I have incredible childhood memories of getting ready for the holidays—which, growing up on the shores of Lake Superior, included strapping on snowshoes to scour the forest for the perfect fir tree. This, however, sometimes turned out more National Lampoon than Hallmark movie….
Now that I live in a Downtown Detroit loft (appropriately enough just east of Griswold Street), I no longer put up a tree during the holidays.
It’s not that I don’t love trees (I do). Or that I don’t have the decorations (I do). But, simply, because I just don’t need to.
From my living room and bedroom windows, I look out at a 13-story Christmas tree. Through the early evening and night, I can see the blinking lights of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan building’s towering display of holiday festivity.
While the BCBS building is several blocks away, I have a perfect view of it (along with an incredible skyline of the city). My windows look out over Woodward, directly across the street from the former site of the historic J.L. Hudson Department Store.
And Hudson’s was the source of many a fond memory: it was a child’s wonderland of holiday dreams, from the 12th-floor ‘Toyland’ (where Santa ‘resided’ from his arrival at the Thanksgiving Day Parade), to the nine-story ‘Christmas Tree of Lights’ that lit up the windows above the first floor (which were literally ‘dolled’ up for the season with delights that filled many a ‘wish-list’ whispered into Santa’s ear).
The brilliant ‘lights’ of the season also decorate my building (and all the buildings along the blocks north and west of me), which are strung with a canopy of white lights.
Detroit was once known as ‘The City of Lights, and the Downtown Detroit Partnership and DTE Energy Foundation will wrap thousands more lights around the 60-foot Norwegian Spruce I can see from my windows since Campus Martius Park is less than a block away from my loft! The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is Friday, November 16, from 5 p.m. until midnight and free to all for everyone to enjoy—even on skates, which my Yooper-self loves, as the rink will be open immediately following the lighting at 9 p.m.!
Campus Martius is also the site of Menorah in The D! Where the 26-foot Menorah, designed and built by artists Erik & Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center, will be lit on December 2nd to celebrate Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.
But wait, if Christmas is Christian, and Chanukah is Jewish, why is this blog about both?
Because that’s what makes the communal displays of light that I get to enjoy every holiday season living in Downtown Detroit even more appropriate to the true meaning of the season.
And Detroit itself is proving that, yes, even though there are sometimes periods of difficulty, better times do return. You don’t need a Downtown Detroit loft to realize that the city is experiencing regrowth. But it sure makes it easier to simply step outside your front door (no snowshoes required, and both Bird and Lime Scooters provided) to enjoy all the festivities!
Happy Holidays Everyone!