Text and photos by Stacie Joy
It’s hard not to get excited about Christmas when visiting Frank “Frankie Christmas” Bianco.
The 52-year-old longtime East Village resident, who moved here from Brooklyn in 1980, welcomes me at the door of his fully decked out apartment on Avenue D, where he lives and works as the boutique building’s manager.
Drinking a (perhaps) nontraditional beer, Frankie shows me around his space, pointing out special ornaments and his Christmas stockings, and his 30 snowflake tattoos, and custom Santa backpiece, which is truly amazing, in addition to flash pieces dedicated to the holiday elsewhere on his body.
We have a seat at his holiday-themed table to chat about Santa and Christmas and how his obsession with the holiday came to be.
My fascination with Christmas started with my mom who always made Christmas special. As a teenager I started helping my mom with decorations and then I always wanted to go bigger and better.
Can you walk us through the process of decorating your apartment? When do you start/finish?
I start decorating in September, as it takes close to 100 hours to decorate. It’s more about laying things out and ordering what I need.
What’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day like for you and your family?
My family is so spread out these days that I won’t know what I’m doing until a couple of days before Christmas.
What do you friends, family and neighbors think of your decorations?
Everyone loves it. My family and friends love it and they all know where to go to get into the Christmas spirit. Most of my neighbors stop by and bring their friends to see my apartment.
Any other holidays pique your interest the way Christmas does?
I enjoy all the holidays throughout the year, but nothing even comes close to Christmas!
Have you ever decorated other locations — commercial, residential, or religious spaces?
I’ve never decorated anywhere else.
I’m already thinking about how I’m gonna decorate next year…I want to do a tree with Swarovski crystal snowflakes.