It’s thanksgiving and given my current project of reflecting on my hometown, I’m feeling reminiscent about what that used to mean for me when I was a kid. And given that I wasn’t able to show Adele this particular parcel of my Detroit memories, I figure that today is the perfect day to write about it instead.
In Detroit, Thanksgiving morning was the morning that Santa appeared at the end of Hudson’s spectacular Thanksgiving Day Santa Parade. Now that Christmas decorations go up around Halloween, it bears mentioning that Santa officially ushered in the holiday season. (I’m personally not religious, despite my upbringing, but I love Christmas. Everything that I love about Christmas falls into the secular category of traditions and it’s dawning on me that I have Hudson’s to thank for that.)
The holiday season at Hudson’s was absolutely astoundingly magnificent. And now, given what some might call my overuse of adjectives, I feel compelled to explain further. I’ve been searching around on the internet and I can’t find anything that comes close to conveying just how amazing the Hudson’s store decorations were. There are some fun accounts to be sure, and reading peoples comments to posts has filled in some gaps for my memory. But I simply cannot believe that nobody else was as taken by the Santas of the world exhibit as was I. I remember a large space, a hallway, I think, that was magically lit and completely filled with incredibly large and beautiful exhibits, each one showing country’s around the world (well, okay, it was probably mostly European countries) versions of Santa. I was transfixed. What little memory I have, I will never forget. And I will always love Santa Claus. (In answer to my deep and abiding love for Santa, I have given a lot of thought as to what is the best way to introduce him to my kids and so at the risk of stating the obvious, I plan to read them the definitive biography.)
It just so happened that the parade route was directly in front of my dad’s church which I attended along with him (I also attended my mom’s church, so I myself had two homes away from home, so to speak). Given that I now live in a place where temperatures in the sixties late in November, it seems important to mention that it was usually very cold on Thanksgiving morning. Especially cold if your planned activity was going to be standing along the street for a few hours, and you had to arrive extra early to ensure a good spot. So it was pretty special to have a home base right on the route, I mean right on the street, with a porch overlooking the street (no shoulders or homemade risers needed), a great big bell up in the bell tower to ring, and unlimited donuts and hot chocolate.
I suppose that parades may be a thing of the past now. To see characters come to life right in front of one’s eyes isn’t nearly as incredible as it used to be when such things weren’t so available. And while I think that it’s an exercise in futility to bemoan one’s timing in the scape of human history it seems rather inevitable when reminiscing. And so it is with a sentimental heart that I sign off to, cook, and then drive, and then eat.
Welcome Santa Claus! Happily, once again, your season has arrived!
Two other Hudson’s links that I found interesting