When each of my three was in the 8th grade we went on a trip of their choosing. Caroline and I went to New York. Evan and I went on a baseball trip – the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yard, the New York Yankees at the old Yankee Stadium, and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway. One weekend – three baseball games - one long road trip. It was fabulous.
Annie wanted to go to New York at Christmas. So she could see the department store windows and the tree at Rockefeller Center. We went to see the Rockettes and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the musical). I was thrilled that she wanted to go to NY at Christmas because I’d been quite a few times, but never at Christmas. It was cold, but it was magical, and we loved it.
I love Christmas decorations. I love the spirit and the beauty of them. I decorate more than most, and I offer no apology. It makes me happy. And let’s all be honest – there’s nothing better than the light of a Christmas tree when it’s the only illumination in the room.
One of my fondest childhood memories is a family trip to Chicago to go Christmas shopping. Truly I don’t remember if we did any shopping. But I can still vividly see the decorated store windows of Marshall Field’s and Carson Pirie Scott. And lunch in the Marshall Field’s tea room. The Christmas decorations on the light poles of State Street. Frango mints and the Russell Stover candy store. It was magnificent and beautiful and I have never forgotten it. I don’t remember a single gift that was given to me that year at Christmas or most other years for that matter.
But I remember those store windows. And the ones with Annie in New York in 2007. This year as a freshman at NYU she can easily walk uptown or downtown and look at those remarkable New York store windows. The year she was an exchange student in Sweden, Evan and I spent Thanksgiving with Caroline in London and were mesmerized by the magical Christmas windows in the shops on Bond Street. I think all three of them love Christmas as much as I do and it doesn’t have a thing to do with gifts. But that feeling you get when you’re surrounded by your family and your traditions. The only Christmas we were ever apart as a family was the year Annie was in Sweden. She wrote about it here. We missed her so much but I can’t imagine how much she missed us – and our traditions that have nothing to do with gifts.
In this Norman Rockwellian town that I’ve lived in since the spring of 1984 we have our own version of magical. The animated Christmas windows at Peoples Bank. You don’t have to go to Chicago or New York or London for your family to have these kinds of memories. Just here in Marietta. Make sure you go at night when darkness makes the lighted windows stand out from the beautiful old building whose architect obviously intended for there to be Christmas window displays. Take your family and don’t just drive by. Get out of the car and get closer. You’ll hear Christmas music being played from the speakers and see the detailed costumes.
You’ll feel the Christmas spirit and maybe start a new family tradition - and like my Christmas window memories - it won’t have cost you a thing. And when you ask what Santa can bring me for Christmas I’ll tell you there’s nothing I want. Except to walk home from church on Christmas Eve with my family and have cannoli by the light of the Christmas tree. While we’re watching “A Christmas Story” and it’s snowing outside. OK Santa - the snowing part is optional – but would be very much appreciated.
Peoples Bank - thank you.
(The Peoples Bank window in my picture above - doesn't it remind you of one of the Christmas scenes from "Little Women"?)