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Slim pickings at the start of Allston Christmas

Boston’s student haven is a hub of activity on September 1, a.k.a. Allston Christmas
Boston’s student haven is a hub of activity on September 1, a.k.a. Allston Christmas

Damaris Swass was slightly disappointed.

Before moving to Allston for the first time this year, she had heard from friends about the Allston Christmas celebration, a day that promises one person's trash can become someone else's treasure — and help furnish an entire apartment.

But standing on Linden Street on Monday with her roommate, Tyler Villa, where a pile of discarded items was left for trash collectors to scoop up, she felt the reality didn't live up to the hype.

So far, during her search for household goods on the cheap, she had only come across a hookah, some cups, a television set, and a spatula, which she planned to use as a pooper scooper for her pet cat.


"We heard a lot about Allston Christmas from people at school, saying, 'Don't buy too many things,'" said Swass, who attends the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. "I think I was expecting more."

The streetscape was relatively clean in the area of Linden, Ashford, and Pratt streets Monday afternoon, spots typically littered with couches, chairs, and other odds and ends tossed out by tenants moving out, and in, at this time of year.

Throughout Allston, city trucks could be seen sneaking between parked moving vans, workers cramming mattresses and other items into the backs of their vehicles.

With a lot of people yet to move out to make way for the Sept. 1 tenants, it was slim pickings.

As Boston University student Griffin Monahan, 21, cruised down Pratt Street on his mountain bike, he scanned for hidden gems in the trash piles.

But like Swass, he said the sidewalk bounty was unimpressive.

"I haven't seen anything too good. Everything has been kind of grimey," said Monahan. "It might get a little better, but right now it's pretty minimal . . . It's been crummy."


He said he saw city workers tossing items into trucks all day Monday.

"They've already got my loot," he said.

While Monahan deemed a trash pile on Pratt Street unworthy of his time, Edson DeAndrade was quick to pull his red pickup truck over and start loading his cab.

"I've been finding a lot of good stuff. I'm a picker. I'm picking all year long, but this is my favorite time of the year," he said, after dropping a box full of shoes and boots into the back of his truck. "Last year I found a lot, but this year I found more. There's a lot of good stuff."

Although Swass and her roommate were unsuccessful during their first go-around, and nowhere as enthusiastic as DeAndrade about their findings, they were not giving up hope.

The pair said they planned to have lunch, relax, and then hit the streets for another round of home goods hunting Monday night and Tuesday.

"If we don't find anything, it's not the end-all, be-all," Swass said. "We were just hoping we wouldn't have to spend so much money."

"But dressers would be nice, or some sort of couch," she said.

Old mattresses were propped up against a building on Linden Street in Allston.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.