Monday, December 04, 2006

Holiday Weekend Observations

This past Friday was Ellicott City's Holiday Midnight Madness celebration. Fortunately for the restaurants and shops the weather was very cooperative, albeit a bit windy.

If you have never experienced this event, you should really check it out next year. Most, if not all stores are open until midnight and there are activities such as carolers along the streets. We breezed down around 8:00 PM and we were able to snag a parking space that wasn't too far from the action.

We enjoyed a pre dinner glass of wine at Annabell's and then ventured down to Jordan's for dinner. As we passed Taylor's antique mall we spied the Red Hat ladies in their fine holiday regalia sitting in the storefront window sipping tea and greeting passersby.

This is exactly what a "vibrant" downtown looks like.

Saturday evening found us at the Columbia lakefront. While not as active as downtown EC on Friday it was nonetheless festive with the white lights strung along the awnings over the lakefront restaurants. There were plenty of folks in the restaurants (with the notable exception of Jesse Wongs Hong Kong) but not much "street life." More stores and cafes would help that.

Since the Ravens played on Thursday night this past week I forfeited my usual Sunday of watching football and agreed to go to The Mall In Columbia on Sunday. I gained major points by agreeing to a shopping trip. I'll need those once the playoffs start.

The mall felt lacking in the holiday spirit to me. Maybe I am just a cranky old guy but I can't help myself. You see, in one of my former lives I worked in mall marketing for The Rouse Company. In those days we took great pains to insure that our malls were classiest act in all of malldom. The holiday decor was extensive and choirs performed continually in the center court by the Poinsettia tree. The Poinsettia tree itself was framed by hanging baskets overflowing with Poinsettia's.

This year the poinsettia tree shares a stage with cars from Jim Coleman Jaguar Land Rover. The hanging baskets have been replaced by green and white banners advertising the car dealership.

It just didn't seem right.