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Charles Street is charming at Christmastime

Maureen Rogers takes us along on a walk down Charles Street to look at all the decorated store windows.


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Nice photo essay. Just yesterday I was walking along in the dismal and depressing Downtown Crossing and remembering what a destination it was at holiday time when I was young in the 1960s. The window displays of Jordan Marsh and Filenes were legendary. Jordan's "Santa's Village" for the young of all ages. An ice cream sundae at Bailey's under Tiffany lamps on one of their signature silver trays (and all of this affordable). As I got into my teens, the head shops like Miles on Winter Street and Ampersand on Tremont with their incense, black light posters, bootleg albums and various "paraphernalia" also had their magical appeal.

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Cheery storefronts! Captures the spirit of Christmastime in the city.

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It would be a lot easier to admire these windows if the sidewalks on Charles Street weren't two feet wide. But I guess we really need five lanes dedicated to cars on this street, so it makes sense.

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The sidewalks are way too narrow. To the point where shopping becomes hard to enjoy…

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Imagine Charles Street with one parking lane, one travel lane, and one loading zone lane. Then take the 18 feet and allocated it to wider sidewalks and safe bicycling infrastructure. That would be a charming street to walk down. But I'm sure the businesses would all go out of business because everyone drives there.

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I noticed the motif of tastefulness. To each one's own. Personally I prefer Xmas decorations that emphasize extravagance and fun. Not that they are expensive. So oddly colored fake Xmas trees are fun. Pink, purple or what not. Same for ceramic trees created in the 50s and 60s with a single bulb and the plastic "lights" on branches.

And please, please, I beg one and all, STOP the white lights. Yes, southern middle class folks who chase after tastefulness as though that is virtue started that decorative plague. But it spreads like kudzu.

White lights are everywhere every day. Not interesting.

But the last explosion of color at years end in outdoors lights, Xmas tree lights, the red and greens (and whites), the blue and golds or silvers, the end the year is a fight against the darkness and monotony of grays and browns that we have to suffer until Spring.

I always though that the usually way of decorating the Common was beautiful. With each tree draped in a different color. Then there was the year (if I remember correctly) when all of the trees were draped in white lights. Ugh. So boring, so dull, just sad. But this year there are new lights and they are bright purples and the many other colors. Gloriurs.

One last thrust of color and variety before we have to let Winter have its due.

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It's spelled "ixnay" (or ix-nay).
It's the pig-Latin of "Nix".

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