Coast Monthly poses 10 questions to an intriguing resident of the Texas Coast.
Island-born Seal Grief and husband, Ross, have owned downtown Galveston shop Christmas on The Strand for 32 years. Their daughter, Ginger Herter, manages the popular store that offers year-round Christmas supplies.
What made you decide to open a Christmas-themed store on a tropical island?
I worked there and the lady who owned it had gone to Europe for a year and I ran it. When she came back, I told Ross, “Why don’t we buy the shop?” and we did.
Does your business make you think about Christmas all year long?
Yes. You kind of get tired at the end of the year, but going to market in January rejuvenates me. When you go to market, you buy all the new ornaments and Santa Clauses and see all the new decorating ideas. It gets you going again.
What’s the most popular item in your store?
We have ornaments that are made of pewter; they’re family-oriented about father or son, or daughter or grandmother that sell like you wouldn’t believe. All the nautical ornaments are big sellers. So are Tervis tumblers.
What’s the best gift you ever received?
My watch Ross gave to me about 20 years ago. He keeps asking “Don’t you want a new one.” I don’t. I like this one.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
When we were first married, I got him a Browning shotgun.
How do you celebrate Christmas on the Texas Coast?
We get together as a family and that’s important to me. We have a traditional Christmas. I have a bear tree and a seal tree; it has nothing but seal ornaments.
What’s your favorite thing about Christmas?
Getting together with the family.
What’s your favorite Christmas memory?
When I was younger, we’d go over to my Aunt and Uncle Edna and Bill Levin’s and she would make matzo ball soup. And all the family was there. We absolutely loved it.
When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?
We have a motor home and try to travel as much as we can and go to football games in it. We’re big Houston Texans fans.
What’s your favorite holiday dish?
Roasted turkey and my dressing that I make. It’s a real good cornbread dressing. Beverly Odom gave me the recipe.