Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Tour of Highland Park

At this time of year, one of the best sources of free entertainment is walking around (or, if you want to be a bit less ecofrugal but warmer, driving around) looking at holiday decorations. Just walking from one end of our moderately sized town to the other—about a mile—I can see quite an assortment of them, ranging from, as they say, the sublime to the gorblimey. There are Christmas displays and Hanukkah displays, tasteful displays and...less tasteful ones. (No Kwanzaa decorations that I noticed, but there's always next year.) I found myself thinking that a photo tour of our town's holiday decorations, perhaps with awards for the best displays, would be a nice addition to a local paper...but the closest thing our town had to its own local paper, the Highland Park Mirror, made the transition from paper to online only last year, and even the website hasn't been updated since February. So I decided, what the hey, if we don't have a local media organ to display them, I'll just put some photos of our town's holiday trappings up right here on the blog for all of you to enjoy. And you don't even have to put your coats on to see them.

The coveted Winter Wonderland award (well, it would be coveted if anyone had actually heard of it) goes to Roberts Florals on Raritan Avenue for its glittering window display:

They've put quite a lot of stuff into this window, so here are a few close-up shots to show you some of the details. On one size of the window, we've got Rudolph wreathed in evergreen:

And on the other, an assortment of twinkling stars, trees, and gilded reindeer. Look, there's even a menorah at the bottom!

First runner-up in this category is our local toy and tchotchke shop, Through the Moongate and Over the Moon Toys. The first shot shows the tempting assortment of toys and holiday delights through the window; the second, taken after closing time, highlights the festive star lanterns that make the shuttered store look even more magical and exotic by night.

Second runner-up goes to our local Ten Thousand Villages store, which showcases its holiday wares amid a shower of snowflakes and light-tipped branches, beneath the legend, "Every Product is a Miracle." (A bit of an overstatement, perhaps, but every product is handcrafted and Fair Trade certified, and that's pretty impressive.)

The award for Most Creative Decoration goes to this charming little metal snowman, who's taken up residence in a planter outside our local Century 21 office. At least he's not in any danger of melting if we have a warm spell.

A close runner-up is the giant PVC pipe menorah erected by the Chabad House at Rutgers University...

...right next to our town Christmas tree, because that's the kind of ecumenical burg we are.

The prize for Most Tasteful holiday display goes to this festive, yet understated row of poinsettias in the window of the Fredrick Scott salon.

Runner-up in this category is the neat little row of scarlet-tipped evergreens outside Aposto Italian restaurant. 

And lastly, the undisputed winner for Most Over-the-Top is the menagerie of inflatables outside the Magnolia Gardens apartment building on Woodbridge Avenue. They're vivid enough by day...

...but nearly blinding by night.

And that picture doesn't even show all of them. There are more around the side of the building:

And here's one last display that doesn't really fit into any category, but I thought it looked neat. All the lampposts along Raritan Avenue are currently wreathed in light and topped with giant, luminous snowflakes—which have the advantage of not being attached to any particular religious holiday, so they don't discriminate among religions and, as a bonus, can stay up all winter long. (When we first took this picture, we thought that the exposure time in the darkness was so long that we had actually caught the traffic light in the background going from red to green—but on closer inspection, it's just a red light with a green arrow for those hanging a right.)

A happy Christmas (or other winter holiday of your choice) to all, and to all a good night! And don't forget, there's someone watching over our town who knows if you've been bad or good....

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