Some time in the coming days, Donnie McFinley is going to become a very busy man. McFinley is best known for decorating downtown’s Tower Place Mall for the past 15 years. “It’s probably my favorite job all year. I use huge ribbons to drape across the Christmas trees. There are 27 trees total. Usually, I walk through the mall first and get a feel for the entrances. That’s the most important, that’s what the eye sees. I use vibrant colors, lavender and fushsia.”

The Bond Hill resident, who was born and raised in Japan, attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts. But his interest in interior decoration began much earlier: “I guess when I was 8 or 9, instead of buying comic books, my mom was buying me Better Homes & Gardens.”

How long does it take to decorate the mall? Weeks and weeks. “I not only decorate the whole mall, but five to six stores inside the mall,” explains McFinley.

McFinley works a variety of jobs, such as costumer for Hollywood films (he worked on The Shawshank Redemption), as store manager at the vintage clothing shop Casablanca in Northside, and as a drama teacher for the Arts Consortium of Cincinnati. He’s even talking to Jungle Jim’s exotic grocery in Fairfield about becoming a store designer there.

Why does McFinley love doing the mall decoration year after year? “I want to bring the tradition of the season back downtown.”