments all year.
However, in mid-August, the work of Eddie's Christmas wonder really begins to take shape, when he and Steve start rebuilding the rooms, painting the walls, and laying out plans for their next spectacular season.
No two trees are alike, and no two rooms have the same feeling. One room houses a wall of ornaments for each branch of the military. Beside it stands a wall of ornaments designed for professionals, from teachers to lawyers and hair stylists to fire fighters.
Next door, you've entered a room filled with gold, silver, crystals, and pearls. These are grandiose trees, elegant and refined, but you're only a room away from a lot of laughs.
Mermen dressed as construction workers and florists flank a wall beneath glowing Christmas palm trees. Nearby, an ornament reads, "Dear Santa, Grab a cookie. It's a long story."
Christmas decorators of all ages will find something to love at Eddie's, as well as an ornament that can serve as a yearbook of sorts. Taking ballet for the first year? You'll find an entire tree for you. Recently started hunting or fishing? There's a tree or two for you, too.
One room, draped with chicken feed bags, is designed to feel like a cave or grotto, reminiscent of a place where Jesus might have been born. There you'll find nativity scenes, ornamental crosses, and a variety of religious decorations for the season.
Are you spending your holiday soaking up sun with your toes in the sand instead of soaking up family time? Santa with a surfboard deserves a space on your tree.
Tired of traditional green and red? You may prefer the turquoise, emerald, and gold of the peacock inspired tree. Or perhaps you'd be inspired by the technicolor tree filled with popsicles, gumdrops, and sprinkle-coated snowflakes.
There are peppermint trees and gingerbread trees, trees with cupcakes and cookies, and trees with sushi, pizza, and even hamburgers and fries.
This year, Steve even carved a Grinch from Styrofoam to accompany the tree that displays all the ornaments from the upcoming remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
If you see something you like while you're making your way between rooms, grab it then. With hundreds of people pouring through the doors every year, great decorations go quickly, and not everything can be reordered in time for the holidays.
One thing is clear after the hours (and yes, you should plan to spend several hours here) you spend perusing and lurking, shopping, and dreaming: This special place takes a lot of work. But, Eddie says, it's absolutely worth it to see so many smiles year after year.
"We want to offer a place for people to be happy," he says. "We work hard, but it's worth it all."
Eddie's Florist is open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Eddie's Garden Center and Florist Inc.
9112 Alabama Hwy 40, Henagar, AL 35978