The many holiday displays that you see around town are a big part of the reason that Houston’s holiday season is so merry and bright. From Highland Village to the River Oaks Shopping Center and everywhere in between, the store lights are twinkling and the sparkles are abundant. It’s almost like Santa sends hundreds of his elves every year to bedazzle the entire city in the blink of an eye.
As it turns out, Santa does have some expert help in Houston: Always In Season is the name of the turnkey operation that keeps everything glitzed up during this most wonderful time of the year.
Founded by E.J. Farhood and Don Langston, who are both openly gay, Always In Season is a locally owned business that’s been in operation for nearly 30 years. They are the masterminds behind most every holiday light display in Houston’s most popular areas. “We blend innovative technology with imaginative style to provide award-winning designs and expert ongoing maintenance of our seasonal holiday decorations,” says Farhood. The team’s wide-ranging services are available for shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and corporate environments.
And just who are Farhood and Langston’s clients? They’ve built an impressive roster that includes General Growth Properties, Memorial Hermann Hospitals, Weingarten Realty Investors, CB Richard Ellis, Highland Village, and both of Houston’s major airports. It’s a tony list of repeat customers that places Always in Season on everyone’s radar during this time of year when their work is most visible.
“We have the best jobs ever, because we bring the pretty to town,” they explain.
Always In Season’s job requests range far and wide, stretching from Beaumont to Cypress and down to Galveston. They are a one-stop shop, which requires them to keep a staff employed year-round so they can stock up as the holiday season approaches.
“We run crews 24 hours per day this time of year. We do night installs and day installs. We have close to 100 full-time employees, and another 100 seasonal workers from September through January,” they say, explaining how they shape their operations to fit the market’s needs throughout the year.
The team installs the decorations, removes them, stores them in a number of warehouses, and refurbishes damaged decorations before each holiday season.
Doing all of this requires not just an army of people, but a huge inventory that includes 10,000 pounds of glitter every year for their paint and glitter shop (calling all drag queens: submit your applications now!). They also import around 50,000 strings of lights that add up to over 2 million individual light bulbs. All of these ornaments and baubles are needed to decorate approximately 700 different job sites annually.
Farhood and Langston explain that staying ahead of the game is the key to their success. “One of the main things is planning in advance and working one or two years ahead. When new real estate developments are being created, you have to keep these ideas in mind. Having electrical service in place is key, and a lot of times we’re brought in during the planning stage to find out the power requirements before customers ever see the initial product,” they explain.
Always In Season also provides landscaping services for offices and retail centers. Whereas holiday décor might only take up space from October through January, Always In Season’s horticulture branch keeps the company staff occupied for the remainder of the year. Although they are geared toward commercial clients, they do have some thoughts for homeowners wanting to get in the holiday mood.
“One thing is scale—having the right size decor in the area you want to decorate. At the places you might [normally shop] for home supplies, the scale is too small. For [a display to be successful], it’s more about what feels right in your heart. Whether you go for big and audacious or keep it small and subtle, always make sure your decorations are genuine.”
The experts at Always In Season are available for consultations 713-681-1414, or at alwaysinseason.com.
This article appears in the December 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.