For newcomers to Baltimore or the neighborhood of Hampden, the lights on 34th Street feel like a tradition. And by now, they kind of are. I wrote an article for Shore Monthly about the "Spectacle on 34th Street," and found myself surprised that the street-wide decorations only started in 1991. But in the years since, the street has become Baltimore's place to be over the holidays.
Read the piece via Shore Monthly.
With candles in her hair, dressed in white with a bright red sash, Lucia comes to bring warmth, light, and goodies in the dark Swedish winter.
In Sweden, Christmas comes a night early, celebrated on Julafton (Christmas Eve), with many old traditions.
My personal theory is that Sweden is closer to the North Pole, so it's time-economical for Santa to stop by early. And in fact, he does come in person. A little rat-tat-tat on the door and a jolly voice asks, "Are there any nice children here?"
That Santa, Tomten, comes directly from the American concept of Santa Claus. But there are also tomtar, little gnomes/ mini Santas that visit on Christmas.
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.