The holiday season in Boston
The holiday season in Boston
Year unknown: Busy Christmas shoppers were silhouetted in the late afternoon light as they crossed Washington Street outside the two big department stores, Filene's and Jordan Marsh.
Dec. 25, 1945: Carolers in Louisburg Square sang of "peace on earth" in a world no longer at war. Not since 1940 — the Christmas before Pearl Harbor and four years of war — had so many people gathered in such a joyous throng. In Washington, D.C., President Truman lit the White House tree for the first time since 1941.
Dec. 16, 1956: Globe Santa attracted a crowd of people wanting to have pictures taken with him. This was the inaugural year of the Boston Globe Santa Claus Fund. The Boston Post started the Santa Fund in 1910. When the Post closed earlier this year, The Boston Globe with Mayor John Hynes continued the long tradition of providing Christmas toys for needy families.
1959: Expert touches on dolls were applied by a skilled artisan in the workshop of Christian Hofmann in Rodach, Germany. The "Enchanted Village of St. Nicholas" opened Nov. 9 in the Jordan Marsh Fashion Center for the Christmas season. Hundreds of old-world craftsmen worked a year in building the 18-foot, two-story high "Enchanted Village," first of its kind in the world. In the village at Jordan Marsh were traditional and historic designs of almost life-sized figures, human and animal characters, including Santa Claus and reindeer. The 80,000-pound village came to America by ship in 240 containers.
Dec. 17, 1963: The Christmas scene on historic Boston Common had this sign set amid a tableau of a shepherd and his flock. For the first time the Christmas lights in the State House were not used. Governor Peabody asked that they be turned off during the 30-day period of mourning for the late President John F. Kennedy who had been assassinated Nov. 22 in Dallas.
Dec. 16, 1972: Children at the South End Boys Club on Washington Street showed off presents given to them by Santa Claus during one of his stops as part of his Christmas Caravan, which visited three Boston neighborhoods.
Dec. 5, 1972: Kindergartners at the Willard School in Quincy waited eagerly to tell Santa their wish list. No surprise, the first little girl's wish might have been for her "two front teeth."
Dec. 11, 1975: Sydney Leonard, ballet mistress of the Boston Ballet, offered some last-minute advice to younger members of the cast of the company's annual holiday presentation of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."
Dec. 18, 1984: Rabbi Chaim Prus, director of Chabad House of Greater Boston on Commonwealth Avenue, an educational center for young people, adjusted a Hanukkah light atop a 22-foot menorah on Boston Common along Tremont Street. He used a cherry picker for the ceremony during which Boston Mayor Ray Flynn helped light two of the lights. This was the second year of the first public menorah in Boston.
Nov. 28, 1979: The Jordan Marsh Santa, on his break, got Christmas requests from an older client at Downtown Crossing. Not everyone seemed as enthused to see Santa, however.
Nov. 29, 1977: The opening of the Christmas season in Boston became official as Arthur Fiedler led the crowd in carol singing at the sixth annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Prudential Center. More than 15,000 lights decorated the 60-foot Canadian balsam fir tree, a gift to the city from the people of Nova Scotia. Dignitaries participating in the event included Mayor Kevin White, Cardinal Medeiros, and Nova Scotia Premier Gerald A. Regan. In 2002, this annual gift to the city moved to the Boston Common.
Dec. 10, 1979: Santa waved from his helicopter as it prepared to land in Langone park in the North End. Santa was the guest of honor at the annual parade through the North End.