Memories of Christmas past

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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.