Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

The days are short, the houses decorated, and the year is almost done. It’s too cold for fog. Forest Knolls looks quite romantic

december evening

There’s a new restaurant in West Portal, a Greek place called Orexi, where the Round Table Pizza used to be. We ate there one evening. It was already decorated for Christmas, and had an great ambiance and good food.

orexi restaurant

The wonderful  decorations in Midtown Terrace are up again. Greenview is a cul-de-sac where all the residents hang lights on every house each year. Then, at the very end of the road, they put up a display made of painted plyboard cut-outs and lights. They have a menorah that is lit, one painted candle at a time; a dreidl, a creche, and Santa Claus, reindeer and even the North Pole. If you enjoy decorating enthusiasm – I do! – then  check it out. It’s a delight.

Holiday display in Midtown Terrace


Happy New Year for 2012!

A bright pink card from our neighborhood organization appeared in my mail today, thanking me for “making the holidays brighter in our Forest Knolls neighborhood by lighting up your home.”

Yes. Though we decorate for ourselves, we’re really decorating for other people… and in the process, creating a sense of celebration. So I’d like to continue what has become a tradition* here  and publish a selection of lights around our neighborhood. (It’s a selection and not comprehensive; I may have missed some homes, and my camera missed some others, giving me only a bright blur…clicking on a picture takes you to a larger version.)

And here’s wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead in 2012. Happy New Year!

[*This website has been around long enough to actually talk of a tradition! This is the third holiday season.)

It’s the Season!

The decorations are up everywhere… wreaths and lights and Santas and menorahs.

Down in West Portal, my favorite’s the Manor Coffee shop, which does wonderfully homely over-the-top seasonal decor every year. It’s got everything this year – star-shaped lights and Snoopy and a Nutcracker, and even a Santa breaking through the ceiling.

Of course Union Square is all brightly lit, and as usual there are puppies and kittens up for adoption in the Macy’s windows, causing a traffic jam as people stop to squeal over the cuteness . Tiffany has a carousel theme, and Neiman Marcus the huge tree in the front atrium.

But the one I liked best was simple and ethereal in the upper windows of Bulgari – floating candles.

Over in the Westfield shopping center, it’s looking a lot like Christmas, too. It’s busy and bright, and pleasant to wander through. They have an interesting light show around 6 p.m. every evening this season: colored lights and pictures are projected into the dome.  The images of toys and candy are for kids, but what fascinated me was the precision and the alignment.

Before the actual show starts, they project colors into the dome, making it look like stained glass. But the compartments are actually the inner sculpting, and the lights sort of color them in. It would be so easy to get this wrong – but they don’t.

Our neighbors in Midtown Terrace have Santa’s Court lit up again like last year and the year before.

And in our own neighborhood, someone’s put wreathes and bows on our entrance signs. Thanks, whoever did it.

Happy Holidays to all!

Season’s Greetings!

Here is a selection of decorations from around our neighborhood. They’re delightful, (even if not as ubiquitous as those at Midtown Terrace especially the wonderful Santa’s Court). Happy Holidays, everyone!

West Portal Has Christmas Windows

Everyone knows about Union Square and the decorations there. Macys has puppies and kittens in its windows. Tiffany has a fairy-tale in paper-sculpture. But our own local shopping village, West Portal, has Christmas windows too.

(“You keep writing about West Portal,” a friend said.  It’s true. I go there nearly every day. It’s an easy place to run almost any errand, once you figure out the parking.  The meters accept parking cards, and there’s street parking on the streets around. And it still feels sort of small-town… quite different than going to a mall.)

So, the windows.

Shaws, the confectioner’s, has giant nutcrackers turning their heads, and a funny reindeer.

West Portal Antiques has a lovely traditional tree and doll’s house, as well as toys on a sled and a silver candelabra.

Citipets has Christmas in one window, and Chanukah in the other.

But the one I thought was the most amusing was the Zombie Outbreak in the window of the hardware store Papenhausen. Santa Zombie Claus!

I only took pictures of a few – and if anyone wants to add their favorites, I’d be happy to do it.

A Season of Spiders and Pumpkins

The theme this Halloween seems to be spiders and pumpkins.

The pumpkins are a perennial favorite, of course, but the spiders? That’s new this year. Around our neighborhood, there were some bats and  ghoulies and ghosties.  And lots of giant spiders…







I’m hoping we have some kids coming round… those years I celebrate, I always end up with excess candy. (Except the year that the last callers were three teenage ghosts at 9.30, who kindly took most of the remnants. I didn’t feel guilty. At that age, they can handle it!)


…and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, to all who celebrate it!  And Happy New Year, everyone.

Today I received a charming message, anchored by a fractured candy-cane: The kids from the Japanese Bi-lingual Bi-cultural Program at Clarendon Elementary thanking their neighbors and giving them greetings of the season.

Over the last few days, I took some photographs of some of the decorated houses around our neighborhood. Here’s a selection.







Happy Holidays!

For some reason, Midtown Terrace always seems to have more holiday lights than Forest Knolls. It’s always worth a drive-through, maybe even a walk-around.

And there’s this.

Just off Dellbrook, in a cul-de-sac called Greenview, the residents co-operate each year to set up an exuberantly decorated space. This year is no different. A string of colored lights across the road defines the area, and a sign says “Santa’s Court.”

Almost every house is decorated with lights, but each one’s different.

At the end of the road, there’s the north pole, Santa, reindeer, a menorah, and a sign saying Happy Holidays!

holiday decorations

These photographs don’t do it justice… if anyone wants to send better ones, we’d be glad to publish them here.


[EDITED TO ADD: People have been writing in to us to convey greetings and gratitude. So: if anyone from Greenview is reading this – thanks for the wonderful lights from your neighbors across Clarendon!]



It’s back again this year, still as wonderful!

And – all the figures look like they’re handpainted, not commercially available cutouts.