Scenes of Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner! There are hardly any signs of the holiday season in Taipei (probably because they don't consider this "the holiday season"), but just this week, the bus drivers began wearing Santa suits! I find that extremely heartwarming.

Even though I have never spent Christmas Day in New England, I think the images of a New England winter have been ingrained into my head (whether through movies, books or television shows) as the ideal holiday scene. Even when I did live in Massachusetts, I would get all dreamy as summer became fall and fall became winter and night would fall earlier and earlier. Everything looks more romantic and beautiful in the dark, and Massachusetts certainly was no exception.

A week or so ago, I was wistfully dreaming of the holidays on the East Coast, and I happened to stumble across a couple of blogs about the Boston suburbs back in the day, complete with nice photos. It made me miss home, or at least the idea of home. I always seem to remember returning home after school to a house warm with the scent of dinner and pie, but I don't think that ever actually happened. :)

These blogs I found focused a lot on retail shops in Boston and its surroundings in the 20th century, and how they've changed. I found that the outdoor mall Shopper's World (or Shoppers' World) in Framingham, MA has a very devoted following. When I was in college, I used to go to Shopper's World and Natick Mall (now the Natick Collection) every couple of weekends, but I never knew the "original" Shoppers' World (it later became Shopper's World), the one so many are nostalgic about.

Here is a photo of Shoppers' World during the holidays in the early 1970s:


Apparently when it was built in the early 1950s, it was one of the earliest U.S. suburban shopping malls! I had no idea. According to Wikipedia, Shoppers' World "was reputed to be the third largest (in diameter) unsupported dome in the world after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and St. Paul's Cathedral in London." Today, it's pretty run-of-the-mill, with Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Best Buy, Old Navy, A.C. Moore ... and no dome at all.

(Extra trivia ... while I was studying in the area, I learned that Framingham is known as the "biggest town in the U.S." Now I'm not sure this is entirely true, but I do know that its population size surpasses the number needed to qualify as a city, but it's opted to stay a town.)

Here are some photos during the holidays and wintertime from around the world ...

Filming of Mr. Popper's Penguins on Madison Avenue in December 2010

Along the River Thames in London, January 2006

Gamla Stan (Old Town) in Stockholm, January 2006

Along the Seine in Paris, December 2005

Nice, France; December 2005

Cinque Terre, Italy; December 2005

Cinque Terre; December 2005

Ponte Vecchio, Florence; December 2005

Outside the Galleria Emmanuele Vittorio (shopping arcade) on Christmas Day 2005

Venice; December 2005

German Christmas Market, Manchester, England; December 2005

And another I didn't take, from The New York Times:


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