The man who makes Christmas at Gee Whiz

Just after Thanksgiving, the work begins. Carlos Herrera’s shift ends at 8, and for four hours each night, over a good two weeks, he works to make Gee Whiz look like, well, Gee Whiz at Christmas. By the time he’s done, he’s wrapped the columns with red satin and green mylar, filled every window with winter village scenes, changed out the light bulbs for red and green ones and propped up Santa at the door. He’s hung spinning elves from the ceiling and decorated the end of the counter to look like a chimney. And it’s never enough. Every year he adds to the display, harvesting decor from Home Depot, Lowe’s in downtown Brooklyn, even Party City. Owner Peter Panayiotou pays the bills. If there’s ever been a passion project, it’s this.

“I do this for my customers because they love it,” says Carlos, during his break this weekend. “I really enjoy doing it and I have the spirit to do it. And I know it makes people happy.”

Carlos came to Gee Whiz 11 years ago and offered to decorate that first season. “I said to Peter, ‘You want me to decorate the place?’ And he trust me and let me do it. It came out great. That was the bigger place, and it was more fun to decorate. Now we are tiny but it’s still good.”

He started doing Halloween in 2007, and there’s Valentine’s Day and Easter, and a more subdued effort at Thanksgiving. Of course, he also decorates at home. “My house, it’s beautiful. At Christmas we host, so of course we decorate. We’re Spanish.” And he never forgets to do a Hanukkah corner. “I try to make everybody happy if I can.”



  1. This is what its all about…Happy Holidays to all

  2. But where are all these decorations stored?? ????

  3. I love this work