In an effort to lure online shoppers to their stores, many malls are upgrading the traditional visit to Santa into a high-tech spectacle by installing shows and games.
Article by Jacques Kelly
Baltimore Christmas traditions are not all about having sauerkraut with turkey, or the lights on 34th Street. There’s far more than that.
Before there was Amazon Prime, Baltimoreans shopped for their gifts at Howard and Lexington streets. In the 1920s the city estimated that 90,000 people crossed this intersection during a day. Many carried a Christmas tree home on a streetcar. There was also a large selection of live trees for sale at the old Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street.
Before the suburbs flocked to Hampden for decorations and shopping, city folk flocked to the suburbs for celebrations. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad also had a ceremony to light a decorated holly tree in Cecil County. Trains left Camden Station for a night ride to the tree. The B&O’s glee club sang carols. Baltimore neighborhood bakers turned out cookies for those who did not do their own cookie making.
Of course, some traditions carry on — Santas in local stores, those 34th Street lights, and the Constellation in lights at the Inner Harbor.
By JENNY BARCHFIELD | Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In her sweat-stained Santa suit and soggy cotton-ball beard, Carina Barbosa looked every inch the picture of tropical Christmas cheer — at least until she leaned into the candy cane striped bars of her cell and peered wistfully out.
Barbosa, a 29-year-old who’s serving time for drug trafficking, was one of more than 500 inmates ringing in the holidays Thursday at Rio de Janeiro’s Nelson Hungria prison with religious plays and a cell-decorating contest.
The inmates, who are serving time for offenses from burglary to homicide, spent weeks decking out the cell blocks with holiday decorations they made from objects they have access to behind bars.
Christmas trees were made from strips of green plastic from soda bottles, the presents below out of empty milk cartons swathed in tissue paper. Wreathes were fashioned out of the aluminum plates that prison-issue meals are served on, and the floors were sprinkled with a light snowfall of ground-up Styrofoam. Tropical heat-resistant snowmen were made from white plastic cups, and family members supplied Santa suits and store-bought ornaments.
Each cell of 50 women or more also put on a skit dramatizing biblical stories, with many depictions of Jesus’ life, as well as David and Goliath, giving the prison’s would-be thespians their chance to shine. Voices soared in rapture with the religious songs, and many, many tears were shed.
The Studentenwerk Berlin, a student organization at the city’s technical university (Technische Universitaet Berlin), sends out between 400 and 500 students and alumni dressed as Santas every year to visit company parties in December and families on Christmas Eve. The students, who must complete the workshop, participate as a way to make a little money to help fund their studies.